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Texas State hosting 16th African American Leadership Conference

By Meagan Singletary
University News Service
August 1, 2008

Texas State University-San Marcos will host the 16th annual African American Leadership Conference Sept. 11-14. The theme of this year’s conference is Educate to Elevate: Our Civic Responsibility.

The event will take place in the LBJ Student Center and is open to the general public. Individuals wishing to participate must register first. Admission is $30 for Texas State students, $15 for high school students and $50 for the general public. Admission covers meals, a T-shirt and bag, step show ticket and unlimited access to all workshops. The registration deadline is Sept. 5, but registration on site is available.

The purpose of this annual event is for incoming and returning students and other participants to be prepared for academic success by networking and learning.

“Students get to network. They get to see other people who look like them and find out what it’s like to be on Texas State campus,” said Beverly Woodson Day, who has been the conference’s advisor for 14 years. “They get to see other students being leaders and meet faculty and staff.”

The African American Leadership Conference first started in 1992 when students at Texas State set out to revive and encourage leadership. These students attended a conference at another university and thought they should bring some of the things they learned home. Since that very first conference the African American Leadership Conference has been run primarily by students seeking to increase the success they have in school as well as their leadership capabilities.

“It’s a student run conference and I think that’s why it’s been so successful,” said Day.

The agenda this year will include: a barbeque to kick things off, a theatrical play called “Contributions,” gospel fest with host Surnetra Earnest, a step show, workshops and will culminate in a Sunday church service. Keynote speakers for this event will be civil rights leader Joseph Lowery on Friday and Texas State alumnus Blake Wilson on Saturday.

One of the most important things about this conference is that is serves as a means to retain students on campus.

“I think this is a big retention tool because if a student can become involved on campus, then more than likely they’re going to stay. It welcomes students in and gives them a since of belonging,” said Day.

This year’s sponsors include Exxon Mobile, Enterprise, Campus Activities, Multi-cultural Student Affairs, Black Student Alliance, Common Experience, University Seminar, Coalition of Black Faculty and Staff, Academic Affairs and Access and Equity.

“If students really want to see what Texas State is all about they need to come. Thirty dollars is nothing compared to what they’ll get,” said Day. “They’ll get a vast, wealth of knowledge and at the same time get a chance to meet people that they may not have had the chance to meet.”

Those interested in registering for the conference can do so online at MSA.txstate.edu.