With a record number of more than 250 participants, the Intersect Diversity & Leadership Conference commenced Friday, Nov. 4. The first day began with a fun bingo ice breaker designed to bring people from all different backgrounds together. At the end of this game, winners and losers alike left with gift cards and Intersect t-shirts.

The opening ceremony ended with a challenge from the Center for Race, Ethnicity and Diversity Education Intersect Student Director Charleen Martins Lopes to, “fully engage in each session you attend and understand what it means to live a day in your shoes, and what it means to live a day in someone else's.” 

In 2012, Elon University’s Center for Leadership and CREDE took two independent conferences and collaboratively created a new learning opportunity for students.  These two conferences merged to create Intersect — a literal intersection of diversity and leadership. 

A small committee of eight students and nine staff members were able to bring together 13 different universities for the sixth annual conference. Schools such as North Carolina A&T University, Ferris State University, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Wake Forest University, Loyola University Maryland, Warren Wilson College, East Carolina University and William Peace University are only a few of the schools in attendance on both Friday and Saturday, participating in this conference.

Senior Steven Armendariz, who is participating for the first time, is excited to see what this conference has to offer. 

“Diversity is so important because it is such a new concept — one that has been developing since my first year here at Elon," Armendariz said. "I’ve become very passionate about the concept of diversity and have taken various leadership roles and been a part of different organizations during my time here at Elon in order to help improve and increase awareness of diversity.” 

The starting day events were split into two different sessions. The presentations that took place during the first session from 5 p.m. to 5:50 p.m. were Understanding and Teaching about Implicit Bias, On the Whiteness of White Rappers, Beyond Tolerance: How Can We Learn the Language of Multi-faith Understanding?, Am I a Feminist or a Womanist? Why Knowing the Difference Makes the Difference, Everyone Needs a Place to be Real: The Importance of Authenticity on a College Campus, A Day in the Life of Women in Leadership and Brain Storms: Finding the Calm in Mental Illness. 

The second session which took place from 6 p.m. to 6:50 p.m. had presentations called Talking About Race in the Classroom: A Discussion for Faculty & Staff, Why Don’t They Look Like Me? Diverse Representation on TV, "The Rose that Grew from Concrete": Celebrating the Resilience of Identity, #yougoodman, The Secret Weapon: A Guide to using Media as a Catalyst for Social Change, The African-American Experience: A First Generation’s Take on Race in America and Rac(e/ism) in America: Have We REALLY Made Progress? 

Marcio Carillo from NC State University was drawn to the Intersect Conference. "I want to learn more about myself and others," Carillo said. "I am hoping to get a better understanding of social diversity, leadership and race and Intersect brings that together.”

The events from today will continue Saturday with more inspiring presentations. Intersect invites all interested Elon students to come out and register Saturday for the second day in the Moseley Student Center from 8:30 a.m. to 9:20 a.m. 

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