The Center for Diversity and Intercultural Affairs is hosting their 13 annual two-day event, the student-led Diversity and Leadership Conference on Feb. 10 and 11 at the Lowman Student Center Ballroom to address various leadership issues through keynote speakers, workshops, and interactive events.
SHSU students, staff, and faculty can register up until the day of the conference. Monday was the cut off date for the free entery fee, now people in the campus community will have to pay a 20-dollar entry fee. Non-SHSU members can register for the event and will pay a 40-dollar entry fee.
Attendees can check in on Feb. 10 at 5 p.m., the festivities will commence at 6 p.m. in the LSC ballroom, and finish at 10 p.m.
Micheal Sam, the first openly gay professional athlete, will kick off the evening with a keynote speech called “Hitchcock High to the NFL” about struggling with his identity while making his way to the NFL.
Then attendees are welcome to participate in various activities such as a walk-through exhibition before showing the movie “Loving” (featuring a Supreme Court case about interracial marriage) in the LSC theater. The evening will end with music, food, and open games in the KAT club from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The second day of the conference, Feb. 11, will begin at 8:30 a.m. with free professional headshots and breakfast. James Robilatta will speak on how cultural awareness and acceptance enhances leadership skills.
After a multitude of workshops and lunch, Zohra Sarwari’s keynote will close the event at 4:30 p.m. Sarwari’s keynote is called “No, I’m Not a Terrorist” and will address the stigma surrounding Muslims.
Coordinator of the Center for Diversity and Intercultural Affairs Jordan Chang said what makes this conference unique is how much effort comes from eight students in the diversity council to make sure this conference is perfectly tailored to stay on message.
This year, the conference is trying a new tactic called “tracks” to keep the event more organized and relevant than ever. The four tracks are social justice and activism, identity and personal development, leadership and development, and the graduate student advisement track.
“All workshop presenters fall under of these categories so it is way more accessible for participants to figure out what they want,” Chang said. “If they come to this conference with a goal in mind, they can pick workshops based off the tracks. We have workshops that touch on every one of these tracks, ranging from ‘LGBT and You’ led by our own Gamma Sigma Kappa gay straight alliance org, to ‘Healing Racism’, ‘Overcoming Bias’, ‘Current State of Secular Bias’, and more for a wide, interesting variety.”
To implement fun and healthy competition, there will be a Sam Houston organization competition, or S.O.C.
“Students in campus organizations can register and the grand prize is 300 dollars for the first org, 200 dollars for the second org, and 100 dollars for the third,” Chang said. “They would need at least five individual members from the org to register for the conference under the org. It entails receiving points for attending the workshops and keynotes, and there’s extra credit in case of a tie.”
Chang hopes this conference will help educate people and broaden their horizons.
“We are living in an ever-growing and rapidly changing world,” Chang said. “Cross cultural communication is important because it reflects what society is. It’s everyone’s stories, ideas, and opinions. Diversity encompasses so much, so cross-cultural competence is important to have and understand, and it can’t take place without effective communication.”
To register for the event, visit the online form located at http://www.shsu.edu/dept/student-activities/multicultural-student-service/dlc/index.html, or one can pick a physical copy of the registration paperwork up at LSC 324A.
Chang asks that participants come with an open mind, a positive attitude, and appropriate attire.
“On Friday, we encourage representing school spirit such as the color orange or org. shirts,” Chang said. “On Saturday, we ask everyone to look business professional.”
Any further questions or concerns can be directed to Jordan Chang at LSC 324A, or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.