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Feb 21
2017 Eminence Fellows Symposium "Inspires to Innovate"

The Eminence Fellows​ Program's mission reads "to identify, assist, and support intellectually and socially engaged citizens who commit themselves, both individually and as a group, to addressing academic and societal challenges."

The mission of the Eminence Fellows manifests itself in the annual Eminence Symposium, a student-led event at which notable professionals from campus as well as the Columbus community come and speak with current fellows. This year's symposium featured a total of 15 speakers on a wide variety of subjects, including food insecurity and human trafficking.

Sara Liang, a second year Eminence Fellow majoring in Management Information Systems, was the chairperson of this year's symposium, held on January 21 in Jennings Hall. Sara was tasked with coordinating the speakers, student presenters, and volunteers who helped work the event. Sara began working side by side with Rebecca Ward, the Eminence Fellows Program Coordinator, in May to begin to organize the logistical details and contact potential speakers.

A favorite part of this year's Symposium for many Eminence Fellows, including Sara and Caroline Ortiz, a third year Neuroscience major, was the encompassing theme of service. The official theme was Inspire to Innovate and there was a heavy focus on innovation in service, exemplified through the lunch service provided at the event. The event was catered by Freedom a la Cart, an organization that employs victims of human trafficking and offers not only support but also workforce training to aid in the rehabilitation of their employees. The use of this service impacted Caroline profoundly as it was "a great opportunity to not only talk about giving back to the community, but also to visibly support a group that is doing just that."

Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of the Symposium would be the practice of putting words into actions.

Roshini Srinivasan, a third year student from Tallmadge, Ohio, noted that the use of Freedom a la Cart was a real-life application of the Class of 2018's service project PassGo, an employment empowerment initiative which empowers ex-offenders to find meaningful employment. While not quite the same mission, both organizations seek to rehabilitate those who maybe would not have had a second chance otherwise. To see that mission in practice through Freedom a la Cart was "a humbling and unique way" of bringing in PassGo's mission to the event, Roshini said.

Though a very busy day, the Symposium epitomizes the mission of the Eminence Fellows of "addressing academic and societal challenges" in just one day.​ To learn more about the Eminence Fellows Program, click here

by Colleen Matthews, H&S Student Staff Writer