Conference encourages students to ‘Be the Change’

By Jennifer Kang

Baylor will host Be the Change Missions Conference this week. The conference will focus on justice issues in the world and ways students can correct global injustices.

It is free and open to all students, and will last from Wednesday to Saturday.

This conference is led by student volunteers from the Be the Change Steering Committee, Megan Corbett, global village committee chair and graduate student at George W. Truett Theological Seminary, said. Students organized this justice-themed event and found speakers who could give insight on this topic.

Corbett said the conference will have speakers who are knowledgeable in various fields.

“We’re incorporating people that are from different agencies and organizations that are doing things all around the world, and also incorporating things that are happening locally,” Corbett said. “We’re really trying to incorporate all different vocations.”

The conference will cover a variety of aspects of justice, such as those pertaining to social work and business, and will show students different ways they can get involved with the justice issues seen in the world.

Dr. Kim Kotrla, assistant professor of social work, will speak along with Jennifer Smyer, director of social work, on justice in their field. This lecture will be from 4 to 5 p.m. Thursday in the Fentress Room of the Bill Daniel Student Center, and will focus on how students from various disciplines can get involved on issues of injustice and human trafficking at a community, local or global level.

“We want to share a vision about how various disciplines can work together on the issue of human trafficking,” Kotrla said. “It really does take a variety of different professions to come together on this issue.”

Kotrla sees students as the future in addressing injustice issues and would like to educate students on ways they can help.

“The main point we want to get across is that no matter what your background is, if you have a passion for or are called to do something about this justice issue, there are ways to be involved in it,” Kotrla said. “You don’t have to necessarily be involved in direct work. Work can be done in communities. Work can be done in businesses. There’s work that can be done in schools.”

Dr. Blaine McCormick, associate professor of management, will speak along with Dr. Van Gray, director of planning and accreditation, associate director of the center for nonprofit leadership and professor of management.

The lecture will be from 4 to 5 p.m. Friday at Common Grounds and will focus on how business can alleviate some of the injustice issues of poverty.

“We’re working to show business students that they have a skill set that they can take out and that is valuable to the community,” McCormick said. “They can work with small, undereducated entrepreneurs and [work] with the goal of doubling their income in the next year.”

Although the topic will be on business, McCormick said this is a great way for any student to see business in a different light.

McCormick stressed the importance of business education and how it can be taught to people in developing countries.

“Poverty is a huge problem. We believe that profit is one of the great moderators of the ill effects of poverty,” McCormick said. “If we can teach the people who live and work in poverty skills, they can double their income in the next year. We’re all about eliminating poverty, which we think is a huge justice issue.”

Students can enter to win prizes by getting a punch card and attending four events.

Schedule cards and punch cards will be available at tables at chapel, the Bill Daniel Student Center, Penland and Memorial dining halls and the Spiritual Life Center.