Beta Gamma Nu Inc. hosts leadership conference for underprivileged youth

Jorge Espinoza

Members of Beta Gamma Nu Incorporated spent Thursday meeting with underprivileged youth to discuss attending college via a youth leadership conference.

The conference brought 31 students from Global Leadership Academy, a Mapleton School District high school, and a school district that many Beta Gamma Nu Inc. members attended themselves, as a way to give back to the community while simultaneously encouraging youth to attend college.

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Many of the students in attendance come from marginalized and low-income backgrounds, and Beta Gamma Nu Inc. member Joseph Ortega said hosting this event gives students an idea of what college is like, when they may have never had the opportunity to learn about college prior to the event.

“For many of us we wanted to find a way to give back to the community,” Ortega said. “I feel like there are a lot of students who don’t have the opportunity to attend events like this, so it’s our way to give back to our community, and show them what college is like and show that it is possible to achieve higher education.”

They took the students through a variety of different workshops to help students understand what attending college is like and why they should attend college. Students also got the opportunity to tour campus and to talk to college students about their experiences in college.  

Emerson Picchioe, a high school junior, said after attending this conference, he feels more confident in attending college, because this conference gave him a better understanding of what he wants to study after high school.

“One of the main reasons I didn’t want to (go to college) was because I didn’t know what I wanted to study, but talking to them and going to the presentations helped me realize that you don’t have to come here declared,” Picchioe said.

Edwardo Gomez, a member of Beta Gamma Nu Inc. and former student from Mapleton School District, said the event was important because it gave students the idea that college is an option for them.

“I actually came from the Mapleton School District, and growing up in Mapleton we didn’t really have youth leadership conferences like this,” Gomez said. “We didn’t really have opportunities to show us that college was an option, so I feel like having this conference is a way to show students that there is a way to go higher up and there is a possibility to do something great in life.”

While the event was put on specifically by Beta Gamma Nu Inc. other organizations were also in attendance. Raeven Clockston, a member of Delta Xi Nu Inc., attended the conference to with the hopes of also encouraging prospective students to attend college.

“For me personally, I’m super excited to see programs like this happening, and I’m here mostly to show my support and give back to the community in this way,” Clockston said. “I know when I was at this stage in my life I was really interested in having people in college reach out to me and show me that it was an avenue that I could go down and utilize.”

Overall, Gomez said having this conference gave him the opportunity to help students realize their full potential.

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“I just want to inspire kids to think that they can do college and they can do whatever they want,” Gomez said. “I just want these students to realize their full potential and show them that there is a future for them.”

Collegian reporter Jorge Espinoza can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @jorgespinoza14