By Joyce Chan, Master of Public Health student, McMaster University
“Youth are the most digitally connected generation of our time.”
The above quote is taken from HIVEX 2016 keynote speaker and CEO of CivicAction, Sevaun Palvetzian. It demonstrates not only one of the qualities unique to the youth generation – my generation – but also the ability among youth to harness the power of technology to transform their environments. Our generation of young students and professionals has ideas for creating change and progress, and the potential impact of our actions is amplified when we put to use our growing skills in technology and social media.
Yet, participating in HIVEX 2016 has reconfirmed to me that despite our digital connected-ness, youth have definitely not lost our personal connections with each other and our communities.
The HIVEX 2016 workshops were centred on the themes of idea development, effective communication, and community engagement. The conference covered the steps from having that a-ha moment, to pitching the idea, and to creating community impact. Perhaps one of my favourite workshops was “Engaging Pitch” facilitated by Futurpreneur as it gave me a framework to structure, communicate, and develop my ideas and unique interests. In between workshops* I witnessed an abundance of networking, with people sharing their experiences and plans for the future. Ideas were exchanged between students, working professionals and community organizations, and only time will tell what will be accomplished as a result of these connections.
It is refreshing to see the full potential of youth being recognized and fostered through events such as HIVEX 2016. Youth bring in ideas and fresh perspective.
We collaborate with and learn from generations past and present. Importantly, we are motivated to use our skills to create positive change in our communities. The generation of youth is indeed digitally savvy, but is also capable of being so much more.
*Admittedly, in between workshops there was also a variety of snacks of which I had to try a good number… for science!