UML Hosts Duo of Grassroots Radio Conferences

06/08/2007


Conferences Address Diversity and Technology 

LOWELL ߝ UMass Lowell will host the 12th annual Grassroots Radio Conference, themed “Reaching Out to Immigrant Communities,” from June 21 to 24. The radio conference will be held in conjunction with the Grassroots Use of Technology Conference on June 22 and 23.

The Grassroots Radio Conference is being presented by WUML, the University radio station, and “Thinking Out Loud,” its public affairs show. The conference gives grassroots community activists the opportunity to connect with others, attend workshops and participate in discussions on issues affecting the media. This year, presenters represent more than twenty states, Canada and El Salvador. Local non-profit organizations will also be attending the conference to explore ways of incorporating media into their work.

The Grassroots Use of Technology Conference, sponsored by Organizers’ Collaborative, highlights how participants can use low-cost technology, software and training to help their organizations with outreach, fundraising and production. The conference kicks off with Penguin Day Lowell on June 22. Penguin Day focuses on using affordable high-tech options and training to assist non-profit organizations.

This year’s keynote speaker for the Grassroots Radio Conference will be Maria Elena Latona, executive director of Centro Presente, a member-driven organization dedicated to the self-determination of Massachusetts’ Latin American communities. She will speak on using radio and other outreach tools to organize for social justice.
The conference also features a visit by Miriam Ayala and Rosa Dubón. Ayala and Dubón represent El Salvador’s CRIPDES-CCR, which directs the education, organization and mobilization of 100 communities in Chalantenango, El Salvador, along with running the radio station Radio Sumpul. Both women have been key players in protecting the radio station and their communities against the intrusion of foreign mining countries.

Other highlights of the combined conferences include:
* Keynote speaker Allison Fine, author of Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age and activist, will speak the Grassroots Use of Technology Conference;
* Workshops on how to utilize web-based technology will introduce organizations to podcasting and internet broadcasting;
* Participants can attend discussions with community activists and share stories about using the media to further community goals, raise money and broaden awareness;
* The conference promotes interaction between participating radio stations and community groups by allowing them to set up information booths, providing rooms for sharing audio samples, assisting in podcasting and offering open discussion time.
WUML is a member of the Grassroots Radio Coalition (GRC). The GRC is a network of independent community radio stations throughout the U.S., Canada and Latin America, and is committed to diversity in public radio and promoting community access to the media. WUML requested to host this year’s Grassroots Radio Conference to present Lowell and the station’s ethnic diversity. Conference organizers are looking forward to working with the many immigrant communities in the area to show them how they can take advantage of broadcasting.

For more information on the conferences, contact Dan Toomey at (978) 934-3115, or visit either http://www.grassrootsradioxii.org/ or http://www.organizerscollaborative.org/conference.

UMass Lowell, a comprehensive university with a national reputation in science, engineering and technology, is committed to educating students for lifelong success in a diverse world and conducting research and outreach activities that sustain the economic, environmental and social health of the region. UML offers its 11,000 students more than 120 degree choices, internships, five-year combined bachelor’s to master’s programs and doctoral studies in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management, the School of Health and Environment, and the Graduate School of Education. www.uml.edu.

For more information, contact media@uml.edu or 978-934-3224