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UMass hockey can’t take advantage of strong start in 6-1 loss to Boston College -

January 21, 2017

High-powered Eagles soar past UMass -

January 21, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

UMass students inspired at leadership conference

By: Gisel Saillant

Collegian Staff

All photos courtesy of Gisel Saillant

This is my perspective on the 24th Annual Carroll F. S. National Black Student Leadership Development Conference in Washington D.C., which I attended from Jan. 8-11. Aside from a one hour flight in a matchbox of a plane, the trip to D.C. was smooth. When we arrived at the Hyatt Hotel, we were very impressed with the hospitality and our rooms. We spent the afternoon sightseeing at Union Station and Capitol Hill before heading back to dinner at the hotel.

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The next day we had to be in the ballroom by 8 a.m. No breakfast was being served, and it was too late to buy something at Starbucks. So I had to pay $6.50 for a muffin and a banana from the hotel’s breakfast vendor. This was alarming! I tried to hustle another muffin, but the lady was not budging.

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Luckily, the workshops that day made up for my bad breakfast experience. In the Collegian article published Jan. 27, Kimya Hedayat-Zadeh gave great detail on the keynote speakers that presided during the weekend conference. This post focuses on the workshop I attended. This included an array of presentations from “Did I Ever Tell You That You Were My Shero?” to “Beyond Talk: Best Practices for Helping College Men of Color Find Success.”

One of the more outstanding workshops was entitled “Black Thighs, Black Guys, and Bedroom Lies,” after the facilitator, Hasani Pettiford’s book. I honestly remember just following the crowd for this workshop, since I forgot my agenda. Regardless of how I got there, I’m glad I stayed for this intense workshop!

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Mr. Pettiford not only lectured, but created scenarios that helped us understand the tangled web of sexual issues in relationships. His presentation was appropriate for the college students present, because most of the scenarios dealt with social games that happen on college campuses, like “who is the player and who is getting played.” He created an interesting scenario demonstrating how sex isn’t just physical but also mental. He picked a number of people from the audience and created a chain behind one person to demonstrate how the people you have sex with deposit their emotional complexities on to you. If you have sex with several people, regardless of any “friend with benefits” agreement, that person is still emotionally attached to you and you to them.

Another workshop I attended was entitled, “Changing the Leader Within.” It was hosted by Jeff Johnson: BET host, producer and author also known as “Cousin Jeff.”

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I personally took notes that detail strategies that can enhance the relationship between a student leader and the campus community. In this workshop, it was helpful that Johnson infused his personal failures and successes as part of the learning process in becoming a student leader. He mentioned that throughout his life in a leadership position in the NAACP, he felt he was the “Biggest negro since King.” He used this experience to transmit a level of humility that everyone must have, so his or her accomplishments do not become his or her universe. Cousin Jeff mentioned that surrounding yourself with people that are honest about your actions is essential.

“’No one around me held me accountable’… is a formula for insanity,” Johnson said. He broke it down as follows. Having leadership means that you are an example for people, and people can still follow you in your mistakes. This can be attained by admitting you are not perfect, learning to exist in silence and by surrounding yourself with people that can help you change.

Overall the conference was a reflective experience, at least for me, to know that people all around the nation are engaging in discourse about race, privilege, leadership, ethics and religion; as well as how to enhance your campus experience and exploring these complexities.

Gisel Saillant can be reached at gsaillan@student.umass.edu.

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