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Pierce College students have the opportunity to attend the Students of Color Conference to gain leadership, understanding of diversity and personal growth on April 11-13 in Yakima.
Students from 34 community and technical colleges and a few universities attend the conference each year.
Although the conference is free, students must apply to attend.
Applications are available in room C210 and are due by 5 p.m. on Feb. 28 in room C210.
The number of students selected to attend is limited. Applicants selected are those who show commitment to full participation, openness to new experiences and will be a good representative of the college.
Some of the highlights from last year’s conference included keynote speakers Dr. Jeff Duncan-Andrade and Dr. Gaye Teresa Johnson, and workshops with caucuses that allow people to connect with other they identify with racially and ethnically. Some new groups being introduced include disabled; lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender; and international.
Although the conference is titled students of color, all students welcomed to attend.
“It’s for all students,” said Jennifer Cooke, retention and transition success manager at Fort Steilacoom, “not just students of color.”
The conference revolves around five major themes: identity development, awareness of others, social justice and social activism, skills development and personal development.
The students have a chance to learn more about other cultures and about finding acceptance within themselves. One of the main stipulations is that no one will be judged and people can be open in the discussions.
Diversity Coordinator Arsenio Lopez III, who attended the conference last year, gained new perspective.
“It reinforced my perspective of individualism,” Lopez said. “It gave me a better grasp of human beings.”
College staff members who attended the conference also saw changes in students.
“It’s encouraging to see the development of students,” said Student Programs coordinator Sonja Morgan. “I also get inspiration from them and a better connection with them as well. It creates a better sense of community they can bring back to campus.”
Students are encouraged to give the conference a chance and be open to learning from others.
“It was an amazing experience,” Lopez said. “It’s an opportunity I don’t want people to miss. People get to be engaged about diversity, self identity and how to apply it to the real world.”
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