Diversity Leadership Conference History
In 2003 FASE (Faculty and Staff for Student Excellence) and Groups student Dallas Easton was determined to bring forth an event that would create a platform from which students could gather together and discuss issues that specifically impacted men of color. That event, starting off as a men's symposium, evolved into the Men of Color Leadership Conference (MWOCLC). The MWOCLC soon developed into a widely known event, attracting student participants from such institutions as Michigan State University, Morgan State University (Baltimore, Maryland), Purdue University (West Lafayette, Indiana), Virginia Tech University, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of Illinois, and of course Indiana University.
As this conference continued to grow, it soon became evident that important issues which impacted women of color were being neglected. In 2008 the first Women of Color Leadership Conference was held at Indiana University Bloomington. Over 125 women from across the Midwest gathered to discuss academic, career, economic, and health related topics important to women. In addition, as with the men's conference, the WOCLC also discussed important topics related to diversity and leadership.
In honor of our nation's first African-American president, the MOCLC and WOCLC committees decided to merge both conferences together to form the Men and Women of Color Leadership Conference. The inaugural event, occurring Fall 2009, attracted upwards to 475 students, faculty, and other community members to participate in this monumental event. The MWOCLC attracted student participants from such institutions as Duquesne University (Pittsburg, Pennsylvania) Eastern Illinois University (Charleston, Illinois), Huston-Tillotson University (Austin, Texas), Ivy Tech Community College (Bloomington, Indiana), and other schools from states such as Georgia, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Ohio.
In 2009 the Hudson and Holland Scholars Program (HHSP) administration decided to implement a student development activity that addressed the essential components of Leadership, Excellence, Academics, and Diversity. Aptly named the "LEAD" conference, this meeting focused upon the needs of its Scholars, promoting values that fostered academic excellence through educational, personal, and professional development opportunities. The LEAD conference consistently attracts approximately 600 - 800 Indiana University students annually.
During Fall 2012 academic year, the members from the MWOCLC and LEAD Conference planning committees decided to meet to combine the Hudson and Holland LEAD Conference and the Men and Women of Color Leadership Conference. This combined format seeks to create an environment with the sole purpose of providing young men and women of color the opportunity to meet and connect with other individuals who have a sincere desire to promote the success of their communities. 2013 marked the inaugural year for this monumental event with the hope that there will be many, many more to come!
The Diversity Leadership Conference is a student leadership event that provides a platform from which to address issues that impact various student communities. The conference exists to promote academic excellence, timely degree completion, coalition building, diversity education, leadership development, and personal empowerment.
- Identify qualities and behaviors that lead towards academic and professional success.
- Construct meaning from ideas and concepts related to diversity and inclusion.
- Provide tools for an action plan to implement strategies or initiatives reflective of the conference theme.
- Offer an opportunity for students to reflect thoughtfully on both their personal values and their academic goals as a means of further self-discovery.
- In order to forge a stake into the larger culture, students of color must become fully engaged in promoting an ideology that advocates on the behalf of underserved and underrepresented communities.
- In order to forge a stake into the larger culture, all citizens regardless of race, sex, gender, age or religion must become actively engaged stewards in promoting the empowerment of marginalized populations.
- In order to forge a stake into the larger culture, the issues that men and women of color face regardless of social or economic status must be addressed and a resolution explored.
- In order to forge a stake into the larger culture, a continuing service must be provided to equip men and women of color with the tools needed to navigate educational, professional and personal challenges. Through the comprehensive support of all citizens, we can impact and change the direction of injustice and inequality contributing to a more inclusive nation.
The 2014 Diversity Leadership Conference theme, "Transform U: Empower Your Vision, Your Voice, Your Future" will allow participants not only to develop a more inclusive understanding of themselves and how they are experiencing higher education but also to provide opportunities for taking meaningful action to effect positive change both at their institution and in their world. In his influential text The University: An Owner’s Manual, Henry Rosovsky contends that various stakeholders, including faculty, administrators and students, can and should claim ownership of their institutions, and this conference will offer sessions to help participants develop that sense of owning their college education more fully. Students attend a college or university for a wide variety of reasons, ranging from gaining a professional credential to developing a broader understanding of themselves and of their environment through a liberal arts education. These reasons are not mutually exclusive; often, students have many motivations for acquiring a college degree, and at its core, higher education is about acquiring the analytical and communication skills needed to learn how to learn over a lifetime. To address this broad spectrum, this conference will include presentations on a wide range of topics, examining our shared and distinct histories, the moral and ethical questions that a university education can raise (and help to answer), and the various programs and initiatives that colleges and universities create to help both individual and groups of students achieve their academic and professional goals. Through these varied sessions, students and other participants will have the chance to expand their understanding of their own collegiate experience as a way of taking ownership of it.