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Speaker inspires students to be active in environment, politics

I grew up with images of Kent State University seared in my mind: four unarmed college students shot dead in the heart of campus while peacefully protesting the Vietnam War. Now, I had the privilege to speak (in the governance chambers!) to a group of engaged, active students at that very same university, at a time of massive political and social unrest in our country. It carried extraordinary weight and meaning, a forceful reminder that we, the next generation, can and must unite and rise up in peace and power – using our voices and actions to resist, co- create and build new structures, systems, and paradigms.

Every campus at which I speak is entirely different (KSU is number five of sixteen over these two months), with each energizing and inspiring me to new heights. It is a unique privilege to have the opportunity to share with young people at this very moment, to speak openly about activism, environmentalism, organizing, policy, apathy, division, identity, purpose, the future, the works. We go deep during no-holds-barred Q+As to address anything and everything on our minds. The impact of the words exchanged is immediate, the seeds of active citizenry are planted, the fires of changemakers catalyzed. On we go… together, for us all, for all time.

And thank you to KSU, Hillel International and the brilliant team at Hillel at Kent State University for making me feel so welcome, so included, so at home. I remain humbled to be able to contribute.


Anti-Semitism doesn't stop Erin Schrode

 by Megan Ferguson

Erin Schrode, the youngest person to run for Congress, perseveres after getting large amounts of hate mail for being Jewish.

She told Kent State students Thursday night that every single person has the power to affect change.

Schrode said she ran for Congress in March 2016 and only had 70 days until the primary.

Days before the election, she said she woke up to thousands of hateful messages on her email, social media and voicemail in response to articles released about her Jewish faith.

Schrode said she never hid the fact that she was Jewish, but she originally wasn’t an advocate for Judaism.

“Before I get out of bed I am reminded I am Jewish and reminded that this is not my country,” Schrode said.

Schrode said she felt completely violated and could not escape the affect of her hate mail.

“Sometimes you want to throw a hissy fit, but it’s not all about me. This is not just about about Jews. It is about humanity,” Schrod said. 

Schrode said she chose to turn passion into action, and she said she feels not discussing hate and anti-Semitism is a disservice to justice, peace and society.

“A lot of people loose sight that anti-Semitism is a real thing,” Hillel's Interim Executive Director Harvey Sass said.

Schrode said she began her career at the age of 13 by establishing a non-profit called Turning Green with the hope of addressing hazardous chemicals in household products.

Sass said Schrode has an incredible message to share about the power of one person.

Schrode did not win the primary, but plans to run again in years to come.

“She had me in tears at one point,” said Elizabeth Haskell, senior environmental geography major.

Read this article on Kent Wired.


Speaker inspires students to be active in environment, politics

by Lyric Aquino

The youngest woman to run for Congress in the United States spoke to Kent State students Thursday about the environment, anti-Semitism, refugees and gender roles in society.

Erin Schrode, who ran for Congress at 24, has begun to focus on not only running for Congress again in 2020, but also educating and inspiring the public.

"Do something," Schrode, now 25, said. "You have the power to affect change with passion and action. You are capable."

Schrode, a New York University alumna, spent four semesters abroad in order to make a difference. She traveled to Ghana, Haiti, the Middle East and other locations to both study and develop programs to make an impact.

She has created projects that range from collecting trash to help the environment, to providing a school with supplies. Schrode is also the creator of the nonprofit Turning Green.

Despite this, Schrode still has has faced adversity throughout her career. Not only does Schrode identify as a female both physically and mentally, but she also identifies as Jewish.

Schrode said this became an issue throughout the election process her election when she was harassed via phone calls, emails and social media.

"That should not define who I am," Schrode said. "My exhibition of my femininity is a choice, but that's not all I am. I am a woman and I am Jewish. I'm human."

Teresa Powell, a senior aeronautics major, said the event had a large impact on her.

"She was inspirational," Powell said. "She spoke about taking action in your own life and I feel like that's something I can do."

Schrode encouraged the audience to be activists despite only being one person.

"You are one," she said. "You are one vote, one dollar, one voice — but that adds up. You can do what you want."

Abigail Bucy, a freshman communication studies major, said she felt that Schrode's presentation made her dreams seem more achievable.

"When she spoke about running for Congress, it validated my dreams of running for President," Bucy said. "It made me feel that I'm not crazy, and I can do this."

Kent State's event calendar for National Women's History Month features Shrode on the cover, making Thursday's event popular.

"Women are people, not two dimensional," Bucy said. "You can like more than one thing. You can do whatever. But do it, rather than say it."

Read this article on Kent Wired


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