On November 5, Rhode Island Campus Compact and Connecticut Campus Compact jointly hosted the 2016 Student Leadership Conference: Linking Identity, Community, and Social Change in collaboration with their member campuses and strategic community partners. The one-day conference, hosted at Connecticut State University, sought to create a dedicated space and platform for students who are committed to community service, civic engagement, and social justice and change. The conference brought together nearly 200 students from 29 organizations, which included 17 CTCC Member campuses, 5 out of state campuses, and 9 community partner organizations, for a successful day of workshops, speakers, networking, and reflection.
The 2016 Student Leadership Conference theme of We the Students: Linking Identity, Community and Social Change was designed to provide a framework where students examine their motivations for civic engagement social justice and service, enhance their understanding of social issues, and increase their capacity and skills to positively impact their campus and community.
We were fortunate to feature Kamora Le’Ella Herrington, Director of Youth Programming at True Colors, Inc., as our keynote speaker. Herrington has over 20 years of experience in the human services field and has become a vocal advocate for LGBT youth. Herrington spoke about her own upbringing and the struggles she faced growing up and being confused about her own identity. Born to a white mother and an African-American father at a time when it was barely legal she shared her “entire life has been proving who I am is OK and is going to be OK.” Her personal narrative pushed participants to recognize their own privilege and actively work to address injustice in their communities. Powerful statements included “you have to be activated to be an activist” and “change starts with you.” Kamora’s message resonated with those in attendance and inspired participants to engage.
We would like to offer special thanks to everyone who worked so hard on and devoted so much time and effort to make the SLC Conference such a great experience for our students and future leaders! This event was made possible through the financial support of member institutions and local organizations. Through their contributions, we were able to offer this conference free of charge.