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Conference highlights Black History Month

For a little more than a decade, a diverse group of students, faculty, staff and those traveling from all over Ohio have come together in celebration of Black History Month.

The 15th annual Black Issues Conference will take place Saturday Feb. 1 in 101 Olscamp all day.

Sheila Brown, associate director in the Office of Multicultural Affairs, is the conference chair this year.

“Last year was actually my first time coordinating the conference,” Brown said. “Before that, we would traditionally have graduate students who would coordinate the event.”

In previous years, the format of the conference has been consistent with sessions, a panel and a speaker.

Junior Alexis Saulter, Conference Undergraduate Student Coordinator, said her favorite part of the conference last year was the National Pan-Hellenic Council panel.

“They had a lot of advice on college life,” Saulter said. “Because they were older, I feel like the advice was really well received.”

The Pan-Hellenic Council won’t be present at the 2014 conference, and instead there will be an additional speaker.

“This year, we really wanted to do something special as far as changing the format of the conference just a little bit, which we did,” Brown said.

Two keynote speakers will speak at the 2014 conference. Ohio State Senator Nina Turner will speak during the luncheon and Paul James, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Duke University, will be the closing speaker.

“I am very excited to hear Nina Turner speak,” Brown said, “She’s such a dynamic speaker, I think the students would really receive her message warmly.”

A brochure will also be given out during the conference, which hasn’t been done in previous years.

“We decided to make something that would commemorate all of the past conferences, as well as highlight some of the things that our multicultural students are doing this year,” Brown said.

Students were also able to register for the Student Organization Fair that will also be part of the conference this year. The fair will consist of 10 multicultural student organizations that will have tables at the conference showcasing the ins and outs of their organization.

“We have some really good sessions this year,” Brown said. “They’re really student centered, covering a lot of student-based topics.”

A faculty or staff member, a student organization and a student will be honored during the event as well.

Freshman Krista Bowley has never been to the conference and thinks that it would be an interesting event.

“It definitely sounds like something that I would want to go to,” Bowley said.” I live off campus so attending that kind of event would help me get more involved.”

There will also be a mixer on Friday, Jan. 31 from 8:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. The mixer will include food, catered by a local caterer, a live band and a cash bar.

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