Summit’s success encouraging, participants say

Tim Paluch

Issues such as racism, sexism and homophobia were discussed during the first annual Multicultural Leadership Summit last weekend.The “Don’t Sleep Through the Revolution” seminar emphasized inclusiveness to more than 65 ISU students, faculty, staff and administrators gathered in the commons of Maple Hall from 5 to 8 Friday night, the first day of the summit. Participants introduced themselves and went into cluster groups, where they developed a list of triumphs for diversity on the ISU campus and a list of challenges that need to be addressed.Saturday’s events took place at St. John’s by the Campus Episcopal Church, 2338 Lincoln Way, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.Guest facilitator Jamie Washington, assistant vice president for Student Affairs at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, led an interactive, hands-on discussion forum with the summit members.Washington told participants they can make Iowa State more open to diversity and change.”You are all in the right place at the right time, and I feel very strongly that there is hope for change,” he said. “Real possibilities come from this experience.”Creating change, Washington said, begins with a revolution within the community. The goal of the summit, he said, was “to help support the revolution through the creation of an environment where revolutionary ways of thinking and being can be developed and supported.”Washington said it was important for people to find their role in the revolution, so they can “begin to move things forward and finally make change happen.”Jeremy Hayes, president of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Ally Alliance and a facilitator for the summit, said Washington’s energy took him by surprise.”He was so fabulous,” said Hayes, junior in management information systems. “I had heard very little about him, and he was absolutely amazing. He really knows how to get people involved.”Leticia Romo, student member of the summit planning team, also said the event will have a positive impact on making the ISU campus more inclusive and open to change.”Finally, it’s that stepping stone that we are making,” said Romo, sophomore in pre-business. “I think we can change the campus; maybe not the whole Iowa State campus, but, little by little, we’ll be getting there, and that’s the main focus, that’s the main purpose.”Shaun Hamilton, junior in sociology and a summit participant, said the environment made it easy to be open.”People are actually becoming open and giving their honest viewpoints,” he said. “Everybody wasn’t trying to hide anything; everybody took their masks off.”The event also exceeded the expectations of Vernon Wall, a coordinator of the summit and assistant dean of students. Wall said he was confident the participants would really work to make a change on campus.”I’m sensing that folks were in a heightened sense of awareness, he said. “A lot of people came in wondering what this was all going to be about. But I felt some good energy that people would get something done.”