Beyond #SLC16

The 2016 National Service-Learning Conference®, Educate. Ignite. Transform., went off without a hitch and we couldn’t have done it without you. More than 850 people of all ages and from all walks of life packed the Hyatt Regency hotel in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Some even traveled internationally to attend! The conference jam-packed three and a half days of inspiring speakers, engaging sessions, and meaningful service. We are indebted to the great volunteers, partners, and sponsors who supported #SLC16.

Missed the conference? Here’s your run down:

Day 1 kicked off with the Opening Pep Rally, including words from St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Minnesota Commissioner of Education Brenda Cassellius, and a keynote from speaker Naomi Tutu. Tutu touched on the importance of service-learning and how to turn your passion into a cause. NYLC’s Youth Advisory Council also spoke about education inequity in support of Youth4Education.

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Taking the stage on Day 2 included student and environmental activist, Madison Vorva, and a world café session with Cathryn Berger Kaye. Conference-goers were encouraged to think about their motives for service and how best to carry out these practices.

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Morning and afternoon, attendees got to explore classroom sessions covering everything from digital learning to design thinking for service projects. On-site projects included the building and decoration of “Little Free Libraries,” which will serve numerous Twin Cities neighborhoods. Evening networking events allowed participants to meet, support, and collaborate with each other. Attendees emerged able to return home with new ideas to improve their service-learning practice.

Our Day 3 plenary speakers were Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell, Qatar University student Anas Ghanim, and Julia Sewell. We also had the opportunity to honor the 2016 winners of the Service-Learning Awards. This year’s recipients included: Paula Beugen, Community Change Consultant (Alec Dickson Servant Leader Award), Lizi Xiong, high school student (Evan Dalgaard Leadership Award), Mason Fong, East Metro Integration District (G. Bernard Gill Urban Service-Learning Leadership Award), Anne Thidemann French, North Adams Public Schools (Service-Learning Practitioner Leadership Award), Maddy Wegner, youthrive (Stellar Service-Learning Award), and Project FLOAT, Hidden Valley High School (Youth Leadership for Service-Learning Excellence Award). Award winners then participated in a panel discussion led by Fuchi Hang.

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What better way to end Educate. Ignite. Transform. than with a Day of Service? Activities included everything from sorting clothing donations to preparing outreach packets, and picking up garbage. Together, over 200 individuals went out and performed 600 hours of community service. Way to give back to the Minneapolis-St. Paul community!

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You can check out more updates from the conference by searching #SLC16 on your favorite social media outlet. For our part, we’re already thinking beyond #SLC16 — see you next year!

28th Annual National Service-Learning Conference®
Dare to Dream
March 22–25, 2017
Disneyland
Anaheim, CA