Simmons commits to social change by holding first student-led Gender, Justice, and Social Entrepreneurship Conference
Simmons College recently hosted its inaugural student-led Gender, Justice, and Social Entrepreneurship Conference, sponsored by the Simmons School of Management and the College of Arts and Sciences. This year's conference was focused on discussing the intersection of gender and food justice and brought together more than 150 members of the Simmons community.
Considering Simmons' strong commitment to finding innovative solutions to social change, with a specific focus on developing women leaders, the conference was an ideal fit for the community. Adding to the uniqueness of the conference, it was a student-led initiative. There was an application process at the end of spring semester, and three full-time and three part-time students were selected by professors to work on all aspects of developing the conference from May until October.
Gender and food justice is a complex subject that is often overlooked. Statistics from the World Food Programme show that women make up a little over half of the world's population, but account for over 60 percent of the world's hungry. The statistics reveal that it isn't simply about choice, but rather something political.
"Every facet of food is gendered: production, access, preparation, consumption, etc. As we discussed [the topic] further, we grew more excited, and we believed that it would be a great platform for our first conference," says student organizer Carla Gomes '13.
Dean Renee White told conference attendees that social entrepreneurs are change agents of society and they help to advance sustainable solutions to improve the human condition. In regards to food justice, she said it's about ensuring people have access to adequate amounts of safe and nutritious food. Potential solutions were discussed at the conference that would help communities grow and decrease the likelihood of further hardships. For example, in the days leading up to the conference, student organizer Allison Whittier provided the Simmons community with access to nutritious and affordable food by hosting Marshalls Farm stand on the academic quad.
Student organizers say the conference was successful in initiating an ongoing conversation on how each member of the Simmons community can contribute to social change. Join in on the conversation and stay updated on next year's conference by liking the Gender, Social Justice, & Social Entrepreneurship page on Facebook.