Andi Leineberg, a sophomore at Loras College, has become increasingly interested in social justice work centered on racial and ethnic issues. For the last four months, Andi has been working closely with a group of local advocates from the NAACP and the Human Rights Commission in Dubuque, Iowa to develop a local conference that will explore race and ethnicity through the lens of policing, economic development, education, and housing. Andi will continue to work with this group throughout the next year. Andi, along with other students, will also be exploring how the college newspaper may help or hinder equity and inclusion on campus. This includes the paper's internal equity and inclusion policies and practices as well as what is communicated to the college and Dubuque community.
As I've grown older and ventured off to my first year of college, I have become increasingly aware of complex social issues. I have started to understand there are aspects of society that are not easy to talk about or easy to come to terms with, especially racial issues. While pursuing my public relations degree at Loras College, I have had the opportunity to research the topic of racial disparity with the purpose of using this knowledge to better my community. In my public relations course, "Advanced Public Relations Writing," I worked with a group of PR students to create a PR plan for a group of community members who are developing a conference focused on racial issues. This connection with community members who truly care about these issues has been inspiring and has allowed me to use my evolving PR skills to provide opportunities for the community to learn about racial issues, including the way race has shaped our society. Throughout my college career, I intend to continue to learn more about how communication and knowledge can be used to bring attention to social issues that deeply impact the way we interact with others in our community.