By Strawberry Strawpole, S&M Editor
“Leadership and diversity are two of the most integral, important, vital, fundamental, and indispensable keys to fostering an inclusive and respectful campus environment,” said Molly Loquace, the keynote speaker of the annual Leadership, Diversity, and Global Outreach conference. The conference was held on March 31 in the Dillards Building and featured a diverse array of presentations from some of the leading experts in leadership, diversity, and global outreach. “Without leadership, we wouldn’t have anyone to speak to the multifaceted economic struggles that our diverse student body is faced with every day. And that would be a shame,” Loquace continued.
Loquace then introduced Randall P. Sprachgefuhl, who talked about his dynamic approach to collaborative problem solving in an interconnected world. He said, “What I encourage you all to do is to facilitate significant dialogue amongst your peers. We need to start having discussions.” The room then erupted into deafening applause, which lasted several minutes.
Sprachgefuhl continued, “That’s right. We need to demonstrate the value of our standards of excellence and success in a meaningful way. SLUM has a wide range of exceptional interdisciplinary measures that could empower our knowledge and enhance our neighbors’ understanding. But that’s not enough. No. It’s not always enough to simply highlight impactful partnerships and spotlight equality. Sometimes we need to go beyond voicing our concerns and really attempt to impact the community and the world at large.” Upon hearing Sprachgefuhl’s moving call to action, several women in the front row of the conference broke down into ecstatic weeping.
Sprachgefuhl went on to outline his 28 nationally recognized steps to cultivating an outstanding future of excellence and inclusive scholarship in the humanities: “Step one is all about getting out and getting involved. You can’t impact society without embracing significant, charitable actions to preserve cultural heritage. That includes partnerships with STEM-powered industries and teamwork led initiatives. Step two is all about assessing the pros and cons of outreach-based reform. We want to increase cooperation and enable progress through transformation, right? So why don’t we create a civic movement to expand future interdisciplinary efforts? I mean, duh!”
Steps 3 through 28 were cut short due to what Sprachgefuhl termed the “unfortunate limitations of PowerPoint,” but he informed the audience that the steps involved both innovative networking techniques and management of professional resources in order to accelerate growth, all while emphasizing a focus on the prevalence of injustice surrounding minorities and lessening the effects of cross-cultural disadvantages.
Next at the podium was The Reverend Dr. Professor Linda Voce Ph.D., M.D., Esq., M.A., RD, RN, RDN., Ed.S., PhysS, S.S.P., Sp.A., S.C.C.T., S.L.I.S., D.Ed. Voce opened by asking the audience, “What do we as diverse global leaders strive to achieve? What is it that compels us to host these conferences year after year? What are we really trying to say?” Unexpectedly, the questions were not meant to be rhetorical, and event organizers began to pass out microphones to all the attendees so that they could respond. The auditorium echoed with earnest answers to Voce’s questions: “Well, I guess it’s mostly that we want to inspire insightful campus discussion regarding good quality engagement!” one man exclaimed. Surrounding attendees patted the man on the back; everyone else clapped enthusiastically. Another man offered, “As the future of diverse leadership and global outreach, we have a responsibility to recognize the unique challenges that our neighbors face and to adopt the necessary perspectives,” to which one woman toward the middle of the crowd yelled in emphatic agreement, “YES, YES, OH MY GOD YES!” and began writhing on the floor and shrieking in an unknown language that many attendees said sounded like it might be Hungarian.
For more information about leadership, diversity, and opportunities for global involvement on the SLUM campus, visit: www.slum.edu/Leadership%20Programs/Leadership%20Diversity%20Institute%20.html