Social activist and educator Geoffrey Canada, President and Chief Executive Officer of Harlem Children's Zone, will speak at the Kenneth Cole Community Engagement Forum at Columbia University on Friday, Oct. 28th. The forum is the culminating event of the 2011 Kenneth Cole Community Engagement Program, a new initiative of Columbia College and Columbia Engineering that seeks to inspire and empower the next generation of community leaders and help students become effective agents of change. It will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Miller Theater.
The theme of the forum will be “The Power of Community Engagement: Impact, Innovation and the Individual.” The goal is to discuss innovative approaches to social issues such as education, food, justice, and social media, and social change, and highlight the ways that individuals can have an impact on their communities. Panels will include “Creating a Sustainable Community: Ensuring Access to Healthy Food,”“Advocating for a Just Community: Creating New Pathways to Justice,” and “Creating a Global Community: Social Media and Social Change.” There will also be presentations by the 2011 Kenneth Cole fellows, who spent the summer of 2011 working for at non-for-profit organizations in New York.
“It’s really about looking at social issues of today and innovative approaches to various social issues and the impact people can have,” said Todd Smith-Bergollo, associate dean of student affairs, who is organizing the event. “We hope that participants walk away with not only understanding the issues, but with a sense of why they should get involved and how they can have an impact on finding solutions.”
The Kenneth Cole Community Engagement Program, run in partnership with fashion designer and Columbia parent Kenneth Cole, aims to introduce Columbia undergraduates to the challenges and opportunities for community building in contemporary urban America and give them the academic and practical experience to become community leaders. Students selected for the program, called Kenneth Cole Fellows, spend two semesters studying urban issues and learning about community engagement, collaboration, leadership and problem solving before embarking on summer-long internships at local community organizations. Approximately 12 sophomores and juniors are selected for the program each year.
The Fall 2011 forum is open to the Columbia College community. Tickets are free, but attendees must RSVP in advance. For more information and a list of speakers, click here. For more information about Geoffrey Canada, click here.