Student Leadership Development Opportunities Lead to Even Larger Opportunities
March 31st through April 2 marks the 2nd annual LeadUF leadership retreat. The Brown Center for Leadership and Service supports leadership development in several ways including small group facilitator positions opened to graduate students, staff, and faculty. BCLS Ambassador, Leah Slane, takes a look at two small group facilitators for the Fall 2016 Gator Global Initiative conference, and the conference's impact.
Artwork by Wendi Miller and Shenita Denson.
What inspires you to think of the world differently, create new ideas, and share this knowledge with others? For Emi Moore and Chris Pierson, Environmental and Global Health program graduate students, it was their attendance at the Gator Global Initiative Conference (GGI) on November 5-6, 2016. GGI is a two-day social impact conference that seeks to provide a space where students can explore their individual and collective capacity to effect social change. This year’s theme was “Creative Minds Igniting Social Change”. Moore and Pierson were small group facilitators at both the 2015 and 2016 GGI conferences and really enjoyed their time establishing meaningful conversations and listening to the different perspectives from people of all backgrounds.
Moore and Pierson were so impacted by the conference that they created a poster based on the theme of GGI and submitted it in the College of Public Health and Health Professions’ Diversity Day walkthrough competition. They titled it, “Creative Minds as Tools for Community Outreach”. This walkthrough competition was a showcase of posters that health students created based on how health research and ideas connect to diversity. They received rave reviews. Some said that it was an inspiring idea, unique and that it was visually appealing. The poster they made has a background of a world map and they wrote narratives on how the arts connect to diversity via establishing political change, raising awareness, educating, connecting, and more.
“Art is more than expression, it’s communication. Art can be scientific communication; it just depends on what you’re trying to depict. Art itself is a form of language and it can overcome a language barrier because human feelings are universal," Moore said.
Pierson believes that their poster demonstrates how art can be used as communication from the researcher to the population.
“Once you figure out a solution to a problem that you’ve been researching, you can use art to get the community to visualize your solution," Pierson said.
When asked how they’re going to apply this acquired knowledge from GGI to their future, they both agreed that they are going to apply the artistic concepts they learned into their research as health professionals. They will focus on equality and better health while utilizing artistic measures. Moore and Pierson look forward to attending more GGI conferences in the future.