The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Mini-Grants Recap: Student Reactions after Attending the UN Social Good Summit

Article Type 
Digital Media Lounge

This opportunity was funded by the Rockefeller Mini-Grants Program. For more information, please click here.

I learned a lot about activism and how to get people involved and excited about issues in a new world of technology. Personally, one of the most influential insights for me was the theme of empowerment over awareness. I had always imagined the world of activism revolving around of the issue of getting people to care. Progress seemed dependent on the age-old question of whether people were inherently good or bad; either people would plow ahead with the classic “build it and they will come” mentality, or they would sign off altogether, convinced that others could not be brought to raise their attention off their own lives. 

But while awareness is still crucial and there are clearly lots of different issues that still deserve far more attention. At the Summit I learned that I had been looking at activism in the entirely wrong perspective. It was never an issue of whether people care, but rather how people can feel empowered enough to get involved. The powerful truth is that the average person cares and cares deeply about most problems in our world; they just feel like they cannot do anything about it.

--Megan Bogia '15, Policy Research Shop Participant

Speakers addressed the main focus of their work in addition to speaking about how the average internet user can get involved and why they, as the organizer, views the internet as such a valuable tool in their campaign. Perhaps the biggest take away, a theme repeated by many of the speakers, was that people are generally interested in global issues and want to be involved, they just lack the time to figure out how to do so. 

The aim of the social media initiative is to give people an easy way to make a chance in an area they are passionate about, with options raising from making monetary donations, to physically volunteering, to retweeting a comment and spreading the word. This conference is a valuable initiative to move social justice action into the new, globally connected age. As the world becomes more interconnected though social media sites, the Social Good Summit works to introduce ways that we can use this new technology to better conditions around the world.

--Katie Bonner '15, Spring 2013 MLDP Participant

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