UNI Travels to the 15thAnnaul White Privilege Conference

By Brianna Fisher, UNI-NCBI Member

The White Privilege Conference is a national conference that examines challenging concepts of privilege and oppression and offers solutions and team building strategies to work toward a more equitable world. WPC invites diverse perspectives to provide a comprehensive look at issues of privilege including: race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, disability, etc. — the ways we all experience some form of privilege, and how we're all affected by that privilege. A group of 61 people from UNI attended the WPC this March. Our group was comprised of students, faculty and staff from a wide range of areas across the UNI campus. This year's conference had over 2,400 attendees from all across the United States and it was held in Madison, WI.

The WPC provides a challenging, collaborative and comprehensive experience, including keynote addresses by leading academics and activists, a large and stimulating array of interactive workshops, caucuses groups, cultural events, and a film series (whiteprivilegeconference.com). As noted post-conference, UNI attendees expressed their satisfaction and growth from their experience at the WPC.

"Everyone has some privilege; everyone can use that privilege to benefit others who need it."
"I really appreciated that there was more than just black/white experiences represented. The presenters acknowledged the intersectionality of everything; sexuality, ethnicity, socio/economic class, religion etc."
"I learned that I am not alone in my doubts, thoughts and feelings."
"Traveling with the large group was exciting and motivating. I felt like I was a part of something larger than myself. I felt like change is possible at UNI."

The project at UNI was initiated by Dr. Harry Brod, a UNI-NCBI member, who served as a conference planner for the WPC. The University of Northern Iowa was a non-profit co-sponsor for the conference through the Executive Vice President and Provost's office, which provided publicity for UNI as well as registration discounts for participants. All of the funders from UNI include the College of Education, the Department of Social Work, Students against a Violent Environment, National Coalition Building Institute, Center for Multicultural Education, Diversity Matters, and the Northern Iowa Student Government.

UNI attendees returning from the conference felt a great deal of drive and enthusiasm to share all that they had learned with the UNI campus.

"I have much more confidence now in my ability to become an activist on this campus."
"I believe the UNI community will benefit from my having attended the conference because I now have the skills to start a privilege conversation on UNI's campus with individuals who may not even recognize their own privilege at this institution."
"The WPC really made me realize how I can better advocate for diversity on the UNI campus. Now I will take the things I learned and share the knowledge I gained with everyone in the community."

The overall experience proved to be very informative and useful for all who attended.