Nov. 3, 2005
Six Morningside College students and a staff member attended the 7th Annual Strengthening and Valuing Latino/a Communities Conference and Latino/a Leadership Awards held Oct. 28-29, at the Hotel Fort Des Moines in Des Moines, Iowa. (left, "Maize: Gift from America's First Peoples" by Pedro Rafael Gonzales Chavajay)
The conference’s mission was to explore the changing demographics and dynamics of the Iowa Latino community; address the responsiveness of educators, policy makers, institutions, communities, businesses, and organizations; and provide access to and networking opportunities for Latino/a leaders and community members.
Students attending the conference included Virgilio Aguirre Jr. of Willmar, Minn., Diana Garcia of Sioux City, Vanessa and Cynthia Gascon of Columbus, Neb., Rebeca Hernandez of Sioux City, and Rafael Monasterio of Grand Island, Neb. Also participating in the conference was Sandi O’Brien, director of Diversity Affairs at Morningside.
In addition to attending a variety of workshops, the group attended a brunch with special guest speaker Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack and volunteered to chaperone more than 180 Latino/a youth from Iowa at the Latino Youth Leadership Summit, held in conjunction with the conference.
O’Brien and four Morningside College students also participated in the 18th Annual Career, College and Leadership Conference held Oct. 11, at the Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Sioux City. The conference was hosted by the Sioux City Community School District’s Department of Educational Equity.
Students Garcia, Vanessa and Cynthia Gascon, and Brenda Alvarado of Donna, Tex., facilitated the breakout session “Overcoming Barriers to Higher Education for Students of Color.” The conference also included a keynote speech by Dr. Bruce King, vice president for academic affairs and diversity at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion as well as various workshops related to college and career planning.
The Morningside students are all members of Crossed by Colors, a campus student organization dedicated to empowering minority students and increasing campus and community awareness of multicultural issues.