A range of distinguished speakers, panels, networking opportunities and popular walk will mark this year’s ALANA (African, Latino, Asian and Native American) Student Leadership Conference from Sept. 28 to Oct. 1.

This year’s theme for the student-organized conference is “Planting Seeds for Tomorrow's Leaders.” It dovetails with the university’s Founders Weekend to create additional opportunities for current students to network with and meet talented SUNY Oswego alumni.

Keynote speaker Curtis Hill will discuss diversity, equity and inclusion as well as leadership at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28, in the Sheldon Hall ballroom in collaboration with the I Am Oz Diversity Speaker Series. The event, like the others during the ALANA Conference, is free -- but for Hill's talk, tickets are required via tickets.oswego.edu.

Hill once was one of Chicago’s most recognizable and notorious gang members until he witnessed the murder of his best friend. This led him to realize that if he wanted to survive, he would have to change his life around. 

He has since become an educator/administrator, earning two higher education degrees and dedicating himself to inspiring and elevating others. In presentations to schools, Hill passionately uses storytelling, engagement and humor to help students create a culture of belonging in school, work and life.

Friday, Sept. 29, will feature a networking reception for current and aspiring student leaders with the SUNY Oswego Alumni Board and Foundation Board, running from approximately 5 to 7 p.m. in the Marano Campus Center’s Chu Atrium.

Activities on Saturday, Sept. 30, will run from 1 to 4:30 p.m. and a luncheon with alumni speaker Justin Brantley, '15 and M'16, followed by five breakout sessions and then an alumni panel. The luncheon with Brantley – now an associate with the Pine Groves Partners firm – will take place in the Deborah F. Stanley Arena and Convocation Hall. 

The breakout sessions around Marano Campus Center, presented by successful SUNY Oswego alumni, will include "Branding/Org Image: Who are you? How do you use your purpose to communicate your brand and recruit new members?"; “Working Through and Managing Conflict in your Organization"; "Building a Sense of Team between Officers and General Members"; "Being Inclusive in your Organization"; and  "Creating Organizational Goals and Action Plans." The closing panel with these alumni will take place in the Marano Campus Center auditorium.

Sunday, Oct. 1 will feature the popular ALANA Peace Walk from Oswego’s City Hall to campus. The walk promoting unity and understanding will begin around 11 a.m., with transportation to City Hall available at 10:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. from the Marano Campus Center bus loop.

Also on Sunday, 2018 SUNY Oswego graduate Magic Washington, a senior talent acquisition associate for Lattice, will present a closing keynote in the Marano Campus Center auditorium. A closing reception will follow.

Student involvement

A large and skilled student ALANA Planning Committee coordinates this annual event. It includes representatives of the Asian Student Association, African Student Organization, Black Student Union, Caribbean Student Association, Latino Student Union and Student Association, as well as additional student and cultural organizations.

“The ALANA Multicultural Leadership Conference is all about empowering students with the skills, knowledge and mindset needed to become effective leaders, inclusive community members and culturally aware individuals who are well-prepared for their future careers and roles as alumni,” said Matthews Frank, who was previously involved in planning as African American Male Empowerment Network president as well as vice president, and with the Latino Student Union, and was happy to take on a larger role this year.

“So from the conference, you can definitely learn about leadership skills, cultural awareness and diversity appreciation, networking and relationship building, personal growth, community impact and, of course, a sense of belonging,” Frank added.

Frank wanted to get more involved because the event “offers students a modern experience that combines personal growth, skill development, cultural awareness and networking opportunities.”

I got involved with this event because multicultural conferences attract attendees from diverse backgrounds and professions for networking, learning, cultural exchange, career development, promoting inclusivity, research and academic purposes, personal growth, community engagement, business opportunities and global citizenship,” said committee member and current African Student Organization president Chelsea Obeng, who is originally from Ghana in West Africa but more recently from the Bronx.

Obeng appreciates the event’s goal of “fostering a more inclusive and equitable global community,” and hopes “attendees get to take away the benefits as well as enjoy all that this event has to offer.

I wanted to network with alumni who were in ALANA when they were in college and get their perspective on both a personal and professional level. Maybe see how life is like after college as well,” said organizer Jian Carter. “I expect attendees to network just as I am but also have a better understanding of what makes ALANA and what our unity encompasses.”

For more information and an updated schedule, visit the ALANA Leadership Conference page in Laker Life.