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Students organize national summit to unite black college leaders

February 29, 2016
students pose for photo on library steps

Delvin Moody ’18 has a dream: What if he could get the top black student leaders from colleges across the nation in one spot, with one agenda?

That dream comes true this weekend.

The 2016 Joint Collegiate Black Student Summit, a national forum to discuss and develop solutions to problems facing the black community, runs March 4-6 across the University campus.

Event organizers say about 100 students have registered with attendees coming from the University of Rochester, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, University of Connecticut, Ithaca College, Cornell, SUNY Albany, SUNY Buffalo, Syracuse University, and Columbia University.

Speakers include University president Joel Seligman, City of Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, and former Ebony magazine editor-in-chief Mitzi Miller, who will give the keynote address.

The cost to attend the three-day event is $35 for University students and $40 for others. Registration is still open and available at

The summit’s mission is to further establish an intercollegiate network of young black leaders who are passionate about social justice, collegiate accountability toward black students, and unity among the black community.

“I came up with the idea after seeing an isolation of the minority community among the university and community,” Moody said. “I felt that this isolation was due – in part – by the ‘bubble’ that is a university campus and differences in culture.

“It appeared to me that if University of Rochester students felt this way, it had to be the same for other campuses.”

Moody then set about creating an intercollegiate network of minority students.

“This summit will begin that agenda,” Moody said, “and I’m convinced we will form that network.”

The JCBSS executive committee was created within the University’s Black Students’ Union and is comprised of leaders from various clubs and organizations.

“I am excitedly expecting the arrival of the student delegates to this first Joint Collegiate Black Student Summit,” said Lydia Crews, assistant director of Wilson Commons Student Activities and faculty adviser for the weekend event. “The University of Rochester will be the place where issues related to the black experience are discussed and attendees are inspired and empowered to critically think about their role as agents of change. It is my sincere hope that every student leader comes away from the summit enlightened, invigorated, and emboldened to reimagine their future.”

The summit’s main events are on Saturday. President Seligman and Dean of the College Richard Feldman are scheduled to speak at the opening ceremony in Wilson Commons.

Two empowerment sessions will be held simultaneously. “Social Engineering” will be led by Sossena C. Wood, former national chair for The National Society of Black Engineers. “Social Climate” will be led by Valeria Sinclair-Chapman, associate professor and director of the center for research on diversity and inclusion at Purdue University.

The “State of the Black Student” is a panel discussion beginning at 11:40 at Hoyt Auditorium, with an introduction from Mayor Warren. The purpose of this discussion is to learn the “hot” topic items that affect black students through education, civil justice and the role of young black America.

Panel moderators are Charlisa Goodlet, president of the University’s Douglass Leadership House and Rickey Harvey, Jr., president of the Black Students Caucus at Colgate Rochester Divinity School.

Panelists include Crystal Winters, educator at Rochester prep schools; Olivia Taylor Johnson, NAACP president at Syracuse University; Terrell Smith, president of the student government association at Lincoln University; and Wade Norwood, chief strategy officer at Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency.

Miller’s keynote address, “Beyond All Limits,” will be presented in Strong Auditorium and is the one event during the summit that is free and open to the public. The address begins at 3:30 p.m. Miller is a best-selling author and head of a TV production company.

Evening events include a Night of Black Royalty Gala at the Douglass Dining Center and a Black Royalty after party registered summit attendees and their invited guests in the May Room.

For a complete schedule of events and speakers, and for more information, visit the summit’s webpage at or write to or

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Category: Student Life

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