A Visit to Spelman College
In mid-March I was able to join colleague Meredith Dodson in Atlanta for two campus presentations at Spelman College. Spelman has a distinguished history, and its commitment to service is underscored by its hosting of a Bonner Scholars Program. The academic experience of Bonner scholars is shaped by a powerful service-learning component within the curriculum, and RESULTS regularly interacts with the national Bonner Scholars Program through such initiatives as our International Conference’s Campuses for Change track and the existence of campus-based RESULTS chapters.
Staff from Spelman’s Bonner office brought RESULTS to campus to assist with a set of events related to HIV/AIDS, personal health, and personal responsibility. Discussions about our domestic health-related campaigns, our tuberculosis work, and the power of advocacy dotted the agenda. Along the way, we got to meet Spelman staff, faculty, community partners, and students. The trip was fruitful and fun.
One of the most impactful moments came as we heard the emotional stories of a panel of women living and working in the Atlanta area. These women bravely told stories of contracting and living with HIV/AIDS, and the students were clearly affected by what they heard. The storytellers issued a clear call for their young listeners to find their voices and take charge of their lives and health. Immediately after the panel, Meredith and I approached the women to thank them for their powerful storytelling, a practice highly valued in RESULTS. They, in turn, surprised us by letting us know that, although we were there primarily to speak to students, we had also encouraged them to consider lending their stories toward advocating for life-saving public policy change. It was an inspiring moment.
As RESULTS continues to cultivate relationships with advocates both on and off campus, a trip like this reminds us that you never know when or with whom connection and collaboration might strike. We’re excited for what lies ahead!