In April, all of campus is busy with projects and events, but especially in the realm of public affairs and cultural competence. This year, Student Government Association (SGA) is hosting a Voicing Our Issues Concerning Equality (VOICE Retreat) April 12-14. This is the weekend between the Public Affairs Conference and the Collaborative Diversity Conference.
The VOICE Retreat is an event created to help expose students to diverse learning opportunities that will help them, to not just become open-minded, but to go above and beyond, teaching them to be advocates for social change.
SGA had worked on the concept of the program for about five years before it finally occurred. In spring 2011, SGA hosted the first VOICE Retreat, facilitated by Dr. Leslie Anderson, Interim Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion; Wes Pratt, Equal Opportunity Officer/Director of Equity & Compliance; and two graduate students. This year, the event is happening again, but it is completely student-lead.
Over a three-day period, students will have the opportunity to participate in lectures, watch films, and engage in group and reflective activities. Within this welcoming and intimate environment, students will gain a greater understanding of diversity through meaningful interaction. Throughout the lessons on backgrounds, privilege, and cultural history, students will gain leadership skills by learning how to communicate effectively and learning what they can do to prevent discrimination.
This year’s VOICE Retreat will be in the Plaster Student Union from 4-8 p.m. Friday, 4/12; noon-6 p.m. Saturday, 4/13; and noon-4 p.m. Sunday, 4/14. Graduate students may apply to be facilitators, and any undergraduate student may participate. Registration forms can be found in the Student Government Association Office PSU 123 or online (https://www.dropbox.com/s/3goeq8gdvk7ls61/VOICE_Application.docx?m) Applications are due on Monday, April 1 at 11:59 p.m.
Written by Christina Adams, Student Government Association Director of Diversity and Inclusion