The 2015 Intersect Conference is making its debut this Saturday, and the whole campus community is invited to the full-day event to explore ways to create a healthier, more inclusive campus culture.
The conference, put on by UC Berkeley’s LEAD Center, is open to students, faculty and staff who are interested in examining their own identities — what they bring to the campus as individuals — as well as brainstorming strategies to foster a campus culture where everyone feels respected.
Amber Bundy-Davis, a coordinator at the LEAD Center, was part of the conference’s planning committee. She says that everyone brings a unique set of experiences that help inform how the campus is working to create a better environment for its community, and to identify areas that can be improved.
“People who are participating will be able to think about what they’re bringing to the space and who they are as a person,” says Bundy-Davis. “It’s an opportunity to have a collective dialogue and really build some best practices and strategies from multiple perspectives.”
The conference, in its first year, was created in response to findings from a campus climate survey that explored how comfortable students, faculty and staff felt in learning, living and working environments on the campus.
Bundy-Davis says the conference will address intersectionality, a theory coined by scholar and professor Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989, which suggests that all facets that make up a person’s identity — gender, race, class, ability, sexual orientation, religion — interact with one another on many levels, contributing to systemic injustice and social inequality.
“It’s important for people to come into this space and think about their whole person,” says Bundy-Davis. “To know that you don’t have to be this or that on this campus.”
Facilitators from across the campus will lead workshops and discussions, which Bundy-Davis says will include “a lot of dialogue, storytelling from multiple perspectives, resource-gathering and information-gathering, along with some healing space for people to reflect on the day.”
The suggestions and strategies that come out of the event will be presented to administrators and have the potential to inform new policies on campus. The information will also become part of a toolkit for new students, faculty and staff at Berkeley.
The 2015 Intersect Conference will take place on Saturday, Oct. 10, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Pauley Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union. The event is filling up fast and registration is set to close Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 10 a.m. Those interested in participating can register at the LEAD Center’s website.