Ryan Chartrand

In an effort to “educate, motivate, and then activate” students on campus, Student Community Services will host the fifth annual Change the Status Quo conference tonight and Saturday.

“(We’re) hoping to get students involved now, motivating them to make a small difference in creating change in the world,” said Megan Mastache, an art and design senior and conference organizer. “There’s a sort of complacency in our generation, but it’s time to get up and do something.”

Events will be held around campus, beginning tonight with an introduction and slam poetry session – featuring Jason Bayani, a Filipino poet from the Bay Area, as well as local poets – at 6:30 p.m. in Chumash Auditorium. The cost of the event is $10 for students and $20 for other community members.

The first conference saw about 150 people in attendance; however, those numbers have been growing since then. This year, SCS expects about 250 people to attend.

Started in 2003 by Students for Social Change, a sort of subdivision of the community service group, Change the Status Quo seeks to raise awareness of current social issues – and change them. The event will provide a forum in which passionate people can discuss their ideas for changing the world, and, in the process, motivate others to seek change as well.

To do this, a variety of campus clubs will present workshops, led by students and professionals alike, focusing on selected topics.

“We don’t focus on one issue; we like to let the student clubs choose the issues important to them,” Mastache explained. “As this year’s tagline shows, we are trying to motivate the students on our campus to group together and make sweeping social changes.”

And this can be done through a variety of means, she said.

Fall quarter, Mastcahe and other SCS organizers e-mailed campus clubs, informing them of the event and its goals. Interested clubs are responsible for conducting their own workshops and, are given leeway to determine workshop topics and presenters.

This year’s 24 workshops will focus on a diversity of topics, including queer journalism, global warming, human sex trafficking and homelessness in San Luis Obispo, to name a few.

“The amazing thing about the conference is how inspired people feel when they leave the conference. I want people to feel inspired to know that they have the power to change (society),” said Angela Kramer, a political science sophomore and organizer for the Pride Center’s workshops.

Despite the differences in topics and issues discussed, Mastache said, everyone involved will be working toward the same overall goal at the conference.

Ultimately, SCS and the clubs involved hope to get students involved locally, showing them that these issues are not merely theoretical. The idea is that students can do something, they just have to act locally, Mastache said.

More information, including a schedule and detailed workshop descriptions, can be found at www.studentlife.calpoly.edu/CSQ. To register, visit the SCS office in the University Union, room 217.

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