This Weekend: UNC Charlotte's Multicultural Leadership Conference

I know the state of North Carolina is in this week's headlines for other undesirable reasons, but I wanted to let you know about a conference I'll be attending this weekend, the 10th Annual Multicultural Leadership Conference hosted by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC).

This regional conference draws half of its attendees from UNCC and the other half from other schools in the area (In fact, I remember seeing fliers for this conference when I was a student in Chapel Hill!).  UNCC's Center for Leadership Development and Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) jointly organize the conference and this year anticipates 200 student leaders (including "non-traditional students") and their advisors for a day of training in the areas of leadership, diversity and ethics.

Speakers selected for the conference reflect this year's theme: L.E.A.P. Into Your Community (Learn Empower Act Produce) -- individuals who found a way to address an issue in their community and made a difference.  The overall conference goal is for students to learn about being an effective college leader, how to carry those leadership skills over into "the real world" after they graduate, and to equip students with tools to do so.  I'll be giving an afternoon talk about interracial relationships, framed largely by some of the topics I've written about and the site's mantra, "challenge the assumptions."

Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking with Ted Lewis, Assistant Director for Sexual/Gender Diversity at the MRC who conveyed that "the students are super excited about your talk and feel that it's an important topic that needs to be discussed."  After going over some more basic, pedestrian, logistics for the weekend, Ted added: "So, yeah, everything is fair game, except -- steer away from asking for money."

Of course I busted out laughing over the phone.

"What?" I replied. "Asking money from the students?!"  Ted then proceeded to tell a "well-see-what-had-happened-was" story about a prior event where a speaker encouraged students to donate money to a specific charity.  "It wasn't necessarily a bad thing, but that wasn't what the program was about."

So feel free to leave any thoughts or ideas (or even questions) in the comments section.  And if you are a student attending the conference, please leave a note!  I look forward to connecting with you this Saturday, and you can rest assured that I'll leave my collection plate at home.

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