CORVALLIS - Oregon State University will begin a one-week Social Change Conference on Monday, Feb. 7, focusing on social, environmental, and political issues and the encouragement of civic involvement.

Sessions will be held each day through Friday, Feb. 11, in the campus Memorial Union. All sessions are free and open to the public. Information and a full schedule of events are available online at Oregon Food Bank and Southeast Asia tsunami relief donations are encouraged, but not required for entrance to the conference.

The keynote speaker for the event is writer Alex Kotlowitz. Kotlowitz, whose work focuses on race, poverty, and its impacts on the lives of children, will discuss his views of the world at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 11, in OSU's LaSells Stewart Center, at 26th Street and Western Boulevard.

Kotlowitz has written several books, including "There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up In the Other America." His writings have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker.

The conference schedule includes:

Monday, Feb. 7


  • 11 a.m.: "Navigating the Emergency Food System," an overview of the challenges for people who must use hunger relief programs, an hour-long session presented by Sharon Thornberry, Community Food Programs Advocate, Oregon Food Bank. Memorial Union Room 208


  • Noon: "Engaging Oregon State University and the Community in Work Around Poverty and Hunger," an hour-long session presented by the Associated Students of OSU Committee on Hunger and Poverty. MU Room 211

Tuesday, Feb. 8


  • 11 a.m.: "Team Liberation Workshop," a two-hour session on the student-driven program that builds community and honors diversity through dialogue and human relations workshops. MU Room 208.


  • Noon: A film and discussion on "Race - The Power of an Illusion," part one of a series exploring the topic of race. MU Room 211.


  • 1 p.m.: A one-hour session on the work of OSU professors on efforts to improve the lives of youths in poverty-stricken villages of Albania. MU Room 211.

Wednesday, Feb. 9


  • 11 a.m.: "Empowerment and Effective Action for Peace Activists," a one-hour talk by Adele Kubein of Military Families Speak Out. MU Room 208.


  • 11 a.m.: "Common Ground: Oregon's Ocean," a 60-minute film and discussion by Liz Riley, of the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans. MU Room 211.


  • Noon: "The Music of Social Change: A Historical Perspective on the Role of Popular Music in Social Change Movements," an hour-long talk by Annette Martel, OSU College Student Services Administration. MU Room 208.


  • Noon: Part two of the film and discussion, "Race - The Power of an Illusion." MU Room 211.


  • 1 p.m.: "How To Make a Difference through a Discipline Specific Social Change Student Leadership Team," an hour-long session focused on how to create a leadership team that works with faculty, promotes service, and links the community with OSU students and departments. MU Room 208.

Thursday, Feb. 10


  • 11 a.m.: "Long-term, Sustainable Disaster Relief Work," an hour-long session in which Isis Ilias will discuss her work with Friends of Honduras, a relief organization that has worked in Honduras since 1998 when a hurricane devastated the region. MU Room 211.


  • 11 a.m.: "The OSU Biodiesel Initiative-The Benefits of Biodiesel and Current Projects," a one-hour presentation. MU Room 208.


  • Noon: "Walking the Walk," a one-hour session by Jenny Mei, Americorp community educator, designed to allow participants to experience the issues and emotions survivors of sexual violence face each day. Participants become the survivor. MU Room 208.


  • Noon: "No Dumb Questions," an hour-long film and discussion profiling three sisters, ages 6, 9 and 11, struggling to understand why and how their Uncle Bill is becoming a woman. MU Room 211.


  • 1 p.m.: "Devoid of Color through Darker Eyes: A Pre-service Teacher's Journey to Seeing and Being Seen," an hour-long talk by OSU's School of Education students. MU Room 208.


  • 1 p.m.: "Renewable Energy Resources in the Pacific Northwest," a 90-minute talk by Jon Kenneke, outreach coordinator for Pacific Power. MU Room 211.

Friday, Feb. 11


  • Noon: "Young Women's Voices from The Parent Enhancement Program" a two-hour presentation by program participants focused on factors that led to them becoming teen mothers and the obstacles they face each day in Benton County. MU Room 208.


  • Noon: Part three of the film and talk, "Race - The Power of an Illusion." MU Room 211.


  • 7 p.m.: Journalist Alex Kotlowitz will speak on race, poverty and its impact on America. LaSells Stewart Center.

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Deb Burke, 541-737-8842