LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 27, 2020) — The Graduate Student Congress (GSC) at the University of Kentucky is starting a new series of events this year called “Civic Engagement Saturdays.”
On the last Saturday of the month over the next three months, the GSC will invite prominent politicians who are Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) to campus to speak with all undergraduate students, graduate and professional students, and postdocs about recognizing yourself in politics, how to get involved in politics, and effecting change in your community(ies). In an effort to amplify the voices of BIPOC students on campus, these interview conversations will be moderated by BIPOC student and postdoc leaders at UK.
The first “Civic Engagement Saturdays” conversation will be with state Rep. Attica Scott from 1-3 p.m. EDT Saturday, Aug. 29, via Zoom webinar, and the moderator will be undergraduate student leader Kayla Woodson.
Scott is from Louisville and serves in the Kentucky House of Representatives for the 41st District. She graduated with her bachelor's degree in political science from Knoxville College (a historically Black college) and earned her master's degree in communications from the University of Tennessee. When not in session, Scott is a community organizer for racial equality and criminal justice, and she is also a certified anti-racism trainer.
Woodson is a third-year undergraduate student seeking a degree in political science with a minor in journalism. She serves in the Student Government Association as director of inclusion and equity and has helped organize this series of events.
“'Civic Engagement Saturdays' are born out this concept that I had while interning in Frankfort last semester about being a minority and not having the representation you need as a minority person,” Woodson said. “If you have those examples or those role models, they can really inspire you to take the initiative you need to build your own representation and do the work it takes to be a representative for people that need it.”
Katherine Counts, president of the GSC, echoed these sentiments.
“I think that was really the tip of the iceberg of why we thought moving in this direction made a lot of sense, because a lot of people don’t see themselves in the political sphere,” Counts said.
Any UK students or postdocs who would like to attend this virtual event should fill out the registration form at https://forms.gle/RyByDqKmjooML6yD8.
The GSC asks that all interested students and postdocs register so the GSC can get an idea of who the organization is reaching on campus, and to make sure the GSC has a large enough Zoom license to ensure everyone who wants to attend, can attend. The GSC will also be livestreaming this event on their Facebook page (@ukygsc), so even if interested students and postdocs cannot attend the live conversation, they can still watch it later at their convenience.
The Graduate Student Congress is the governing body for graduate and professional students and postdoctoral scholars at UK. The mission of the GSC is to unify and represent graduate and professional students and postdoctoral scholars at UK in matters affecting their quality of life and to facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration and professional development through seminars, forums, outreach programming, advocacy and community enhancement.
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" two years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers." We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.