On October 19-22, 250 students gathered in Bloomington, to learn, network, prepare for their future, and pass the LeadMN platform document. Campus diversity plans were reviewed, 28 workshops were offered, and LeadMN’s shared values were determined. Overall, it was a very successful weekend!

Things kicked off Thursday afternoon with keynote speaker Odell Bizzell. He immediately grabbed the attention of the room and did not let it go until he was finished. Students then moved into a civic dialogue. They had the opportunity to have conversations with people that have different viewpoints without debating or arguing. It was a very beneficial day.

Friday morning, students passed the platform document. The topics were varied, but by the end of the morning students were able to come together and pass the document. [Check out this article featuring Rochester Community and Technical College Student Senate President Sarah Brakebill-Hacke talking about food insecurity on our campuses. Food insecurity is one of the topics that was passed in the platform document this year.]

Saturday, the Textbook Monster, Uncle Sam and #BandTogetherMN came out to tell students more about our campaigns. #BandTogetherMN is a social media and photo initiative that is part of the Equity and Inclusion campaign. #BandTogetherMN focuses on raising awareness about equity, diversity, and inclusion within our campuses. Throughout the conference, over 100 student leaders participated. Read their stories and find out more information. To get involved simply share your #BandTogetherMN photo on Twitter or Instagram.

Saturday afternoon was packed! Students played the Finish Line Game, an interactive board game that examines the barriers that community college students face on their educational journey. Through gameplay and discussion, participants gained insight into the lives of underrepresented students and found similarities in shared values. Students also identified challenges and systemic inequities that hinder success and completion. Furthermore, students were able to name the barriers that exist on their own campuses and brainstormed ideas for solutions. It was an eye-opening afternoon.

Saturday evening interim Minnesota State Chancellor Malhotra spoke during our dinner. Thank you Malhotra for taking time to come and speak with us!

The conference wrapped up on Sunday morning with students discussing which values they believe should be important to LeadMN. It was a very successful four days with a lot being accomplished. For everyone that attended, thank you for your hard work and we will see you at the Fall Regional Meetings!

Check out the conference photos!