By. Lauren Schubert
Every year, the current senior class of the Leadership and International Relations program here at James River completes a capstone. Capstones are student-run projects that are meant to bring attention to a specific cause or charity. The most recent capstone event took place on February 2nd and centered around the issue of homelessness in the greater Richmond area. The informational conference was held by leadership students Elon Harrison and Taylor Gibson and had an overwhelming amount of support from Richmond residents and our very own James River Rapids! The Rapid Press was able to ask one of the managers of the one of the managers of the event, Elon Harrison, a few questions about how the entire event came together which can be found below.
Lauren Schubert: How did the two of you come up with the idea for a homelessness conference?
Elon Harrison: Taylor and I have always had a heart for homeless individuals and always think about how fortunate we’ve been in our lives. We understand that homelessness is not a quick fix, but we wanted people to be aware of its prevalence in the RVA community. Giving a few dollars to a homeless individual on the street is not the ultimate solution to the problem, so we wanted to provide our community with a platform to help alleviate the issue (volunteering, donating, spreading the word, etc). By hosting an informational conference, we were able to educate the community on the prevalence of homelessness in RVA, give perspectives on the issue through individuals who have experienced it themselves, and provide organizations with which they would involve themselves. Ultimately, we hoped the conference would encourage people to take action on the issue.
Lauren Schubert: How did you feel about the overall turnout of the event? Did it undermine or exceed your expectations?
Elon Harrison: We had an amazing turnout and had more individuals in attendance than we’d expected.
Lauren Schubert: Overall, what was the best part of hosting and planning the event?
Elon Harrison: Honestly, the best part of planning and hosting was knowing we were going to make an impact on our community once the event came together. The actual process of planning and hosting was quite stressful. We had some issues along the way, but we knew our work would be beneficial in some way… that’s what kept us going throughout the process.