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Two Spartans strive for social justice awareness on campus

by Sydney Rhodes

On Feb. 9, two UT students tackled ideas covering social issues and social justice to win the PITCH by CAMPUSPEAK Competition at the AFLV Central Conference in Indianapolis, IN.

This competition holds an opportunity for students to formulate new ideas and pitch their proposal in order to make an impact on their campus. Ten teams were accepted into the competition and each team were able to work toward creating a ten minute pitch to present in front of judges.

AJ Sita, sophomore international business and entrepreneurship major, and Liz Ho-Sing-Loy-Keiler, junior history major, worked as a team to touch on the key topics regarding both mental health and social justice awareness on UT’s campus.

“Through our pitch, we hoped to shed light on how the programs that CAMPUSPEAK provided could aid students in awareness of intersectionality of social issues we all are sometimes faced with, as well as feeling comfortable enough to seek help for these obstacles” said Sita.

CAMPUSPEAK allows teams to use resources like classes and seminars that help better students pitching skills and to create a comprehensive approach for the competition.

Sita said, after discussing the hot topics on campus and society with Ho-Sing-Loy-Keiler, they both came to the conclusion that new programs and initiatives for the betterment of mental health and awareness could be a great way to aid students.

“We spoke on how the fraternity and sorority community at UT is great at raising money for our philanthropies, but questioned whether or not we are doing enough globally, in Tampa, or even in the UT community,” said Ho-Sing-Loy-Keiler. “We raise money for nonprofits that focus on social issues, but rarely do we try and learn more or stand up against those issues. We proposed that with their help, we could provide programming that engaged students on an emotion level, around social justice.”

After winning the competition, Sita and Ho-Sing-Loy-Keiler’s pitch will advance to the final round at the AFLV-West Competition in April, where they won’t actually pitch their idea once again, but their pitch idea will be compared to other winning teams around the country. The winning pitch of the entire competition will then be granted $15,000 of educational resources in order to address the issue on campus.

“It was an amazing experience competing at AFLV and we both would love to bring the big prize home to UT,” said Sita. “I’m hoping to apply the lessons I learned from the conference back into our campus community,” said Sita.

Sydney Rhodes can be reached at sydney.rhodes@spartans.ut.edu

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