In addition to receiving a high-quality international education online, Parami undergraduate students also have hands-on opportunities to supplement their online learning. Two Parami undergraduate students and a Parami student support officer traveled to Budapest, Hungary, to attend the Get Engaged Summer Conference at Central European University from June 27, 2023, to July 4, 2023.
Get Engaged is an annual conference organized by Bard College in partnership with Central European University where students from different liberals universities in the network come together to present their projects, share ideas, network with students from different universities and attend professional training.
This year's conference covered diverse activities, such as group presentations about civic engagement projects, poster reception for the public, group hackathons, and workshops on media literacy, community organizing, and advocacy that allowed participants to gain practical insights and skills. There were around 50 students representing their own projects and universities. Seven participants, including two students: Wai Moe and The The Zuu Zin, the leader of student-led clubs from Parami University, got to present their civic engagement project to international audiences.
Dedicated to promoting and developing media and communication skills, Wai Moe founded Media Club to address misinformation and media toxicity issues through media literacy awareness.
"It's fascinating to learn different initiatives being pursued by other students. It's such a global gathering of passionate individuals. The conference provided me with numerous insights. One of the key takeaways was the power of collaboration and networking. Being able to connect with light-minded individuals from different backgrounds and cultures really expanded my horizon. The workshops and discussions also shed light on various strategies for effective civic engagement. The conference has inspired me to further develop and expand my Media Club project, particularly in media literacy and civic engagement. I am willing to share my experience with my university to organize a workshop/event to raise awareness of media literacy," said Wai Moe, the founder of the student-led Media Club at Parami University.
The Media Club has completed seven projects focusing on media literacy and providing workshops to educate youth about media awareness and train future creators with responsible content creation skills.
The Zuu Zin founded the student-led Social Issues Club (SIC) at Parami University. Her civic engagement project
explores solutions for various local social issues, such as Child labor and street kids, Gender Stereotypes/Gender-based marketing Gender Equity, Factory Labor Rights, and Employee rights.
"The most important thing I learned from the conference would be active listening. Throughout the program, we talked about how important active listening is, including listening attentively and respecting each other's opinions…this is something I should also work on. Without active listening and empathy, there won't be any collective action to tackle social issues that affect most of the population or even our minorities in our communities," said The The Zuu Zin, the founder of the student-led Social Issues Club (SIC) at Parami University.
SIC club's activities include weekly volunteer opportunities working with teachers and street children and developing a kid-friendly curriculum, labor rights policy discussions and role plays, newsletters focusing on gender stereotypes and LGBTQ+I communities, and conducting interviews in the field to capture. Their project has impacted over 40 people.
As students join almost all of their classes and activities virtually, the student support team attempts to reach out to all students and civic engagement coordinators to get exchange programs and international in-person internship programs. The student support team believes that acquiring international exposure is of utmost importance for the students' further studies as well as job opportunities. When the students expand their horizons with the global network, their curiosity is more likely to ignite the spark of creating a better place within the community and around the globe. Moreover, this kind of in-person interaction enhances their sense of inclusion to engage in global issues and be part of change-makers.
"From the lens of the student affairs team, this golden opportunity plays one of the pivotal roles for our students. It allows them to have a sense of belonging within students and between students and universities around the world. In addition, our students get inspired and aspire to foster the level of their projects by upgrading and shaping a better version of themselves and the impact on society," said Pedro, Senior Student Affairs Officer.