Diversity conference to combat stereotype

Roberto Hodge, Multicultural Editor

EIUnity will be hosting its seventh annual Diversity Conference at 8:30 a.m. Friday on the third floor of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

James B. Griffin, the diversity conference coordinator, said this year’s theme for the conference is “Hear No Stereotypes. See No Oppression. Speak No Disrespect.” He said the conference will give students an opportunity to learn about groups that are different from their own through more than 15 workshops and topics.

Three Safezone trainings by the LGBTQA Advisory Committee and a free luncheon for Eastern students faculty/staff and administration would be just a few of the sessions at the conference.

Griffin said the conference planning begins as early as October, which is comprised of a group of student leaders from across campus who have the passion and commitment to diversity and can help with the planning and implementation of the conference.

“I try to reach out to every group registered through the student life office on campus to send a representative to sit on the planning committee,” Griffin said. “We have to decide on many factors such as selecting a title, deciding on marketing and advertising strategies, sending out call for proposals, selecting speakers, creating fun interactive activities for participants.”

He said the goal of the conference is to have those participating leave with an understanding on a subject they had no prior knowledge about before attending, which is why he wants everyone to come with an open mind.

“We are a diverse campus and students interact with individuals of many different races, cultures, ethnicities, orientations and this conference gives them the opportunity to learn about these differences and dispel any stereotypes or prejudices they may have,” Griffin said.

Griffin said they try to get as many diverse groups of students to sit in on the planning for the conference as possible so they can have the most unbiased workshops and games.

“We try to work with other diversity groups on campus such as the Diversity Advisory Council, Latin American Student Organization, LGBTQA Advisory Committee, University Board and Student Government,” Griffin said.

Griffin said the conference is free to attend with three or four workshops happening every hour. Participants must register online prior to coming to the event on the Minority Affairs Office website.

Roberto Hodge can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].