Power and Diversity Leadership conference meets objective

BY ELLEN ROSSOW
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This weekend a group of students from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion took a break from their everyday routine to share a weekend of workshops and keynote speakers designed to help them grow, not only as individuals, but as citizens of the world as well.

Filling St. Cloud State University with over 500 students and faculty from MnSCU schools and other universities in the region, The Power in Diversity Leadership Conference, celebrated its fifth year this January, with the theme “Today’s vision: Tomorrow’s reality.”

According to the conference’s website, the purpose of the conference is to “offer opportunities for personal growth and leadership development to college students of color and underrepresented students.”

According to Tyler McCarty, early childhood education junior, the conference was successful in meeting those goals.

Although McCarty is a Caucasian female and doesn’t necessarily consider herself an “underrepresented student,” she still found value in learning about the hardships others have faced; saying one of the most inspirational parts of the conference was the keynote speakers.

The conference definitely did not lack in that area. Featuring speakers such as Laverne Cox, a male to female transgender actress from “Orange is the New Black,” and Consuelo Castillo Kickbush, a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, the conference offered inspiration from and for all types of people.

McCarty has worked for and had great involvement in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion since Fall 2012 and is thankful for the opportunity to make the trip to St. Cloud, as she hasn’t been able to do anything like this before.

“It was inspiring to hear all the keynote speakers talk about what they went through and the hardships they faced, yet they still achieved their goals and dreams,” McCarty said. “It gives me hope.”

McCarthy is excited to be able to use what she learned at the conference in her future endeavors as a student and eventually as a teacher.

“By working hard and staying positive, I can do the same thing (as the speakers) as well as educate others on how they can do the same,” she said.

Not only did the conference offer speakers of wide variety, but students also had the opportunity to attend a number of workshops, a job and internship fair, and various social events including a variety show.

“The variety show was fun to watch,” McCarty said. “Our very own Mic Jordan preformed, and I personally find him very talented. It was great watching all these people from different schools with different cultures preform a talent that was unique to them.”

According to the conference’s website, the workshops were designed to enlighten students about subjects in four categories: charting the future, financial literacy, navigating college and activism and community engagement. Those in attendance could choose workshops that captured their interest.

The conference was also great for networking with fellow students and faculty with similar interests. While it was fun packed, it was also a very serious event.

“It was very professional,” McCarty said.

According to McCarty, it was easy to make new friends in the environment.

“There were two girls I spent most of the time with,” she said.

Coming back to MSUM with not only new friends, but also new insight to share with her fellow Dragons, McCarty is ready to make a difference on campus, in the future and in her daily life.

“I loved the conference,” she said. “It reminded me that I have the power to make a difference in the world.”

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