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Student leaders promote diversity conference

Caitlin Housley | Monday, March 28, 2011

This Tuesday marks the start of Saint Mary’s three-day Student Diversity Board’s Diverse Student Leadership Conference (DSLC).

“By attending the Diverse Student Leadership Conference events, students as well as other community members will have the opportunity to gain knowledge and awareness of various aspects of diversity,” Kelly Reidenbach, chairperson of DSLC, said. “Furthermore, they will be able to take the knowledge and skills gained from participation and apply them to aspects of daily life.”

The week begins with opening keynote speaker Dr. Inge Auerbacher, a Holocaust survivor. Her speech, “Beyond the Yellow Star,” will be presented in the Stapleton Lounge at 7 p.m.

According to Danae Jimenez, DSLC co-chair, the DSLC board has been working on planning this conference since the summer of 2010. Both she and Reidenbach are very excited about the event.

“I am extremely excited for this year’s conference,” Reidenbach said. “I have had the help of a great group of Saint Mary’s students who put in a tremendous amount of time and hard work in order to insure that this conference will be the best it can possibly be.”

On Wednesday, a variety of workshop sessions will begin at 9 a.m.

To kickoff Wednesday’s events, assistant professor of political science and women’s studies Sonalini Kaur Sapra will discuss a topic titled “Gender and Environmental Justice: Local and Global Perspectives” in Earley conference room F of the Student Center.

The speech begins at 9 a.m., followed by the “Hue-man Being Project” by Betty Hoeffner, co-founder and president of Hey U.G.L.Y (Unique, Gifted, Lovable You), Inc. The next session, which begins at 10:45 a.m. will discuss the issues of gender in baseball, sexual orientation and race, and will feature such speakers as John Kovach, member of the advisory board and coach of Baseball For All, as well as representatives from the SMC Straight and Gay Alliance.

An Alumnae Panel will follow at 12:15 p.m. in Vander Vennet Theater.

Thursday’s session begins at 9 a.m. in Earley conference room D of the Student Center with the speech “Cultures of Parenting: Class Dynamics and the Family” by Mary Ann Kanieski, assistant professor of sociology.

The Conference concludes with keynote speaker Eric Alva, a Retired Staff Sergeant of the U.S. Marine Corps and a Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender and Questioning (LBGTQ) activist. His speech, “Ending ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,'” will take place at noon in Little Theater. This is the only event that requires a ticket for admittance.

Reidenbach says students will be visiting from as far away as California to attend the events.

The conference is free and open to everyone, and invitations have been sent to surrounding high schools.