NSU Hosts Timely Multicultural Event

Northeastern State University is hosting the third-annual Restoring Our Community Kinship (ROCK) Student Leadership Conference November 1 - 3, 2001 in Tahlequah. ROCK symbolizes the commonality of the human experience and the recognition that shared experiences between diverse populations can create a solid foundation for student success. The ROCK Student Leadership Conference is a partnered program that addresses the retention of diverse student populations.

Representatives from two Oklahoma universities and a private college in Texas collaborated in the creation of ROCK. The conference offers innovative training and support to campus leaders from varied racial and ethnic backgrounds that can be translated among all student populations within their respective universities or colleges and surrounding communities. The conference consists of workshops, speakers, student forums, and innovative training for student participants. ROCK provides student leaders and student scholars with the opportunity to address multi-cultural issues through dialogue and collaboration.

Attendees are a mixture of students of color, international students, student government, and Greek leadership, and students with an interest in diversity issues along with multicultural affairs directors, student affairs officers, housing and support services staff and faculty members.

"ROCK participants will meet to discuss different approaches an innovative ideas concerning diversity issues," said Jan Smith Clayton, assistant to the Dean of Student Affairs at NSU and conference advisor. "We hope that everyone will be able to take many ideas and solutions back to their own campuses. This is a very timely conference as everyone in the United States has begun to explore diversity."

Representatives are participating in three days of multicultural workshops led by Ms. Wilma Mankiller, former principal chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma; Mr. Robert N. Page, Jr., the founder of the Black Greek Leadership Conference, the Symposium for the Recruitment and Retention of Students of Color, and the Minority & Friends Network at the Oshkosh Placement Exchange; Dr. Harold Aldridge, emeritus professor of psychology from Northeastern State University; and Dr. Li Gaoqiang, visiting professor from the Water Conservancy Special School in Zhengshou city located in North Central China.

Approximately 75 participants from Tulsa University, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Bacone College, Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Cameron University, Austin University in Sherman, Texas, and Northeastern State University joined the ROCK leadership conference.

The conference will conclude with awards given to participants in the categories of academic achievement, community service, student leadership, all-around ROCK, outstanding faculty, and outstanding professional.

The ROCK Council is made up of student representatives from each of the participating institutions. Representatives are generally selected at the conclusion of each annual conference. These students work with their respective campus sponsors and the council to plan and implement the ROCK conference. This is accomplished through meetings, web interaction, and committee assignments. Membership on the ROCK Council is not exclusive to the founding schools. Any college or university wishing to become officially involved with the planning council should send a letter of interest to the institution hosting the upcoming conference.

For more information, please contact Ms. Jan Smith-Clayton at the NSU Office for Student Affairs at (918) 456-5511, ext. 2120.  

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