The College Democrats of Ohio (CDO) recently hosted a regional conference at Kent State University where School of Journalism and Mass Communication Assistant Professor Stephanie Smith was a featured speaker.
Smith, formerly a Senior Intelligence Service executive at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), spoke to the students about how the CDO can strengthen its role as a social movement, especially in between and beyond election cycles.
Smith said she utilized three key themes throughout her speech, including “how CDO can give voice to the voiceless, how it can become relentlessly relevant and how it can harness deeply purposeful power.”
“Our country was founded by the young,” Smith said. “The students who participate in government and in social justice movements can begin immediately shaping the future. There has never been a more gifted and enabled generation, and it is time for them to take up the work.”
Hana Barkowitz, a sophomore public relations major and president of the Kent State College Democrats, was a member of the planning committee for the event. She invited Smith to speak.
“The CDO wanted to host a regional conference for the Northeast Ohio chapters to network and collaborate,” Barkowitz said. “While this was technically a Northeast event, people from all around the state came.”
According to Barkowitz, students from 10 universities attended the conference: Kent State, Youngstown State University, Ashland University, Ohio State University Marion, University of Akron, Cleveland State University, Ohio University, College of Wooster, University of Dayton and Case Western Reserve University.
Barkowitz said Kent State was chosen to host because of the re-branding process the chapter went through last year and last semester. The chapter’s membership rates have skyrocketed, Barkowitz said, and it is one of the most active chapters in the state.