This weekend, students from across the nation will converge at UNC to discuss political and economic equality both at home and abroad, social activism and other issues.
Students United for a Responsible Global Environment will host a conference Friday through Sunday to educate the campus and the community about global issues with a variety of workshops, speakers and concerts.
This is the second year the University has held this conference, said Stuart Davis, a freshman political science major, who is helping organize the event. He said he is excited about the conference because of its broad scope. "It covers such a wide range of social issues and activities," Davis said.
The conference is sponsored by several campus organizations, including the political science, anthropology and sociology departments, the Black Student Movement, Student Environmental Action Coalition and Campus Y.
Rachel Rosenfeld, chairwoman of the Department of Sociology, said the department decided to sponsor SURGE because of the unique opportunity it provides to students. "It's a contribution to undergraduate and graduate education," she said. "These sorts of conferences are great for getting people together outside of classes to discuss issues."
The conference will open with a speech by Naomi Klein titled "Corporatization of the World and the Upsurge of Popular Resistance" at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Memorial Hall. The conference will continue through the weekend with more than 50 workshops on topics such as animal rights, the death penalty and civil disobedience.
While most events will be limited to those who have paid the $20 registration fee, Klein's speech will be open to the public. Also free will be an all-day film festival in Hanes Art Center, sponsored by the Carolina Union Activities Board.
The conference will end at 3 p.m. Sunday with a march for women's rights. This will coincide with similar marches being held around the world.
SURGE members said they expect a large turnout at the event, with Davis estimating anywhere from 200 to 800 attendees. "We have 109 people registered right now, but last year we had a lot of people just show up and register there," said Cheryl Huxford, a senior political science major, who is another organizer.
The organizers said they hope for diversity among the participants. "For the weekend, there's a lot of UNC undergrad students, and students coming in from other states and even from out of the country," said Tung Sui, a freshman physics and astronomy major.
Davis said the organizers hope the conference will have long-lasting effects. "I think we're hoping to develop a network of people who are interested in making society a better place and educating other students as well as the community."
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