Cultural Unity Conference aims to get high school students thinking about college

The University of Nebraska at Kearney Nebraska Cultural Unity Conference focuses on promoting higher education for the diverse, multicultural high school students in Nebraska. In its 13th year, the event has grown to include 21 high schools and more than 400 students.
The University of Nebraska at Kearney Nebraska Cultural Unity Conference focuses on promoting higher education for the diverse, multicultural high school students in Nebraska. In its 13th year, the event has grown to include 21 high schools and more than 400 students.

By SARA GIBONEY                                                  
UNK Communications

KEARNEY – Created by university students for high school students, the Nebraska Cultural Unity Conference aims to inspire and prepare.

The 13th annual University of Nebraska at Kearney Nebraska Cultural Unity Conference will take place Wednesday (April 15) at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney.

Juan Guzman Rotator
Juan Guzman

The conference focuses on promoting higher education for the diverse, multicultural high school students within the state of Nebraska. Twenty-one high schools are attending this year.

“We see the need for informing our future students about the different possibilities for college,” said Juan Guzman, the director of Multi-Cultural Affairs at UNK.

The conference features information about universities, community college, the military and vocational colleges. Presenters at the event included representatives from Central Community College, Joseph’s College of Beauty, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Nebraska National Guard and departments from UNK.

Students will also attend sessions on topics such as sexual health, interracial relationships, self-esteem, scholarships and finances.

“If we get one student who considers higher education, then this conference was worth it,” Guzman said.

This year’s keynote presentation by GTC Dramatic Dialogues is “Strange Like Me,” an interactive program on racism, sexism and homophobia intended to get college students talking about diversity.

High school counselors will also have an opportunity to attend a diversity workshop.

The conference began as a student initiative in 2002.

A group of students were invited to attend the Black Male Empowerment Summit at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The conference featured sessions on academic achievement, student development and more. The group of UNK students, which included Guzman, were inspired by the summit. They thought, however, that the topics could benefit high school students.

Planning began for a Latino summit at UNK, but the idea eventually expanded into a diversity conference.

“The first year we were hoping to get 40 students and we had 80,” Guzman said.

Each year, the conference has grown. Last year, the conference moved off campus to the Younes Conference Center to accommodate the nearly 400 high school students who attended.

UNK students still plan the conference each year. “It’s hands on leadership training,” Guzman said.

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Source: Juan Guzman, 308.865.8127, guzmanj@unk.edu
Writer: Sara Giboney, 308.865.8529, giboneys2@unk.edu

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