Thumbnail of speaker Elena McCosh.


Elena McCosh

Empower Apprentice

Fall semester will be Elena’s first semester as Empower apprentice, where she hopes to learn more of the necessary tools to help shed light and start much needed conversations on a variety of social justice issues that are not talked about enough. Elena was born and raised in Mexico City to a Bolivian mother and an American father. Coming to Madison as a multicultural student has given her a different perspective to better understand certain deeply rooted issues. In high school Elena was involved in PHFEM, an organization that helped educate and understand what gender equality meant, and it hosted open forums to discuss past experiences, educate, and create a sense of community. Elena is passionate about improving public policies in terms of race and gender, to create a more inclusive environment that highlights the valuable differences in our society.

Speaking in

Understanding Our Privileges to Become Better Allies Presenters: Undergrads of the Student Leadership Program

Day 1: November 14, 2023 | 1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m., Breakout Option 2

The lecture will begin by discussing various definitions of allyship and privilege and provide the framework of how to be an ally in today’s complicated society. We will focus on situations of allyship as it relates to political issues, religious issues, and educational issues. Attendees will be divided into groups and discuss the implications of what they learned through researching, deliberating, and presenting on a current event that relates to one of the subtopics. After presenting to the larger group their collaborative findings, there will be the ability to have an open discussion to share stories, express ideas, and collaborate to work towards a common goal. The hope is that through learning new concepts and ideas, and listening to one another, attendees will gain a greater understanding of their own privilege and how it relates to society, and how to become a better ally to those who might not benefit from the same privileges that they do. Facilitation will be an option if an open discussion is unable to occur due to lack of participation, or continued silence.

We want participants to leave our workshop with a better understanding of privilege and allyship. We want to connect the ideas of privilege and allyship to real life current events and issues that are prevalent in our lives. After this workshop, participants will be able to act as an active ally to encourage belonging although they may be different. They will become more aware of how everyone is able to stand up for what they believe and work for a common goal while engaging and embracing their differences.