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College holds second DSLC

Mandi Stirone | Monday, March 5, 2007

More than 200 people participated in workshops at Saint Mary’s this weekend on topics ranging from the Ku Klux Klan to HIV/AIDS, white privilege and diversity in the media as part of the College’s three-day Diverse Students’ Leadership Conference (DSLC).”My personal goals for the conference were exceeded,” said Kim Hodges, Saint Mary’s student body president-elect, Student Diversity Board vice president and conference chair.Since the conference – which is designed to show participants the challenges within and benefits of diverse academic, social and professional settings – began a year ago, Hodges said the number of workshops, as well as the quality, has increased.Hodges said participants came from Saint Mary’s, Holy Cross, Notre Dame and Indiana University South Bend, as well as two local high school groups from Young Life and the Charles Martin Youth Center. Saint Mary’s alumnae both participated in and attended the conference. A portion of prospective students also came to check it out, Hodges said.The Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership brought several guests to campus, including Ann Bettendorf Freeman, Class of 1988, who gave the talk “Lehman Brothers: Women in the Work Force.”Though there were about 22 activities offered, ranging from lectures to workshops to meet and greets, many people only showed up to see Peggy McIntosh’s keynote address Saturday about white supremacy. Nearly 300 people packed the Carroll Auditorium for McIntosh’s lecture, Hodges said. The reaction to McIntosh’s speech was mixed, with students both enjoying and disliking how she presented her message. The conference was partially funded by Lehman Brothers and Walgreen’s, who doubled their contributions from last year, Hodges said. To obtain funding, Hodges even went to Chicago in February to meet with Freeman to discuss the conference. Next year, the conference will be run by junior Adriana Lopez, who will take over for Hodges as chair of DSLC and vice president of SDB.”I definitely love the variety of topics that they have, when we say diversity a lot of people think of race and ethnicity but it’s a lot more than that,” Lopez said of this year’s conference. For next year, however, she wants to add a few ideas of her own. “I also think that outside from that we can also bring women from our [South Bend] community because I think that that would personalize it,” she said.