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regional student social justice leadership summit


CO-LEADS name title, spealling out COlorado Leadership for Equity, Advocacy and Discovering Social Justice
COLEADS program compass artwork


Watch For Details on 2016! 

at the Auraria Higher Education Campus, downtown Denver

what | theme | keynote presenters | schedule | workshops | location | registration | volunteer | past | questions

What is CO-LEADS?

This annual leadership summit brings together college students from across Colorado to join in discussions of social justice, activism, advocacy, and social change. Students participate in a day of interactive workshops, speaker and networking sessions that challenge, grow, inspire and empower them to make change in their own lives and their communities.

CO-LEADS was established in 2009 by a group of individuals on the Auraria and DU campuses as a way to build intercampus connections and to bridge discussions of leadership and social justice in a meaningful way. The Summit is co-sponsored by the Community College of Denver, the Iliff School of Theology, Metropolitan State University of Denver, the University of Colorado Denver, and the University of Denver.

Theme & Goals

This year, we explored: From Tweets to the Streets: Intersections of Mass Media, Social Media and Social Justice.

Our keynote and workshops engaged self-awareness, social systems, personal skills and collaborative action through this lens, toward specific outcomes:

By actively participating in CO-LEADS, students will:

  • Explore their role in systems of privilege and oppression in our society; specifically Mass Media, Social Media, and Social Justice
  • Connect with students from their own and other area campuses, creating a larger network for collaboration and change making
  • Engage a wide range of opportunities available to make positive change in our society

Specifically, every participant will:

  1. Deepen their understanding of their own and others’ identities, and of the intersections of these experiences
  2. Consider at least one way in which social media positively and/or negatively impacts in/equity in our society
  3. Leave each session, and the day overall, with action commitments for positive change on their campus and in their community

Keynote Presenters

We're excited to have Dr Hillary Potter , Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, to engage us in thinking critically about our intersections and impacts this year! News story on her

Dr Potter holds a BA and a PhD in sociology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and an MA in criminal justice from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Dr Potter's research focuses on the critical analysis of the intersections of race, gender, and class as they relate to crime and violence. She is currently researching men's use of violence; intimate partner abuse against women of Color; and antiviolence activism in Black and Latin@ communities, with field research in Ferguson, Baltimore, and Denver. Dr Potter is the author of Intersectionality and Criminology: Disrupting and Revolutionizing Studies of Crime (Routledge Press, 2015) and Battle Cries: Black Women and Intimate Partner Abuse (New York University Press, 2008), and the editor of Racing the Storm: Racial Implications and Lessons Learned from Hurricane Katrina (Lexington Books, 2007). Dr Potter also serves as a Board Member of Project Safeguard, which aids victims of domestic violence with the legal process throughout the Denver-metro area, and as a Commissioner with the Denver Civil Service Commission, which is responsible for administering the testing process for entry-level and promotional positions within the Denver Fire and Police Departments, policy administration, and hearing disciplinary appeals of classified members.


The schedule includes a common workshop for all participants, and two breakout workshops by peers, colleagues and community members. Visit our Proposals page to submit a workshop for consideration.


To be announced in 2016.


CO-LEADS takes place on the Auraria Higher Education Campus in downtown Denver. The campus is served by multiple bus (nearest routes 1, 8, 15, 16, 20, 30L, 36L) and light rail lines (nearest station = Colfax at Auraria). Hourly/daily rate visitor parking is also available.

We will begin and end in the Tivoli Turnhalle (900 Auraria Parkway, Denver 80204), and hold workshop sessions in the classroom building next door. All facilities are ADA-accessible.


Most of the actual cost of CO-LEADS is underwritten by our sponsoring institutions as in investment in their students. However there is a nominal registration fee for each participant based on attendee's institution (sponsor or non-sponsor) and date of registration.

Online registration to be opened in 2016. After that time , interested students can register, pay and check-in on site; schedule and location above.

2015 Rates: 

  • participants from sponsoring institutions: $10
  • participants from non-sponsoring institutions: $20

An additional $5 late fee is added to ALL registrations after that deadline, including day-of registrations. (Registering well in advance is rewarded because it helps us best plan for and prepare food, space, materials, etc.) We are not able to offer refunds or waive fees for no-shows, as the committed purchases are already made.

Registration fee includes breakfast, lunch and all conference materials and sessions. We strive to make CO-LEADS accessible to all interested by providing for a wide range of diets and abilities, and keeping the conference costs low. We encourage students to seek organizations or offices on your campus who will sponsor your registration fee as in investment in your leadership.

GROUPS: Interested in bringing a group of students from your institution? We encourage campus teams to attend, and can work with staff/faculty/advisors to coordinate sponsorship payment for groups. (A separate initial registration will need to be completed for each attendee; but we'll work directly with sponsor on payment via single invoice, direct pay or purchasing card payments, etc.) Contact us via Questions, below.


Previous CO-LEADS participants are invited to take a greater role in shaping this year's summit, by serving in one or more of roles below. Selected volunteers will have their registration fee waived.

  • Planning Committee member: An immediate way to enact your CO-LEADS and other learnings, is to help shape future CO-LEADS events for future participants. The committee meets all year long at the Auraria campus, and can make arrangements for joining by phone/video for those unable to physically join us.
  • Common Workshop Co-Facilitator: We hope to provide more experienced students the opportunity to co-present the common workshop (e.g., Privilege Beads in past years), with a Planning Committee professional member. If selected, you would have to attend a training session (TBD). TO APPLY: You'll be asked to submit a one-page description of why you want to facilitate, what you got out of previous common workshops, and what you would add to the discussion, along with your your name, and what year(s) you attended CO-LEADS.
  • Program Selection Committee: Did you love the workshops at previous CO-LEADS... but maybe some more than others? Did you feel like there was a topic or type of activity not included? Be part of the team that chooses the workshops for the conference. Your feedback as a previous participant is invaluable in determining which workshops should return and which new ones we should add this year. You'd join the Committee in September to review and discuss proposals. TO APPLY: You'll submit a ½-to-one page description of why you want to be on the committee and what you would add to the discussion, along with your name, and what year(s) you attended CO-LEADS.
  • Day-of Summit Staff: We'll also need help on the day of the conference with set-up/breakdown, registration or other logistics.

If you are interested in any of these roles, please contact us care of


It is important to remember our history, both to honor the work of those before us, and to inform our actions moving forward. Click an annual theme below to open a PDF copy of the program/poster.


Join our Facebook event for the latest updates on workshops, registration and more.

Please contact the CO-LEADS Planning Committee in care of, with additional questions.