Diversity Symposium to provide opportunities for learning

Jenna Landry

The Diversity Symposium will return from Oct. 19 to Oct. 23 to begin dialogues on issues surrounding racial bias and reaffirm Colorado State University’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. 

The 20th annual Diversity Symposium will explore topics from equity mentoring to dismantling whiteness in the workplace to an exploration of Jewish identities at CSU. 

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Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event is 100% virtual via Zoom, as with many other CSU events. The event is free and only available to CSU faculty, staff and students.

The symposium began in 2001 with only being a one-day event and has grown into a weeklong event.

“I think it’s a combination of the high-quality presentations our CSU community has delivered year after year, which builds excitement and recognition for the event, and CSU’s increased commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and our community’s increased awareness of the critical nature of these topics,” Program Coordinator Alicia Sprague said.

There will be 24 live-session events and a variety of other special events. There will be a conversation on the Race, Bias and Equity Initiative with co-chairs Mary Ontiveros, Blanche Hughes and Mary Pedersen.

The Career Center at CSU will also host Diversity Connect, a career event for students. Eight pre-recorded sessions will be available during the week of the symposium for those who cannot attend the times of the live events.

In partnership with the ACT Human Rights Festival and CSU communication studies, the film “We Are the Radical Monarchs” will be available to watch during the week as well.

According to the symposium’s website, there will also be five to 10 TED Talk-like sessions that will be led by staff, faculty and students of CSU. The goal of the sessions is to encourage sharing, engaging and inspiring initiatives at CSU connecting to social justice.

To register and for all things Symposium related, head to diversity.colostate.edu/symposium.

The event includes keynote speakers, the first being Melina Abdullah, an expert on race, gender, class and social movements. Abdullah is part of the initial organizers of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles chapter and currently serves as a chapter member there. The second keynote speaker will be Claudia Rankine. Rankine is a poet and author of many titles, including “Just Us: An American Conversation” and “Citizen: An American Lyric.”

The event is filled with opportunities for growth for faculty, staff and students at CSU, and there are a lot of things to be excited about. For Sprague, it’s the range of topics offered by the presenters.

“It’s amazing to be able to attend one symposium and learn about topics ranging from the school-to-prison pipeline to trans masculinity (to) reproductive health,” Sprague said.

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Jenna Landry can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @yesjennalandry.