By: Sierra Taylor, Managing Editor
The Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Outreach will host the twelfth annual Cultural Connections Leadership Conference on Oct. 23 and 24, beginning at 8 a.m. each morning in Hubbard Hall. Students who register online for the conference pay only $10. TWU faculty and staff will pay $15 while non-TWU partakers will pay $30. Registration the day of will cost $20 for students, $25 for faculty and staff and $50 for non-TWU participants. The cost includes breakfast, lunch and dinner for Saturday and breakfast on Sunday.
CCLC is an event that brings people of diverse background and cultures together in a professional and fun environment. Assistant Director of Intercultural Services and CCLC Advisor, Michelle Prudhomme-Coleman stated that the goal for the 2015 conference was to touch on different aspects of diversity and educating people. They want their guests to walk away from the conference having learned something new or experienced something they have never experienced before.
Prudhomme-Coleman stated: “We hold the conference on the Denton Campus as our flagship campus, but we do expand to the Dallas and Houston campuses as well.”
The Student Life Office on the Dallas campus is also making travel arrangements for a certain number of people who would like to attend the conference in person. The conference is simulcast to the Houston and Dallas campus for those who are unable to attend the event in Denton. Representatives from the conference will be present to give prizes and products away so that everyone gets a similar experience.
Senior Elementary Education major Desiree Miller, who is one of eight students that sits on the CCLC planning committee, said: “The theme is ‘breaking the mold.’ We want people to step outside of their shell and break the normal. We want people to really embrace who they are and not be afraid to be themselves and not be afraid of the repercussions. It’s a time for people to appreciate gender awareness and cultural awareness.”
Prudhomme-Coleman added: “The students are really benefitting in a great way. It’s not so much about what they get from the conference, as far as the promotional items, but it’s about the experience they get as well.”
Senior Kinesiology major and committee member Stephanie Chan shared that since attending the conference her freshman year, her experience at the CCLC has been life-changing. According to Chan, she was able to network better and meet more people through the conference.
Chan shared: “We want to break the mold of leadership. You don’t have to be born into leadership. It’s not something you are born with; it’s something you want to do for yourself. You want to improve and grow as a person and share your experiences. That’s what breaking the mold is about.”
The conference will include workshops, discussions and keynote speakers Jullien Gordon and Jessica Pettit.
Miller stated that the reasons they chose Gordon are that he appeals to the younger generation and that he is unafraid to approach any subject. Prudhomme-Coleman added that Gordon is a motivational speaker with his own twist.
According to Prudhomme-Coleman, Pettit calls herself a diversity educator instead of a diversity trainer. She is someone who addresses many aspects of diversity as well. She believes using the word “trainer” has kind of destroyed the way people think about diversity and educating.
Miller shared: “Her talks are very entertaining and interactive. You are not just going to be sitting there – it’s very energetic.”
Chan said that she feels that everyone should attend due to the diversity of the conference. Miller added: “At any age you can learn what you should and not do in society. This is a great insight to learn about diversity, technology, and leadership. You never stop learning and CCLC is the perfect platform for you to come and learn and grow.”