In July, St. Cloud State University hosted a group of 22 black youth from the St. Cloud area community for an immersive multi-day team building, experiential learning and recreational trip that included on-campus workshops and a trip to Wisconsin Dells.
The area youth ranged from elementary to high school students who are participants in youth programming from either D-Blake Center, United Way of Central Minnesota or other similar community organizations offering positive learning and recreational activities for area youth.
The event was a community collaboration between SCSU, American Association of University Women (AAUW), D-Blake Center and United Way of Central Minnesota to offer these youth a unique and memorable activity during summer break to boost their sense of pride and well-being while broadening their life experiences.
These community youth began the two-and-a-half-day adventure by taking part in a half-day campus workshop with their parents to discuss a path to college and higher education including available SCSU programming, resources and support promoting student success for our students of color.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Abbey Zink opened the workshop by sharing that Universities are “dream factories” and “it is our responsibility to help students achieve their dreams.” The workshop was facilitated by Mahogany Morrison, Communications and Administrative Manager in the School of Graduate Studies. Workshop presenters included Dr. Shonda Craft, Dean of the College of Health & Wellness Professions, Chocoletta Simpson, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion & Title IX Coordinator, Jarreth Martina, Assistant Director of International Recruitment and Admissions, and Brittney Kwallek, Associate Director of Undergraduate Transfers & Admissions. Each presenter shared their personal trajectory leading to a college education and fielded questions from attendees.
“Many of the parents and high school students attending this workshop had never heard of “Huskies in the High School,” or the Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) programs we offer, which is why these types of events and community engagement are so critical,” said Morrison, who is also President of the St. Cloud Branch of AAUW. “I wanted these students and parents to feel the same Husky energy and excitement exhibited when we bring outside groups to SCSU or conduct similar recruitment activities.
“The only difference with this group is that we are intentionally connecting these special guests with our Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) administrators and staff to create a more visible message that college is accessible to you!”