Equality University gives students inspiration to grow in diverse settings


Texas State and San Marcos community gather in LBJ Student Center ballroom for Equality University conference.
Photo Courtesy of Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion

Ivy Sandoval

Texas State Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion invites the community to attend a day of conversation about diversity. Equality University is an all-day conference held Saturday, Nov. 10, in the LBJ Student Center Ballroom from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The theme for this year’s conference is “Decolonizing Identities,” and is focusing on Latinx and African individuals and how they navigate being in spaces that may be predominately white. The event brings students and the community from different backgrounds together to participate in discussion over social justice aspects and issues. Attendees will get to hear from two keynote speakers and participate in workshops that coincide with the theme.

Dr. Karina Ochoa, keynote speaker, is from Mexico City and an international scholar and professor who focuses on the education of oppression and decolonization.

Dr. Robin DiAngelo, keynote speaker, is an author who’s focus is looking at critical race and social justice around white individuals and white fragility.

The theme, Decolonizing Identities, was brought about by Dr. Sherri Benn, director of the Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion, after attending an international conference held by Ochoa, one of the keynote speakers for this event. Hearing the presentation on decolonization inspired Benn to bring what she learned to the Texas State Community.

Maria Arroyo, finance senior, is especially excited to be able to attend this year’s conference because of her interest in the topic.

“I have heard the past Equality University conferences are amazing because they are eye-opening and you can learn someone else’s perspective on things,” Arroyo said. “I’m excited to attend this year because it’s about decolonization, which I feel is a pretty cool topic.”

After each presentation and speaker, conference attendees will be broken up into workshop groups to go more in-depth on the topic. Not only are the workshops there to guide attendees, but to share experiences and opinions in relation to the topic to gain a different sense of perspective.

Nicole Barrios, member of the directors committee for Equality University, emphasized the importance of students sharing experiences and learning from one another.

“We really hope this event brings people together from the Bobcat community, San Marcos community and beyond to learn,” Barrios said. “To share their experiences with others who may not have been exposed to different people with different backgrounds.”

Robert Garcia, LGBTQIA+ coordinator for student programs, said he believes having events like this are vital in preparing students to be successful in a globally diverse world.

“(We make) sure our students are successful by providing programs for leadership, education and exposure of what happens not just within the United States or Texas State, but around the world,” Garcia said.

Topics like white privilege and underrepresented communities will be discussed by the speakers.

The conference is open to anyone who reserved a place by Nov. 2., whether a part of the Texas State community or not. More information can be found at the Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion website.

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