Students attend Michigan Student Power Summit


Courtesy of Autumn Page

Oakland student Autumn Page at the Michigan Student Power Summit.

Autumn Page, Marketing Director

Members of the Young Democratic Socialists (YDSA) of Oakland University attended the Michigan Student Power Summit on Oct. 19 and 20 at Michigan State University to learn from others experiences and workshops. 

Michigan Student Power is a progressive/radical statewide association, which is active on seven campuses in Michigan: Oakland University, Kalamazoo College, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Flint, Eastern Michigan University and Wayne State University. 

The Michigan Student Power Summit is a statewide gathering of student organizers, activists and radicals that brings together many strands of organizing in Michigan. It’s about encouraging youths to become unified around social justice issues and skill building. 

Every year the theme changes for the summit. This year, it was “Transforming Ourselves, Rebuilding Our Futures.” The e-board of the YDSA thought it was fitting for people who are in the club to go because YDS is rebuilding and starting to get off the ground.

Out of everyone in YDSA, Steph Wong, secretary of the group, and I went to the summit. I briefly saw them before my workshop started, and they attended various workshops.

Some of the workshops over the two days were: Intro to the Green New Deal, Take Up Space, How We Got Here: A Brief History of Neoliberalism, Amplifying the Personal to Shape the Political, Co-Liberty Socialism, Visioning Liberation, Difficulties of Legal Immigration, and Civic Engagement and Organizing. The content creators for this event were very open to new ideas and offered various supplies for the presenters. 

I went because I wanted to pick up the knowledge I have gained through experience in a fast-paced environment, where everyone already knew what the meaning was of what was being said, while I struggled to understand what their words meant. 

My workshop took place on Sunday, Oct. 20, and it was designed for people who had little to no experience in political organizing. I made sure to introduce ActBlue as the legal way supporters of a political candidate can donate money, things to consider when choosing venues, average donation sizes (with examples from the Belem Morales suggestions) and stressed the importance of Facebook event sharing.

Key elements of my workshop were persistence for young people in politics to stick with it and to not listen to people who say that they don’t belong in politics.

The Michigan Student Power Summit can be a great resource for people wanting to get more involved in politics and to learn more about them and the skills gained by both the audience and the presenter can last a lifetime. Other YDSA members will likely return next year if given the opportunity. 

Wong spoke about their experience at the Summit, saying they made invaluable connections and gained some valuable skills over the weekend.

“I’m not sure if I consider them skills or knowledge, but I definitely learned something this weekend,” Wong said via email. “There was a lot about self-care as an ongoing process and all the different ways you must/should take care of yourself, including setting boundaries and getting to know yourself and your needs outside of a colonized mindset. I think it’ll make me examine my behavior and thoughts more and incorporate and/ or cut back things in a way that is beneficial for myself in the short run and long run.”