February 11, 2016

Leadership, Civil Discourse Among Topics Discussed at SEC Collaboration Event

University of South Carolina President Dr. Harris Pastides talks with SEC Academic Collaboration event participants
University of South Carolina President Dr. Harris Pastides talks with SEC Academic Collaboration event participants

By: Bryant Welbourne
SECU (Twitter: @TheSECU)

SEC students and administrators recently met at the University of South Carolina to discuss the topics of leadership, civic engagement and social justice. The event, entitled SEC Universities: Uniting Voices for Social Change, was supported by the SEC Academic Collaboration Award.

“I was really excited to represent my institution and be part of this important conversion with other SEC universities,” said Justin Grimes, a doctoral candidate pursing his Ph.D. in Student Affairs Administration at the University of Georgia. “The event was a wonderful opportunity to network with students and faculty to get their perspectives on social justice and how we can improve our campuses.”

University of South Carolina President Dr. Harris Pastides and Joan Gabel, Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost, both participated in the workshop. Gabel delivered the opening welcome, and Pastides spoke of how the collegiate experience shapes students’ perspectives.

“College is the last organized opportunity to influence individual change,” said Pastides.

Additional speakers and facilitators included Dr. John Dozier, Chief Diversity Officer and Director of Community Engagement at South Carolina; Angus Johnston, Founder of StudentActivism.net; and Bethany Johnson-Javois, Managing Director of the Ferguson Commission. Johnson-Javois’ message empowered participants to become influential leaders in their communities.

“You must go out in your communities and listen because the true experts are those who are affected by the issues every day,” said Johnson-Javois. “There are no one-person movements anymore and you must be prepared to find your voice to lead others.”

Workshop attendees also had the opportunity to participate in South Carolina’s 30th Student Leadership and Diversity Conference. More than 500 students from 26 universities took part in the annual event that included sessions on understanding diverse views of social justice, creating a vision for the future and personal assessment as a leader.

The SEC Academic Collaboration Award is part of SECU, the academic initiative of the Southeastern Conference. SECU provides support for the academic endeavors and achievements of students and faculty at the conference’s 14 member institutions.