October 20, 2016
Five Ursuline College students spent a day focusing on childhood poverty – and on their own potential to be civic leaders – when they attended the Propel Ohio Collegiate Leadership Summit convened by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown in mid-October.
Billed as “a leadership program that promotes civic engagement and inspires undergraduate students to grow into civic leaders in Ohio,” Propel Ohio was open to students appointed by their colleges. The packed lineup of speakers included Brown, Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, Former Ohio Governor Bob Taft, and a host of government and nonprofit leaders.
Michelle Bennett, Ursuline’s career coordinator, said students were particularly impressed with presenter Debra Eschmeyer, executive director of Let’s Move!, First Lady Michelle Obama’s childhood obesity initiative. Eschmeyer, who grew up on an Ohio dairy farm, encouraged students to get involved with the issues that keep them up at night.
That message resonated with sophomore education major Samantha Hudson, who contributed the following essay about her Propel Ohio experience:
“I found Propel Ohio to be a fantastic opportunity all around. Beyond networking, I was inspired and uplifted to see what some of our current leaders in the state are doing to address the issue of childhood poverty. It affirmed my sense of civic duty in that every vote truly does count, and that my voice can be heard if I so wish.
I believe that the first step to solving any issue is education and the effort of Senator Brown to gather the collegiate leaders from around the state in such a setting is a great step toward educating the future leaders of Ohio.
The most important personal lesson that I took away from the leadership summit is that regardless of my future occupations, if I keep the will to serve my community alive, I will be able to find a way to give back. Improving the standard of living for society is not a burden that only the powerful CEOs and government officials can or should bear. Rather, it is a call to each one of us to help and serve in whatever capacity we can in our given situation.
Inspiration to take on a daunting task such as the one we were presented with can be hard to summon on one’s own, but Propel Ohio hurdled this issue with ease. Few things can be as inspirational as being surrounded with a room full of like-minded individuals who simply want to make a difference regardless of background or political affiliations.
I would recommend attending Propel Ohio to any of my peers regardless of the conference topic. By immersing oneself in such an environment they can gain an in-depth and positive understanding of public service. By bouncing ideas off of peers from around the state, students can be motivated to find their passion and feel reassured that others are also looking to make a difference.”
Above, Ursuline students at Propel Ohio, held this year at the University of Dayton, from left, Kevin Meyers, Natalie Garmon, Lauretta Amanor, Samantha Hudson and Janelle Perry.