By AMANDA SPADARO
Allegheny’s IDEA office will host the Great Lakes College Association’s Students of Color Leadership Conference this weekend, as part of its collection of diversity initiatives.
Chief Diversity Officer Lawrence Potter organized the conference along with the GLCA, an organization comprised of 12 other regional colleges including Denison University, Kenyon College and the College of Wooster.
“Hosting the GLCA SOCLC is one way the Office of IDEA, along with several other campus partners, can demonstrate our commitment to diversity because it combines the academic mission with the co-curricular development of students outside the classroom,” said Potter.
The conference’s 2011 theme, “New Decade, New Challenges: Access, Justice, Leadership, and Sustainability,” will feature panel discussions lead by several Allegheny faculty, including Professor of Environmental Science T.J. Eatmon and Associate Director for Gender and Sexual Orientation Initiatives Steven Canals.
Eatmon’s presentation, titled “A Biochemistry Crisis in the Environmental Studies and Science Classroom” will focus on the lack of students of color that graduate with degrees in environmental science.
“This idea of biodiversity is drawing an analogy to the lack of diversity in the classroom,” said Eatmon. “It’s an indicator of the health of our field as we’re educating the leaders, particularly with the biodiversity crisis and a lack of species. It’s basically the same idea in the classroom or in a social situation.”
Canals will present “From Tolerance to Acceptance: Becoming an Ally to the LGBT Community.” By raising awareness and providing skills and resources to the community for potential allies, Canals hopes to involve more people in the conversation regarding homophobia and heterosexism in a community, specifically the college-based community.
Ben Ho, ’14, a volunteer for the conference, noted its significance with regard to student networking and the expansion of diversity at Allegheny.
“I feel like we’re making this huge push for a more diverse campus, and I think that it would really do well to show the students on campus that we care about diversity, that we care about getting involved with other schools, that we care to push these initiatives.”