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Institutes and Highlights

Special Star Institutes

The Student Leadership Institute encourages college students to build their capacities for social change leadership on their campuses and in their local communities. The institute will include student-led sessions by leaders trained in NYC at the national Opportunity Nation Summit, a diversity teach-in by a seasoned local expert, and opportunities to network. Students will share part of the day with local high-school students and will be part of the Town Hall general sessions.

The Ask Legal Institute Explore with local legal experts the legal implications of non-profit endeavors, social change work, and community service.

Summit Highlights

Vent and Invent Tents
Drop by one of the video tents on the campus lawn and vent about obstacles facing women paving their future OR come on in to the Invent Tent and share your ideas about strategies to create pathways for a New American Dream.

Community Action Poverty Simulation
This event is an interactive learning experience in which participants role-play either as members of a family living in poverty or as service providers in community institutions. Poverty is a complex issue with many causes, and there are no simple solutions. Poverty impacts women disproportionately, especially female heads of household. Through the Poverty Simulation participants will gain a new perspective on the causes and effects of poverty, and learn what can be done within communities to support those who live in poverty every day, with special attention to the needs of women living in poverty.

The Poverty Simulation gives family participants the opportunity to experience, even if only for an hour, the life of a person in structural poverty, and to understand the barriers that prevent people, especially working class women and children, from escaping it. For service provider participants, the Simulation helps them to share their understanding of how institutions (from pawn shops to health care centers) treat poor clients and allocate resources. This experience can also expand understanding for service provider participants—in the past, many have given feedback indicating that they learned a great deal—but these volunteers are expected to have some background either living in poverty themselves, serving poor families professionally, or both. For example, if you have utilized SNAP benefits (like 33 million other Americans at the current moment) or have some experience working at a payday loan place, you would be a great volunteer service provider. If you have not lived in poverty, other than the kind of financial stress induced by graduate school, we would love to have you participate as a family member.

World Café
We invite you to join us in the afternoon for a World Café based on the visionary design and dialog method created by scholar activists Juanita Brown and David Issacs. According to the Co-intelligence Institute, World Café conversations are now one of the most important ways communities can come together to "create a common purpose, share knowledge, make more intelligent decisions, and call forth life-affirming action"! We will set up our dining hall with small café tables covered with paper tablecloths and colored magic markers to facilitate intentional conversations about the powerful questions that matter to those of us committed to cultivating more opportunities for women and girls. Participants will move from table to table during three 15-minute "rounds" to engage in conversations that promise to unfold in ways that open up new possibilities for community change. What question, if answered at our World Café, could make the greatest difference to the future of women and girls in your community?

Oxfam Hunger Banquet
The Oxfam Hunger Banquet is a unique simulation that brings to life the inequalities in our country, especially as they relate to poverty and hunger in the United States. Participants experience how our decisions affect others in our greater communities. Through the multi-sensory simulation, participants transform into a visual representation of hunger in our country. For the course of the simulation, they are a physical embodiment of the statistics. Through food, the banquet explores socio-economic inequality and mobility. During the banquet, participants role-play by taking on the story of a low, middle, or upper class person. Their randomly drawn role determines the quality and quantity of their meal, demonstrating that significant inequality exists in a basic human need. Through the meal, participants reflect on the meaning of inequality in our country and are challenged to suggest solutions.

*Following the 20-minute simulation, all participants will be able to eat a full buffet lunch. There will be an opt-out option for summit attendees who choose not to be part of the sim.

Network Gallery
Join us in the Otterbein Library all day during the summit to network with other participants, grab a cup of coffee at the Otterbean, relax between session, and:

  • Explore Idea-ART illustrating research, data, solutions, art, and the next BIG idea
  • Shop at our vendor tables hosted by women entrepreneurs
  • Connect with local, regional, and national women's CBOs

Opportunity Index at the Internet Café
Opportunity Nation has developed The Opportunity Index, an online map of the United States that encourages us to explore the level of opportunity in our own zip code. Extensive research on jobs, the economy, education, community health, volunteerism, and food security was used to develop this important resource to deepen our understanding of mobility gaps and the areas where we can work together to create new pathways for progress. Visit the Internet Café at the Otterbein Library to check out the measure of opportunity in your current neighborhood, your hometown, or the city where your college or university is located!