MU lays out Young WV Conference plan

August 28, 2018

HUNTINGTON - An event designed to empower young people to effect change in their home state is once again slated for Marshall University.

Organizers of the upcoming Young West Virginia Power Building Conference held a press conference Monday morning at Drinko Library on Marshall’s Huntington campus to announce the schedule of events for this year’s gathering.

Sponsored by Our Children, Our Future, this is the third year the conference will take place at Marshall. It is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 14, through Sunday, Sept. 16, according to Jennifer Wells, organizer of the event.

Young West Virginia aims to encourage students ages 15 to 25 to join a statewide movement of young people committed to making change within their communities in West Virginia, according to Wells.

“Attendees at our conference will get to experience youth-led sessions on college readiness, voter engagement, racial injustice, mental health, advocacy and more,” she said.

Kayla Hinkley, director of Try This WV, Young WV leader and workshop presenter, was asked who should be at this conference.

“Every young leader in West Virginia,” she said. “Folks who support West Virginia young leaders, anyone that wants to make change and a difference in West Virginia’s future.”

Hinkley said this is the state’s only conference that is entirely planned and led by West Virginia’s best and brightest young people.

“Young West Virginians, your time is now to create the West Virginia you want,” she said.

Marshall student body president Hunter Barclay said the university is known for promoting civic engagement and getting students involved in political discussions.

“I think we’re at a very important time in our country and in our state,” Barclay said. “We need more young people to speak up and talk about the issues they are passionate about.

“If you are a young person in this state, your opinion is the most relevant because you are not only the leader for the moment, but also the leader for the future.”

Hinkley and Barclay said young leaders in the state are concerned about higher education tuition, health care, safe school campuses, the opioid crisis, racial justice and LGBTQ+ equality.

“I think this conference is going to be very exciting as it brings more young leaders to this campus to connect with other young professionals, organizers and leaders from across the state,” Barclay said.

Those participating are eligible to receive $250 for their community- and school-based projects with an opportunity to apply for $500 to $2,000 more, Hinkley added.

The cost of the conference is $40 per student and $25 for Our Children, Our Future student chapter members and presenters. That covers supplies, T-shirts and meals.

For more information and to register for the conference, visit http://www.ocofwv.org/youngwv/.

Follow reporter Fred Pace at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter at @FredPaceHD.

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