Eleven students will attend the 25th National Conference on LGBT Equality held in Atlanta from Jan. 23 to Jan. 27, courtesy of a student opportunity fund that supports personal, professional and educational development.
The fund, administered through the dean of students office, was established to allow students to take advantage of and participate in academic and co-curricular experiences, without a concern for funding.
In this case, the experience is expected to be “transformational,” according to Kim Ketterer, interim director of the university’s LGBTQIA services.
“This has been incredible for many other Lehigh students who have taken part in previous years, and it’s a great opportunity to meet students, educators, and others within this community from all over the country,” Ketterer said. “The students who attended before just rave about their experience. They come back better leaders, they are more informed about the issues, and they really end up enriching the campus culture.”
The Creating Change Conference is the country’s premiere annual organizing and skills-building event for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and their allies, according to the group’s website (http://www.creatingchange.org/
Organized by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the conference attracts more than 3,500 people. Participants come from all walks of life and include members of the business community, elected officials, students, faith leaders, and staff and volunteers of non-profit organizations.
The five-day program will feature more than 350 workshops and training sessions, four plenary sessions, and numerous networking opportunities.
“What’s really great for students here at Lehigh is that some schools can only send one or two students because of fees and travel expenses, and our student opportunity fund really expands our potential to be involved,” Ketterer says. “We’re very fortunate to have this resource.”
The conference trip is one of several programs sponsored by LGBTQIA Services this academic year. Other programs include outreach efforts to the Greek community through the Greek Allies Program, the showing of the ”Trans” documentary, a discussion of LGBTQIA families, Safe Zone Trainings, and Spectrum’s Drag Show. More information can be found at www.lehigh.edu/lgbtqia/
The office is also organizing a regional intercollegiate conference, to be held at Lehigh on Feb. 16, that will seek to increase community solidarity and interaction among schools in the Lehigh Valley and beyond, Ketterer says.
For information on the conference and registration, visit http://www.lehigh.edu/lgbtqia/lvlic.html
. To follow the students’ experiences at the 2013 Creating Change Conference, visit www.lehigh.edu/lgbtqia for updates, blog posts and videos.