Students learn how to create a movement

by Amanda Guerrero

After months of planning, two San Diego State seniors hosted a leadership training conference called Youth Organizing and Policy Institute. The San Diego YOPI, which ended on Sunday, is one of eight regions taking part in Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s national 2012 Youth, Power Tour!

YOPI’s logistics lead Amy Dunford and curriculum lead Jennifer Kulka organized the three-day conference, aimed at promoting change through movements started by young people. The event attracted local and out-of-state participants.

Although YOPI is funded by PPFA (known for its politically liberal support base), Kulka, a psychology senior, said the skills taught at the conference are valuable to anyone seeking change. According to Kulka, YOPI is a set of workshops meant to teach people leadership skills necessary to start effective and lasting movements.

“We’re teaching (students) these skills so they can go home and launch change,” Kulka said. “That way, they can create the change that they want to see.”

YOPI was broken into two sections: “Building Your Power,” which taught effective methods for starting a movement, and “UsingYour Power,” which demonstrated ways to keep a movement from losing momentum. To get a break from their training, YOPI participants spent Saturday night aboard the Inspiration Hornblower.

SDSU gerontology senior Micah Wroten, who didn’t know what YOPI was before attending, said the event provided a comfortable environment to learn about event planning.

“I think it’s applicable toanything,” Wroten said. “It was a great experience in all aspects like training, networking and even fun.”

Dunford and Kulka said they are proud of the event, which brought 87 participants to SDSU.

“I loved seeing how everyone was super serious and showed they weren’t just here for a vacation in San Diego, but that they really wanted to do something,” Dunford said.