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Alumni Panels Provide Advice to Current Students: Sharing experiences with activism

As part of the celebration of its birthday, Rollins hosted a handful of its strongest social advocates in panels where they talked about how their background at Rollins shaped their experiences in the social arena.

The panel featured Muriel Fox ’48, co-founder of the National Organization for Women; Hal George ’76, founder and president of the Winter Park affiliate of Habitat for Humanity; Elizabeth Abrams ’00 ’05MA, a social justice activist; and finally LeLaina Romero ’00, assistant professor of psychology at Lasell College.

The panel began by discussing the role that Rollins played in each speaker’s future in social advocacy. The older generation on the panel agreed that President Hamilton Holt inspired his students to make a difference in the world, while the entire panel agreed that the friendships and opportunities available shaped their critical perspective of the world.

Abrams recognized Dr. Kathryn Norsworthy, licensed psychologist and professor of graduate studies in counseling, because she demonstrates her beliefs in her scholarly work and actions on a daily basis, which acts to inspire her many students.

They also discussed how Rollins prepared them for their intended career paths in justice, and Romero replied that Rollins helped her develop key critical thinking skills that would become essential to her line of work. Fox took a different approach and found that he fell in love with the city of Winter Park after he graduated. He joked, “From graduating, I only made it to the other side of Lake Virginia!”

The panel then passed on some words of wisdom for the audience. She shared her tale of working with non-profit organizations along with working with real estate agencies. “The bills still have to get paid!” she joked. Abrams warned the audience of “activist burnout,” when all seems too daunting to make a difference, and she emphasized the importance of having a support system to be there to help tackle societal challenges and to ensure that you are taking care of you.

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