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DSLC begins at SMC

Emily Dabish | Thursday, March 19, 2009

SMC’s fourth annual Diverse Student’s Leadership Conference (DSLC) kicked off Wednesday to address issues of diversity in poverty, education, and leadership.

Senior Sarah Barnes, Vice President of the Student Diversity Board, helped to explain the important of understanding diversity in today’s world.

“With globalization, the interconnectedness among different ethnicities and cultures will increase in the future,” she said. “There is a need to improve the art of thinking independently together, and the need to work for social justice to become fully human.”

A more complete understanding of diversity is important because “the more perspectives that are brought to bear, the better the preparation for your future,” according to College President Carol Ann Mooney.

Dr. Jeniffer Fluri, faculty member at Dartmouth’s women’s studies department, introduced the topic of “everyday leaders.”

Fluri discussed how important it is to critique world leaders. She said these leaders have to question the conventional wisdom about what groups of people are accepted according to political structures and cultural norms.

“It is important to reevaluate what a leader is not,” Fluri said, “Leadership is not about destructive and abusive power.”

In such a circumstance, she said it is necessary for individuals to summon the courage to accomplish “uncommon acts” to overcome society’s power structures.

Fluri explained that the prefix “un” is typically considered negative.

“Reconsider the un,” she said. “‘Un’ presents an alternative to the status quo, moments that require and inspire new thinking.”

In daily life, both leaders and followers are ready for a change and strive for equality through collective action, Fluri said. She explained that effective leaders are able to articulate the needs of their people, rather than trying to impose goals that are out of touch with social problems.

It is important to remain critical of conventional wisdom and to “reach across the margin of understanding,” Fluri said.

Fluri urged people to rethink the Golden Rule. Rather than “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” she said it is better to “do or not do unto others as they would have you do or not do unto them.”