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ASPiRE Students Attend IMPACT National Conference at UVA

By Patricia Cason

IMPACT conferenceASPiRE students Jonathan Butler, Courtney Latourrette, Alisha Robinson and Justin Sexton attended the IMPACT National Conference hosted by the University of Virginia’s Madison House Feb. 21-23. The 2019 conference brought together approximately 600 individuals from across the nation and is historically the largest gathering in the country focused on college students' civic engagement.

The four-day conference featured seven workshop blocks, along with numerous presentations and activities for attendees.

ASPiRE Director Erin Brown said the 2019 IMPACT Conference was a great chance for college students from around the country to connect over a shared commitment to civic engagement.

“With this year's conference being so close to VCU, this was a great opportunity to have some ASPiRE leaders participate in the event to learn, share and be inspired by their peers,” Brown said. “I was excited to share this opportunity with the students and found myself invigorated by their energy and renewed commitment to helping others.”

Latourrette, a second-year ASPiRE student majoring in international studies, said her biggest take-away from the conference was the importance of discussion and working together through issues.

"Many of the students and faculty I interacted with in this session had thoughts and ideas that I had not considered prior to the conference," she said. "Opportunities like the IMPACT Conference, where we can have an open dialogue about issues and come together as a community, are more and more important in our country.” 

Butler, a second-year ASPiRE student majoring in psychology, said the most inspirational part of the conference for him was the two keynote speakers, Dr. Michael McGee and Zyahna Bryant. McGee’s speech focused on overcoming the poverty he was raised in, while Bryant talked about the service she does in the Charlottesville community.

“Both of these keynotes were exceptional and quite an honor to listen to,” Butler said. “Both were very different yet similar in the sense that they overcame, and are still overcoming, the obstacles that have been thrown their way.”

For more information, contact Brown at