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ASPiRE Students, Staff Co-Present at Virginia Volunteerism Conference

Virginia Volunteerism Conference On May 21, ASPiRE students Naziirah Vines and Jacob Sexton co-presented with ASPiRE director, Dr. Erin Brown, at the annual Virginia Volunteerism Conference sponsored by the Virginia Office on Volunteerism and Community Service. The conference brought together more than 300 individuals from across the state engaged in service activities to help the community. The ASPiRE team presented the workshop, "Debunking the Myth of the Slacker Millennial," which was an interactive session that involved critically examining the stereotypes that persist in society and the media about young adults' work ethic. The session was one of 29 offered during the two-day conference and was attended by 25 participants who were actively engaged in the topic and discussion.

"Speaking up in a professional manner on something I am passionate about felt amazing," said Vines, a rising senior and recent ASPiRE completer. 
"In addition to the presentation, the feedback, support and attentiveness of the audience allowed me to express my personal experiences and research in a comfortable manner. This presentation provided the experience I need to feel completely comfortable with starting dialogue on campus!"

Sexton said the experience gave him the chance to share his experience being a millennial working two and three jobs while a full-time student in college. He also was excited to share the presentation experience with Vines.

"It was an experience where everything came in full-circle," he said. "Naziirah and I came to VCU and met at RAM Camp in 2015, lived in the same dorm all of our years at VCU and both joined ASPiRE."

Brown said the presentation was the first of its kind, allowing her to facilitate a workshop with students.

"This was the most fun I have had at a conference," Brown said. "I was so proud of Naz and Jacob. They showed great professionalism, maturity and poise throughout the entire process of proposing our workshop to the actual presentation. I am glad that we were able to have this wonderful professional development opportunity together. The presentation was a true demonstration of ASPiRE students turning awareness into action."