The BYU Office of Civil Engagement hosted a workshop focusing on the necessity of individual and collective action to address issues of public concern April 2.
The Office of Civil Engagement is part of the College of Family, Home and Social Sciences and calls students to action in an attempt to better the community and the world.
The event opened with a keynote address and Q&A with Elizabeth Smart. Five panels followed on the topics of government service, internships, engaging others in the work, effectively communicating with public officials and working for a non-profit.
Professor Richard Davis, the director of the Office of Civic Engagement, said the event had two purposes, the first being to stimulate an interest in taking action. To this end, Smart discussed her hands-on experience working with the government to pass legislation on sexual predators, internet crimes against children and abuse curriculum in schools.
“Do not give up,” she said. “If this cause is important to you, it is important to someone else.”
Smart urged the audience to keep fighting, find allies and approach the opposition.
“Good can triumph,” she said. “It is not all in vain.”
The workshop’s second purpose, according to Davis, was to equip students with the skills they need to take civic action. Each of the five panels featured three experts in their respective fields, offering tools to help students engage.
Speakers reminded students of the scripture from D&C 58:27: “Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness.”
Visit www.civicengagement.byu.edu for more information about the department.