During the first week of August, OSV members from around the state arrived in Portland for Oregon Student Voice’s second annual Summer Conference. Current high school students and recently graduated seniors from the Salem, Oregon City, and Greater Portland areas, with newest members coming from Reedsport, met in order to plan for the upcoming school year.
Introductions on Friday evening were followed by small group discussions focused on the difference between urban and rural schools. Each discussion was led by a student from Reedsport Community Charter School, while the other members were able to hear about firsthand experiences living on the rural Oregon Coast. After dinner, graduated seniors, including some of Oregon Student Voice’s founding members, were recognized for their efforts and dedication.
Saturday’s activities revolved around reviewing goals set in August of 2017, discussion over impending 501(c)(3) status, and preparation for the Empowering Our Voices Rally. After reviewing the rally’s agenda, members split into groups to prepare trainings and speeches that will be presented at the event on September 24th. Members then received information and tips on how to effectively advocate for change in schools by lobbying their school board. That presentation preceded a policy update in which members reviewed OSV’s 2019 legislative priorities, and voiced questions or concerns before voting to make them a focus for the year.
The conference was an excellent way for OSV to meet in person and get work done that is difficult to accomplish virtually. Members were able to make new friends, learn new skills, and prepare for their next big event: the Empowering Our Voices Rally taking place in Salem.