College's ALANA Conference to promote leadership, diversity

The 21st annual African, Latino, Asian and Native American (ALANA) Student Leadership Conference aims to unite the diverse populations within and beyond SUNY Oswego in a series of multicultural events from Sept. 20 to 22.

“We would like everyone to learn as much as possible, not only about race awareness but also about diversity, pride, ethical values, social interaction and leadership,” said ALANA Executive Director Tafari Powis, a junior public relations major at SUNY Oswego.

The ALANA conference began as a multicultural student leadership gathering and has grown into three days of educational workshops, creative events and inspirational speakers. College students from around New York state and New Jersey have signed up to attend.

The conference will kick off Thursday, Sept. 20, with a student presentation titled “Caribbean Leaders in a Modern-day Perspective,” at 1:30 p.m. in Hewitt Union. At 2:45 p.m. students can learn about how sexual assaults affect the world in another student presentation.

The first day will conclude with a presentation and book signing by keynote speaker Esmeralda Santiago, an award-winning screenwriter and author. Powis said that Santiago’s presentation will be one of the highlights of this year’s conference. Santiago’s speech is set to begin at 8 p.m. in Hewitt Union’s ballroom.

On Friday, Sept. 21, the conference will continue at 10 a.m. in Hewitt Union’s formal lounge with a presentation titled “Saving Ourselves: 25 years of HIV/AIDS Among African-American Women” by Dr. Bonita Hampton, a faculty member in Oswego’s School of Education.

At 4 p.m. students can enjoy different foods at the ALANA alumni dinner in The Forum of Hewitt Union. The speaker for the dinner will be Councilman Albert Vann from Brooklyn. Powis said that students who wish to attend the dinner, which is free of cost, can sign up at the Point in the SUNY Oswego Campus Center.

Friday will conclude with the ALANA fashion show, “Velvet Runway,” at 7 p.m. in Hewitt Union’s ballroom. The fashion show, which has always attracted a large audience, promises to be “a step above the rest,” said Powis. Scenes will include “Soho” and “Body Painting.”

Saturday will also be filled with presentations. At 4 p.m. ALANA will present a multicultural dinner titled “Liberation Through Peace” in Hewitt Union’s ballroom. Again, pre-registration is required to attend the dinner.

The conference will conclude with the second annual step show, “Step It Up,” hosted by international personality Suede from Live from “Da Yard” and Step Correct at 6 p.m. The step show will feature performances from different Greek organizations. Teams will come from New Jersey, Long Island, University of Buffalo, SUNY Cortland and more, said concert coordinator Muneza Ndeze, a junior business administration major at SUNY Oswego. The show will be held in Laker Hall this year to accommodate an expected attendance by about 600 people, Ndeze said.

Tickets to the step show are on sale at $10 for SUNY Oswego students at the Point in the Campus Center. This price will increase to $25 the day of the show.

For more information on the ALANA conference, call 312-5420.

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(Posted: Sep 12, 2007)