By Debbie Gillum
Instead of staying in bed and watching Netflix, students used their weekend to learn about being scholarly activists alongside students from other midwest universities.
Each year a different Great Lakes College Association (GLCA) school hosts the conference that enables students of color to develop leadership skills, network, build capacity strategically and intellectually and meet their counterparts from other schools. This year, Denison was honored to host the GLCA conference on Nov. 8-9.
The theme for this year’s conference was “Picture This: 21st Century Scholar-Activism.”
The conference hopes to challenge people to utilize their personal background and disciplinary foundations in order to shape the lens through which their societal phenomena can be framed.
“The 2013 Great Lakes Colleges Association Students of Color Leadership Conference will serve as a catalyst to critically think and intellectually explore what it means to be scholar-activists in the 21st century,” according to the conference’s website.
Brittane Maddox, a senior from Chicago, Ill. enjoyed how the annual conference brought so many students together. This is her third conference during her time at Denison,
“Not only do we come together, we get to discuss issues that are impacting us on our respective campuses. This is why I find it so important to attend and participate each year,” she said.
Maddox was “honored to be part of such a unique opportunity for conversation.” She is one of the seven student organizers on the planning committee this year. The other student organizers were Michelle Agunloye ‘14, Anairis Boror ‘16, Rohin Daswani ‘15, Kai Kyles ‘15, Luchen Peng ‘15, and Christopher Schroeder ‘16. Erik Farley ‘03, the Associate Dean of Students and Director of Multi-Cultural Student Affairs at Denison, led the planning committee with the help of Marilyn Andrew, Director for International Student Services, Beth White, the Administrative Assistant for the Offices of Multi-Cultural Student Affairs and International Student Services, and Mark Anthony Arceño, the program Coordinator in the Office of Multi-Cultural Student Affairs.
Maddox said being on the planning committee for her final conference and hosting the conference at Denison was “one of the highlights of [her] senior year.”
Her favorite part of the conference is the sessions because “we get to see the creative spin that students have placed on the theme for the year,” she said.
The sessions allow for intimate conversations between student participants.
The conference began on Friday evening with an opening keynote address by Rev. Dr. John L. Jackson and a talk by Dr. Maulana Karenga about activist scholars. On Saturday, there were sessions all day, and the conference ended with a closing talk by Diane Ariza about social activism.
Denison is one of thirteen colleges that are a part of the GLCA.