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‘Do So Much Weekend’ Encourages Positive Social Action

Monday, January 16, 2012

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What prevents people from taking an interest in local and global issues and getting involved in their communities? Helping people learn to overcome personal and systemic barriers to civic engagement is the purpose of this year’s Do So Much Weekend conference, to be hosted by Student Volunteer Connections of Guelph (SVC) Jan. 21-22.

Lead organizer Shawna Smith said she hopes the event will help students from across the province understand and challenge such barriers: “We worked hard to ensure that each workshop provides students with practical tools and concrete skills that they can take away and use in their daily lives.”

Conference keynote speaker Dave Meslin is a Toronto-based artist and organizer whose projects include Better Ballots, a non-partisan dialogue to make municipal elections more relevant, effective, fair and participatory. He will also lead a workshop on breaking down systemic barriers.

A session called “Reaching Out to Uninvolved Youth” (helping your peers remove personal barriers to social action) will feature Pete Meadows from Apathy is Boring, an organization that uses art and technology to teach youth about democracy.

Gordon Floyd, CEO of Children’s Mental Health Ontario, will discuss “Practical Ways to Implement Positive Social Change” in Canada’s public, private and not-for-profit sectors, and consultant Marva Wisdom will discuss “Collaboration in a Competitive World.” A social action panel discussion will also take place.

SVC director Nicole Markwick said: “In addition to the workshops, Do So Much Weekend will feature fantastic opportunities for networking with professionals, and the chance to start getting involved in the community through volunteer placement.”

Last year’s conference attracted more than 100 students.

Student Volunteer Connections of Guelph is Canada’s only incorporated student volunteer centre, and is funded and run by students.

More information and registration for the Do So Much Weekend conference can be found at www.dosomuch.ca. In-person registration starts Jan. 21 at 9 a.m. in the University Centre. There is no registration fee. The conference runs until 5:30 p.m. at various locations on campus.

To register online, visit http://www.uoguelph.ca/~svc/dsm-weekend-register.php. For more information, call 519-824-4120, Ext. 58104, or email .

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