Zoé Williard, a first-generation sophomore student at Shippensburg University, is engaged in collaborative actions aimed at creating long-term social change for her local community and beyond. She began her civic engagement work in high school advocating for policy reform and coordinating events that encouraged fellow student activism. Ms. Williard has continued her advocacy work by volunteering with local organizations to identify residents’ basic needs and to search for sustainable solutions. Through her commitment to serve the community, she has learned about systemic social problems and actively works to address these concerns. Ms. Williard believes that with policy reform and people coming together to help one another there can be lasting change within the community.
During high school, I was introduced to the concept of social justice and social inequity through a club called the Shippensburg High School Social Activism Club. This club was a catalyst for my passion for government and policy. This Social Activism Club heavily influenced my decision to explore social work as my major. Social work would enable me to use my knowledge of policy to help people at a macro level as well as an individual level. I was able to volunteer at a local organization called Christ Among Neighbors for my social work fieldwork hours where I helped clients secure funds for their housing and utility expenses. Through that experience, I learned even more about inequities that occur on a macro level and trickle down to the individual level. I am exploring the way that the American economic system perpetuates these inequalities through the on-campus chapter of the Young Democrat Socialists of America, which I am the vice president of. I enjoy pushing the boundaries of how we understand inequality by exploring topics such as economics, community aid, and government policy.