The Learning Institute: Global Well-Being and Social Change was recently established at Millersville University through the Department of Social Work with a mission to provide all students and practitioners in the helping profession with the latest evidence on global social issues in order to glean knowledge that will enhance their skills and foster lifelong learning. Throughout each academic year, the institute will offer a number of thematic trainings, workshops, global immersion experiences, and community service learning opportunities. These events will center around a specific global social issue of interest, such as youth violence, poverty, human trafficking, violence against women and children, and LGBTQIA rights.
In an interview for Exchange Dr. Karen Rice, Chair of the Social Work Department at Millersville University, spoke passionately about the Learning Institute: Global Well-Being and Social Change, saying, “It is grounded in the core value of our profession—to bring about social change. There is a service learning component in many of our courses, and The Learning Institute will provide meaningful, authentic service learning opportunities as well as educate our students, practitioners and the community on global issues. We want students to take a stand on social injustice and help bring about change.” This year The Learning Institute is offering both a domestic and an international service learning opportunity available to all interested community members, students, and professionals who are embarking on a journey towards becoming social change agents.
The Learning Institute will also be hosting an Annual Global Well-Being and Social Change Conference. This year’s First Annual Conference, Global Youth: Understanding Challenges, Identifying Solutions, Offering Hope, will be held on July 10-11, 2014 at Millersville University’s Downtown Ware Center. The Learning Institute is focused on the experiences of youth both here and abroad, with a particular lens on topics of poverty, substance abuse, mental health concerns, homelessness, gang involvement and violence, and family dysfunction. “Though experiences differ in terms of chronicity, intensity, and impact, in all youth they create stress and trauma that compromise well-being.” When we understand these challenges as a community as we begin to grow towards becoming social change agents, we will be able to collaborate with other professionals to work on acknowledging solutions and implementing them within our own communities.
The Learning Institute is certain that college students offer a great potential to be agents of social change, and the Social Work Department empowers and connects students to help them reach this essential goal. They influence the lives of many students throughout the university; The Learning Institute is a resource focused specifically on social change, a unique resource of genuine opportunity. It provides Millersville students a chance to collaborate and network with other professionals to accomplish social change, and to become agents of social change, through obtaining knowledge and skills and implementing programs and services. The Learning Institute adds a new perspective to Millersville University’s environment, and offers unique opportunities students crave.
For more information about The Learning Institute students and community members are encouraged to visit The Learning Institute’s Website, http://www.millersville.edu/socialwork/lea…itute/index.php or email firstname.lastname@example.org.