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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

UNC: Undergraduate Students Take Leadership Roles in Poverty Summit

Undergraduate students at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health planned and helped execute the second annual Summit on Homelessness and Poverty, held March 1-3 at the Gillings School.

Ms. Connie Longmate, Ms. Joyce Yao and Mr. Nick McKenzie, Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH) students in health policy and management, and Ms. Megan Miller (BSPH, environmental sciences and engineering) and Ms. Jessica Wang (BSPH, nutrition) were among the event planners.

Many conference attendees are associated with The Community Empowerment Fund (CEF), a student-led, nonprofit organization, founded in 2009 as a collaboration between two Campus Y committees, Homelessness Outreach Poverty Eradication (HOPE) and the Carolina Microfinance Initiative.CEF aims to enable and sustain people’s transitions out of homelessness and poverty.

“We were excited to bring the Summit to North Carolina to share CEF’s incredible work,” Ms. Longmate said, “to reflect on homelessness and poverty in the South and to honor the long history of activism in the South.”

Ms. Longmate said the theme of the event was “Abundance.”

“That is a reference,” she explained, “to the fact that our communities are whole, beautiful and resourceful, and that our efforts to address homelessness and poverty should be based on recognizing and celebrating the abundance that already exists in our communities rather than focusing on what is ‘lacking.’”

Over the weekend, discussions were held about race, policing and poverty, urban renewal and displacement, and advocacy for policy change.

In attendance were more than 100 students from 25 universities across the U.S., from North Carolina to California.

Watch a recorded panel on urban renewal and displacement.