At State Conferences last January and February, YMCA Texas Youth and Government students elected a new slate of officers to serve them during the 2018-2019 program year. We’ll be featuring an interview with each officer on our blog in upcoming weeks. Next up: Print Editor-in-Chief Gloria Ogunlade! Earlier this month, Gloria represented Texas YG and Duncanville High School at the Conference on National Affairs in North Carolina. Above, she is pictured with her fellow media delegates (far right, bottom row).
Share a little about your experience providing media coverage at CONA. What stands out about the experience?
Being a part of the media team at CONA, I got to experience all the life-changing spirit of the Blue Ridge Mountains while also participating in the most realistic coverage I’ve ever been a part of. I had the opportunity to work with facilitators with years of experience in the field that shared the same love of politics and story-telling news. The content we were able to put out at CONA was extremely professional, so it was great for me personally because I was able to learn and take away many tools from my week on the Mountain. Spending the majority of the day with other media delegates, I was able to learn about other YG media programs and make lifelong friendships. While there are countless things that made CONA such a unique experience for me, I’d say these new relationships and strong bonds I made with delegates I’d spent less than a week with are what stand out the most.
What draws you to print media over other forms?
To me, print media allows for the most in-depth coverage– stories can be as long and detailed as necessary. Print media can also present more of a challenge because it is more difficult to get people to be engaged with longer articles or blogs, but being able to present a good story from all angles makes it worth it and makes me proud of the final product.
What is your favorite content that you have created for YG media thus far and why?
My favorite content I’ve created for YG media would have to be a delegate profile I wrote for CONA on my friend and fellow delegate (Jariah Cole — read here!). It was fun and interesting for me to construct because it was a story that was somewhat personal for me, and it was important to me to highlight my friend and shine light on her achievements.
Besides CONA, what else is keeping you busy this summer?
Following CONA, I went on a roadtrip and was able to tour some out-of-state colleges. For the rest of my summer, I plan on hanging out with my friends, participating in as much community service as possible, and also doing a lot of studying for my SAT and ACT to prepare for a very busy senior year right around the corner.
We hope y’all had a fantastic Independence Day! Our delegates at CONA celebrated early by cheering on Anastasia Sotiropoulos (Dallas), Sharif Long (Dallas), and Aayush Dave (Houston) during Tuesday’s Third Committees and enjoying a holiday dance that night. On July 4th, our Texas delegates impressed during General Assemblies. The authors of 18 of the top 30 proposals present during the Heaton and Washburn General Assemblies the Wednesday of CONA. Jordan Clements, Anastasia Sotiropoulos, Evan Vollbrecht, and Diomarvellous Nsofor gave Pro/Con Intent Speeches during Washburn, and Dylan Cousins spoke up in Heaton. Outside these planned speeches, other Texas delegates raised their voices including Christina van Waasbergen, Kate Schulle, and Madison Dillon. Our students calculated that Texas delegates took a whopping 22% of the General Assembly Pro/Con speaking opportunities!
Our delegates had some free time Wednesday afternoon. Some chose to swim while others went on a hike in the mountains surrounding Blue Ridge or went on a tour of the historic Biltmore Estate. Even those delegates who did not participate in the hike have gotten a true taste of nature at CONA this year. We are keeping a safe distance, but we have had many bear sightings! Check out the picture below.
Today, all CONA attendees are in Plenary Session. The top 12 proposals overall, including Sharif Long’s proposal “To increase campus-wide approaches to address the college mental health crisis in America,” advance to this final proposal presentation event. Michael Brown and Rajpal Bal had a chance to offer Pro/Con comments during Plenary earlier today. Sharif is expected to present around 3:15 p.m. CST and has the honor of closing the conference. To tune in, visit the CONA live stream page. YG supporters can also watch tonight’s closing award ceremony starting at 6:00 p.m. CST.
Hello from Black Mountain, NC! Texas YG has just kicked off the Conference on National Affairs (CONA) with our delegation of 24 outstanding students. After training in Austin Friday night, the delegation arrived at scenic YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly on Saturday. Delegates have come to CONA to present their proposals describing social problems and outlining solutions on a variety of topics such as mental health on college campuses, the opioid crisis, voting reform, homelessness in major U.S. cities, and school safety. They had a first chance to share these proposals with delegates from other states during Proposal Sharing Groups Saturday night. Jariah Cole and Jonathan Forseth each chaired a Proposal Sharing Group.
On Sunday, delegates enjoyed the Opening Ceremony and took part in First Committee Hearings. During each round of Committee Hearings, delegates engage in debate and discuss the pros and cons of their own and other delegates’ proposals, suggesting amendments to proposals as appropriate and following parliamentary procedure throughout. They score one another’s proposals, and a specified number of the highest scoring proposals from each Committee Hearing advance to the next round. All delegates gather on the final day of CONA to discuss the 12 highest-ranked proposals in a Plenary Session. First Committee Hearings wrapped up Monday morning, and delegates will participate in Second Committee Hearings this afternoon and evening. We are celebrating all our delegates including Sharif Long, Alysha Orbach, Aayush Dave, and Anastasia Sotiropoulos who earned leadership positions in Hearing Committees, Conference Life Committee, and Round Tables. We are also thrilled for our delegates whose proposals have advanced to the Second Committee Hearings: Dani Smith, Anastasia Sotiropoulos, Jesse Williams, Alysha Orbach, Sharif Long, Diomarvellous Nsofor, and Aayush Dave.
More to come later this week as we begin Third Committee Hearings tomorrow! Enjoy a round-up of pictures from our first couple of days below. For more CONA coverage, be sure to visit the official CONA blog. Media delegate Gloria Ogunlade wrote a feature story about Jariah Cole that highlights Jariah’s impressive leadership and resilience. You don’t want to miss it!