SDSU holds 6th Annual Multicultural Conference

Photo by Sarah Smith, Staff Photographer

Photo by Sarah Smith, Staff Photographer

by Jessica Santos

The Center for Intercultural Relations held its 6th Annual Multicultural Conference to share the importance of human diversity with the San Diego State community and highlight its entwinement with all aspects of education.

The conference, entitled “The Road to Cultural Competency: Sustaining our Communities” was held Saturday in the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union.

Center for Intercultural Relations Director Tanis Starck spearheaded the conference six years ago.

“My vision was to host a student-led integrative diversity conference that would provide a rewarding opportunity for our students to engage in important dialogue surrounding the intersections of race, class, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and identity,” Starck said.

Before the conference, the Center hosted a “Pre-Conference” which included a “Reproductive and Sexual Justice Healing Circle and Workshop” in partnership with SDSU’s Department of Women’s Studies, a movie screening of “Bully” and a Cultural Night presented by C.U.R.E. AFRICA.

The conference began with a one-man show titled “From Possession to President” from Devin T. Robinson X “Egypt.” The performance showcased the black community’s progression and struggle through the years. Afterward, attendees participated in numerous workshops exploring topics ranging from classism, racial misconceptions and stereotypes to intercultural communication.

The Center for Intercultural Relations collaborated with other campus partners to provide the conference at no cost to attendees in order to make the experience open to everyone, whereas participants were required to pay a fee in the past. SDSU faculty and community members also attended.

Robinson previously came to the conference as a workshop leader. He said he came to SDSU to inspire others to believe they can achieve things and to teach people to love their culture.

“Doing something because the teacher told you to do is called ‘acting;’ you can graduate and not be passionate about anything you learned,” Robinson said. “The level of passion and compassion these students had for the information they were disclosing was very addictive.”

A newer component to the conference included students of the Cultural Competency Certificate Program leading the majority of workshops to demonstrate their competency through extensive research and preparation for the presentations. The students involved in this year’s CCCP will be the fifth graduating class and the second class to present at the conference. The goal of the CCCP is for students to increase their cultural competency to “better access new and emerging markets,” according to its website.

Psychology senior Michelle Ong presented a workshop at the conference as a student of the program. She said she participated in CCCP to compliment her position of Associated Students Student Diversity Commissioner.

“We wanted our takeaway message to be that misconceptions and stereotypes about Asian-Americans can negatively affect the daily lives of this group,” Ong said. “We hope to make our audience be aware of their views of Asian-Americans and become an advocate to stop these stereotypes.”

Civil engineering and psychology senior and Sigma Lambda Beta President Miguel Arciniega encouraged his fraternity brothers to attend the conference after his enlightening experience as a volunteer and participant in the conference last year.

“I came here last year by myself. Being here this year with my fraternity brothers and seeing how they’re being impacted by the workshops and by the people they’re meeting is really great,” Arciniega said. “That’s what I got last year and I wanted to share it with them.”

Photo by Sarah Smith, Staff Photographer

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