Slam poetry, yoga, local and organic foods, and forums with unique perspectives on different societal issues are all part of what is going on at Cal Poly this weekend.

Student Community Services is holding its sixth annual “Change the Status Quo: A Student’s Role in Shaping Society” event Friday and Saturday.

One of the organizers, biology junior Jared Gamm, feels the event is necessary for many college students.

“Basically, college students are the future leaders and we must make a stand on national and global issues that are pertinent,” Gamm said.

“A lot of problems are presented along with possible solutions to make changes in an area that helps change the status quo.”

The event starts Friday night at Philips Hall and is free to all who want to come to hear slam poetry, introductions about the event and previews of the presentations that will take place the following day.

Saturday morning begins with optional yoga at 8 a.m. in Chumash Auditorium instructed by the Yoga Centre of San Luis Obispo. After the morning exercise, the conference starts off with a local and organic breakfast where keynote speaker Dan Mathews, senior vice president of People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), will speak.

Jeff Morgan, organizer of the event and liberal studies senior, said there has already been controversy in asking Mathews to speak, saying that some people are angered by his appearance at Cal Poly. However, the organizers asked Matthews to speak for a reason.

“We asked him to come to talk about his life in activism . about his trials and tribulations of being an activist,” Morgan said.

After Mathews speaks Saturday, student-led workshops will begin. Gamm said that these workshops involve taking a proactive role in various subjects.

For example, the Campaign for Cool Cities workshop, presented by Richard Besel and Kara Callaway, will talk about how cities are taking action to help solve global warming. They also will educate students and the community on how to lobby local politicians to help San Luis Obispo County become aware of the problems with climate change. Participants at the hands-on workshop will be able to send materials made in the workshop to their local politicians.

Another organizer, animal science senior Zahlia Cronce-King, feels that the event is important for students to attend, especially the workshops which emphasize societal inequalities and possible solutions to change the issues’ impact.

Workshop presenters include HealthCare for all Americans, the Environmental Council, the Multicultural Center, Pride Alliance, SAFER, Workforce Housing Coalition of SLO County, the Women’s Center, Empower Poly Coalition, Pacific Wildlife Care, Lifewater International and many more.

“These workshops consist of topics that our generation is facing; issues that greatly impact the student body and community,” Cronce-King said.

Some of the workshops tackle topics such as religion and homosexuality, political dissent in Myanmar and health care around the world.

Change the Status Quo committee members, which also include social science senior Jessie Holzer and microbiology senior Jacqueline Chan, have been planning the event since the beginning of fall quarter and had to turn away workshop presenters because there was so much interest.

More than 100 Cal Poly students have already signed up for the event. Last year they had a record number of 220 students participate, but this year they are expecting even more.

Register in the Student Life & Leadership office, UU 217; it is $10 for students and $15 for non-students. There are Change the Status Quo T-shirts available while supplies last.

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