commitment to creating ‘environment of inclusion’ both on and off campus
Building Bridges was recently honored as the recipient of the Minnesota College Professional Association’s Voice of Inclusion award. Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Multicultural Programs, Virgil Jones, and Associate Professor in Psychological Science, Marie Walker, received the award on behalf of the organization on Oct. 18 at the conference of the Minnesota College Professionals Association.
The annual conference focuses on contemporary issues in which basic human rights are being threatened by social institutions. The 2012 conference, Unresolved Conflict: Remember Our Forgotten History, for which the award was given, focused on the impact colonization of America had on American Indians both in the past and still today.
The Voice of Inclusion Award recognizes initiatives that create exemplary environments of inclusion for students, employees, and organizations. Walker expressed that Building Bridges was very deserving of the honor.
“The students choose relevant and meaningful topics each year and they are doing amazing work that impacts beyond St. Peter,” Walker said.
Building Bridges Co-chairs Junior Becca Eastwood and Senior Jasmine Porter were impressed by the recognition. A representative from Augsburg College, who attended the conference last year, nominated Building Bridges for the award. Building Bridges, and consequently Gustavus, was chosen as the recipient from all of the private colleges within Minnesota.
“In the past Building Bridges has been given awards by Gustavus, but it was never this big a deal,” Eastwood said.
This year’s conference is titled “Sentenced for Life: Confronting the Calamity of Mass Incarceration.” The conference is set to take place Saturday, Mar. 9 2013. The 2013 conference will feature author and political activist Dr. Angela Davis and current professor of English Education at Teachers College, Columbia University Dr. Marc Lamont Hill. Walker expressed particular excitement for this year’s keynote speakers.
“I’m looking forward to it. Angela Davis and Marc Lamont Hill will be great. Every year [the conference] reaches out to more and more people,” Walker said.
Eastwood and Porter are eagerly anticipating this year’s conference.
“I am ecstatic. I feel honored to be part of such a distinct group,” Porter said.
“[This award] sets the bar high for this year,” Eastwood said.
Building Bridges holds meetings every Wednesday at 9 p.m. in the Board. The meetings are open to the public and everyone with an interest in participating in the 2013 Building Bridges conference is welcome.