Diversity conference aims to educate

By Sara Vargas

The inaugural Diversity Collaborative Conference was held by the Multicultural Council Friday and explored intersectionality as it relates to identity, inclusion and student success.

Intersectionality is defined as the coming together of multiple identities that include race, class and gender.

According to Brianna Serrano, the coordinator of the Pride Center, the focus of the conference was to educate people about the different identities present on campus.

“Trainings for most programs are about two hours long, so this conference is a way to give students, faculty and staff a concise version of what is learned during the trainings,” said Serrano.

In collaboration with Serrano and President of the Multicultural Council Matthew Rodney, the one-day conference included speakers from various ally programs on campus as well as an intersectional student panel and small group discussion where attendees were able to express their thoughts regarding key issues in the community.

As Cal Poly Pomona’s mission statement references a “changing multicultural world,” the conference highlighted diversity and inclusion within the campus community.

The conference offered a safe space for the CPP community to learn about available resources and how they can contribute.

“I hope this continues to bring awareness and understanding of all identities,” said Serrano.

The first part of the event consisted of presentations by the Veteran’s Resource Center, Undocumented Student Services, the Pride Center, Ability Ally and Safe Zone Ally.

Each of the presenters educated attendees about the problems students face and tips on how to help.

Tips ranged from motivating people to ask for help, to respecting others and encouraging attendees to look for ways to show their support.

“Today is a learning day, an experimental day,” said Rodney.

Students who came out for the event were interested in learning more about the different programs on campus and about how to spread awareness.

“I’m here to learn about the programs and reiterate the information to my peers and see what I can do to help,” said Eli Dowens, a fourth-year political science student.

“I want to keep an open mind about the key issues presented today,” said Jose Correa, a third-year computer engineering student. “I want to learn how I can help continue this type of dialogue on campus,” Correa added.

The second part of the conference was interaction-based and consisted of student discussions and small group sharing.

The phrase, “step up and speak up,” was encouraged as attendees gathered together and shared their experiences.

“This experience is a step in the right direction,” said Nereida Meza, a first-year electrical engineering student. “I enjoyed hearing from everyone because it was educational and helpful.”

Next year, the council hopes to expand the conference and see it grow.

“We hope that this first annual event will start a new program on campus and join different constituent groups into a collaborative, which can address the multiple identities people may hold,” said Rodney.

For more information about how to get involved, visit the Office of Student Life and Cultural Centers located in Building 26, room 124.

The conference was designed to educate people about the different identities present on campus.

Eviana Vergara, The Poly Post

The conference was designed to educate people about the different identities present on campus.

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