Diversity and leadership conference takes place Feb. 22-23
Participants in the program will discuss the relationship between leadership, diversity and social justice.
By Caitlin O’Donnell ’13
Elon University will host this week its annual INTERSECT: Diversity and Leadership Conference, a two-day event coordinated by The Center for Leadership and The Multicultural Center.
Faculty, staff, students and other attendees will engage in dialogue, reflection and training through workshops and keynote speeches exploring the relationship between leadership, diversity and social justice.
Featured presenters this year include Christina Lovelace, a spoken word artist and motivational speaker; Silvia Cristina Bettez, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; and activist Zach Wahls. In February 2011, Wahls became an overnight Internet celebrity after testifying before the Iowa House of Representatives about growing up with two moms and his support for same-sex marriage.
Participants will also attend sessions revolving around issues of immigration, non-verbal communication and strengthening an organization’s identity led by Elon students, faculty and staff.
Seniors Lizzy Appleby, Jessica Elizondo and Will Brummett will guide a discussion about participating in civic engagement in the community. Rebecca Bishopric, Elon’s coordinator for violence prevention and response, will lead a session about identity-based discrimination and violence and instruct participants in how to safely intervene in situations of harassment on campus.
The conference was founded from two previously independent organizations, an earlier version of the Diversity Leadership Conference, launched in 2009, and the Leadership Development Institute, created in 1997. Previous keynote speakers include activist and BET personality Jeff Johnson and anti-racism author Tim Wise.
A committee of eight students coordinated this year’s conference. The theme of the event reflects Elon Commitment strategic plan's call for an unprecedented commitment to diversity and global engagement.