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Students of Color Leadership Conference highlights Black History Month programming


A student participates in the Douglass Day transcribe-a-thon. One of the many events held at Alfred State to celebrate Black History month

From Alfred State College,

 ALFRED, NY, Feb. 28, 2024 – The sixth annual Students of Color Leadership Conference highlighted a month of programming at Alfred State College (ASC) celebrating Black History Month. The daylong conference organized by the Cultural Life Center (CLC) featured guest speakers, panels, music, and food.

Interim Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Afua Boahene was pleased with how the day went. “We had amazing speakers, and the day was lively and engaging. We were able to learn but at the same time have a fun time.”

The day started with attendees choosing workshops that touched on topics including Contemplating the Complexity of Identity, Testing Your Comfort Zone with Authentic Connections for Success, Self-Care as a Foundation, and Unlocking the Power of Social Media.

ASC Coordinator of Student Activities Steven Edwards Jr. moderated a panel that included Alfred University Professor of Psychology Dr. Michelle Tichy, Founder and CEO of MA Therapy LLC Amira Martin-Saltsman, ASC Director of EOP Nadine Shardlow, and Director for Graduation Diversity Initiatives at the University of Rochester Dr. Antonio William.

After lunch and a musical performance by Alfred University alum Chaz Bruce. Dr. Marcelle Haddix, Associate Provost for Strategic Initiatives at Syracuse University delivered the keynote address.

“It is nice to have things like this,” commented ASC student Dani Abihzer. “It is an opportunity for everybody to get to know each other and see that we can come together as a community. My biggest takeaway is that it is okay to be yourself. Being yourself is what is going to make you successful.”

“It does not matter what culture you are from because there is a lot of intersectionality between all cultures,” commented Cultural Life Ambassador Mint Woodruff.

“The event was absolutely amazing,” commented Coordinator of BIPOC Scholars Program and College Transition Specialist Dr. Brian Saltsman. “The students were able to interact with all the speakers. As I went from session to session the students were so engaged and wrapped in attention.”

Boahene, Edwards Jr., and Saltsman were joined on the planning committee by Director of Student Engagement Dennis Dueno, Alfred University Chief Diversity Officer and Title IX Coordinator Dr. Angie Taylor, and Residence Director Joshua Benitez.

Riding the excitement the Cultural Life Center hosted the inaugural Black Excellence Ball following the conference. Students enjoyed a night of music, dancing, light refreshments, and fellowship while raising funds to support student organizations Brother to Brother and Sister Circle.

Earlier in the month the CLC hosted Black Love: How We Love Ourselves And One Another. The conversation focused on how those present have seen depictions of Black love, how they have experienced Black love in their lives, the concept, practice, and expression of healthy Black love, and how and why Black love is unique.

Alfred State also took part in the 2024 Douglass Day celebration on Valentine’s Day. Students joined in with others from across the country for this transcribe-a-thon. Participants got the opportunity to transcribe general correspondence of Fredrick Douglass spanning from 1841-1912.

The Douglass Day activities also included the opportunity for participants to learn more about voter registration and featured beautifully decorated and delicious cakes designed by Culinary Arts Baking students that were highlighted in the Douglass Day Bake Off.

These activities, along with others hosted throughout the month of February, focused on facilitating students’ self-awareness, learning, and growth of different cultures, viewpoints, and experiences.

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