Social justice retreat Campus Step Up taking applications for participants, facilitators

Campus Step Up, CSU’s annual social justice retreat held in Estes Park in January, is now accepting applications for participants as well as facilitators.

Campus Step Up: A Social Justice Retreat, set for Jan. 17-19 at the YMCA of the Rockies, is an opportunity for students to expand their awareness of power, dominance and privilege through identity exploration. The retreat enables participants to focus on self-reflection, education and personal growth as well as their perceptions of social justice, multicultural and global issues. Step Up’s ultimate goal is to give students the skills to act on the issues and causes that they are most passionate about.

The retreat is completely free, and all transportation, meals and lodging are provided. It is organized by CSU’s Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement (SLiCE) office.

“It starts with you,” program coordinator Rachel Kiemele says of the retreat’s emphasis on examining one’s self before learning how to be an ally to marginalized communities. “What identities do I hold, and what systems am I a part of? How do these perpetuate marginalization?”

Nov. 16 deadline

Applications for new participants as well as returning participants can be submitted online at RamLink until Nov. 16. About 70 participants can be accommodated during the three-day retreat.

Participants at Campus Step Up

SLiCE is also seeking additional small-group facilitators, who play a pivotal role within the retreat structure.

The Campus Step Up curriculum features a blend of activities facilitated within the entire learning community, composed of all attendees, and time spent in smaller core communities, each made up of eight to 12 students. Small group facilitators will be paired together, and each pair will work with one of the core communities throughout the retreat.

Training for facilitators is provided, as are transportation, meals and lodging during the retreat.  Those who are interested in volunteering can apply online by Nov. 16.

‘Fun and challenging’

“Through this experience, I learned the vocabulary necessary to start those conversations about Identity and privilege,” said Camille Laufasa-Duncan, a design and merchandising major who attended Campus Step Up last January as a first-year student. “The difficult and sometimes uncomfortable conversations that I had enabled me to make connections with so many people from all different backgrounds. Campus Step Up is a fun and challenging way to explore new opportunities and ideas, expand your Ram family and dig deeper into social justice topics in a safe space.”

“Campus Step Up was one of the most crucial steps in both my journey as a leader and an agent of change,” added sociology major Jessica Gutierrez. “When I first applied, all I knew was that I was going to get a free trip to the YMCA of the Rockies and a chance to improve my leadership. During this retreat, I learned about different identities and how to create change. It was an incredible experience where I got to break down common misconceptions of privilege and social justice with a group of motivated and passionate individuals.”

More information is available on the Campus Step Up web page.