Reese Richardson believes that people instinctively desire to change the world for the better, and nowhere is this more apparent than on the campus of North Central College.
Richardson, a sophomore majoring in physics and applied mathematics, also believes his liberal arts education at North Central equips students with the academic background necessary to be an informed and productive citizen capable of affecting change.
That’s why he, along with a group of other like-minded students, are organizing a one-day conference May 20 called Action Day 2017. The conference is facilitated by a coalition of North Central student organizations. Keynoting the event is Pat Quinn, former Illinois governor, and Richard Guzmann ’99, professor of English and coordinator of North Central’s Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program. A group of the College’s professors, U.S. Representative Will Guzzardi and others will lead sessions throughout the day. The event begins at the Wentz Concert Hall with breakout sessions across campus. Information about Action Day 2017 is available at northcentralcollege.edu/action-day-conference-may-20th.
“We wanted to create something new and unique and, as far as we know, this conference is the first of its kind on campus,” said Richardson. In planning for the day, “we researched and worked with our archivist to learn about the College’s history on social activism.” He added that the impetus for the conference is to provide space for people to learn how to be changemakers.
“Walking around campus, you can see both excitement and anger among people who want to do something – to make change happen on campus and in the community, state and nation. But there’s no forum or way for sharing how we can create change,” said Richardson. “With the conference, we hope to inspire and motivate people not only to act but to equip them with the tools for doing so.”
Whitney Roberts, North Central’s assistant director for civic engagement, noted another reason for the conference. It also has to do “with the time we’re living in. It’s important that we equip our students to act in the ways they are able and build skills to engage in communities in productive ways.
“We have a responsibility and an opportunity to bring people together to share the values we care about,” said Roberts. “The conference came out of seeing our students’ passion and commitment to building in areas of social change and innovation, and to offer an opportunity to learn from people who do this well and who represent a variety of sectors.” Roberts also teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in North Central’s Leadership, Ethics and Values Program.
Complimentary student tickets are available at the North Central College Box Office or by calling 630-637-SHOW. Students may purchase a ticket that includes lunch for $5; tickets for the community are $10 each and includes lunch.
Student organizations and College departments supporting and planning Action Day 2017 include the North Central College Action Coalition; Leadership, Ethics, and Values; Multicultural Affairs; Ministry and Service; The Union; College Union Activities Board; and, Cardinals in Action. Event sponsors are Giving DuPage, Graphics Plus, Naperville Running Co., and Raising Cane’s.