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High School Students Come to DU to Talk Food

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The University of Denver is playing host to over 150 high school students visiting campus this week for the International Baccalaureate World Student Conference. 23 students are from Colorado and the rest are from out of the state or country.

The conference will hold a number of events and guest lectures relating to its theme “Farm to Fork: Ethics of Food Sourcing, Production and Consumption.” On Tuesday, Cara DiEnno, associate director of DU’s Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL) presented on how to use the principles of community organizing to create transformational change.

“Community organizing starts with and is deeply rooted in a sense of relationship building and trust,” she said. “It is rooted in social justice, and in trying to negotiate, shift and build the balance of power between people.”

What are you willing to fight for, and fight so hard for, that it may make you unpopular? Cara DiEnno, Associate Director of CCESL

DiEnno provided the students with direction and encouraged them to lead initiatives in their own communities that will tackle issues relating to food justice. “Leadership in community organizing means taking responsibility for enabling others to achieve purpose in the face of uncertainty” she said. “No two leaders have to look identical—there isn’t one set of skills that makes us a good leader. It’s really about capitalizing on what each person has to offer that really matters.”

She also discussed the importance of determining one’s own personal connection to the issue at hand. She asked the students, “What are you willing to fight for, and fight so hard for, that it may make you unpopular?”

Throughout the week, the students will attend a variety of events and hear from experts on food justice and sustainability. Topics range from the business of food to the ethics of food distribution, and the conference will conclude with student presentations and action plans.