Leading the conversation

Note: This event has been rescheduled to Friday, March 4, as a result of a snow storm expected for Friday, Feb. 5.

Nearly 100 students, selected from some of the top high schools in New England, will spend a day at Wheaton on Friday, February 5 discussing how they can employ social media to create positive change.

In its inaugural year, the WheaLead Forum for High School Students offers teens a chance to interact with current college students and faculty who are already working to make a difference on a variety of issues, in myriad ways. Students were nominated to participate in the leadership conference by their high schools.

“When we started kicking around this idea, it was to share with a broader audience how effective our students are in addressing important issues of the day, and it really started with seeing how many of our current students go off and do amazing internships or start programs right here on campus,” Wheaton President Dennis Hanno said.

The high school students, mainly juniors and seniors, come from schools in eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island and southern Maine and will participate in a series of sessions centered on four main themes: Equality, Environment, Politics and Public Health.

The day will begin with a welcome from President Hanno followed by an appearance by U.S. Congressman Joe Kennedy, who will engage the students in a conversation about social change. The students then will break into groups and attend interactive sessions led by Wheaton students and professors that explore each of the four themes further.

As part of those sessions, the teens will develop social media campaigns, which they will present at the day’s end.

“The day will be very high energy,” President Hanno said. “The students will really roll up their sleeves and start to make an impact on these issues.”