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Conference to explore diversity

The 20th Annual Latino Issues Conference will be taking place Wednesday in the Union.

Ray Plaza, associate director of Multicultural Affairs is this year’s conference chair.

“The conference is designed to bring faculty, students, staff and community members together to discuss issues impacting the Latino community,” Plaza said. “It’s a combination of education, awareness and interaction.”

The goal of the conference is to cover issues all across the spectrum of diversity.

“The Latino Student Union’s slogan is ‘Not Latino, Not a Problem,’” Plaza said. “This conference is not only for Latinos, it’s open to everyone.”

The conference will be addressing issues that impact not only Latino communities, but other communities as well.

An estimated 300 people attended the conference last year. Plaza hopes to have the same amount or more attend this year.

“We hope to have numbers equivalent to last year,” Plaza said, “but preferably more.”

The theme for this year’s conference is “Embracing our Past and Creating our Present.” It is also presented in both English and Spanish.

Junior Sarah Ghose has never attended the conference, but would like to go because it represents part of her culture.

“It definitely sounds like something I’d want to go to,” Ghose said. “I’m 90 percent Puerto Rican so it’s definitely something I’d be interested in.”

Other students, such as sophomore Lana Adams, who do not have that same connection in culture, but still think it would be an interesting event.

“It sounds cool,” Adams said. “I would probably go to something like that.”

The conference is free, excluding the luncheon and Gala. The luncheon is $15 and will be taking place at noon. The Gala, which will involve dinner and dancing, will be from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Both will be in the Union Ballroom.

Poet Richard Blanco will be speaking at the event, as well as to different English classes throughout the week. There will also be educational sessions throughout the day on the third floor of the Union.

Plaza described the conference as an opportunity for anyone who wants to learn a little more or experience Latino poets and Latino culture.

There will be vendors and different campus and community organizations represented at the event.

The conference will be in the Union from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. It will start off in the Multipurpose Room and disperse into other areas of the Union throughout the day.

Plaza wants students to attend as much of the conference as possible.

“Our hope is that they’ll be able to attend different aspects of the conference and gain something from the experience,” Plaza said.

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