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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

Friday, October 17, 2014

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 Colorado Mesa University, 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.


For 2014, our theme is Micro Actions, Mega Impact --exploring how small harms can accumulate, and how small positive actions can make a big difference in our lives and communities. Our keynote and breakout sessions engage self-awareness, social systems, personal skills and collaborative action through this lens.

This year, we also incorporated a multimedia project, asking registrants to submit anonymous pictures around microaggressions they have experienced/committed. These images were used as part of our work on the day, to understand their impact and to explore constructive individual and collective responses. Details for this optional initiative are provided to those who register.

Keynote Presenters

Our 2014 keynote speaker is Dr David Stovall , Associate Professor of Educational Policy Studies and African-American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). His scholarship investigates 1) Critical Race Theory, 2) concepts of social justice in education, 3) the relationship between housing and education, and 4) the relationship between schools and community stakeholders. In the attempt to bring theory to action, he has spent the last ten years working with community organizations and schools to develop curriculum that address issues of social justice.


9-9:45am: Registration and Breakfast

9:45-10:45am: Opening and Keynote Speaker

11am-12:30pm: Common Workshop

12:30-1:15pm: lunch

1:15-2:4pm: Workshop Breakout Sessions (see below)

3-4:00pm: Closing Session: David Stovall

*4-5pm: Bringin' It Back to Campus session (*DU sponsored students only)


Participants selected one (1) breakout workshop to attend after lunch:
  • Acting Out the Norms: Social Construction of the Gender Binary
  • Design for Social Justice: Powerpoint PDF | worksheet PDF
  • Examining the Micro: a Class to Raise Awareness of Microaggressions, Microinequities and Microaffirmations
  • Folklore as Social Justice: Challenging Prejudice Based Lore and Reclaiming Stories of Empowerment: Prezi link
  • Inclusion begins with Understanding Yourself
  • Manhood and Social Justice

We are also posting materials that presenters are willing to share; use links above..

Workshop proposals were sought that address the social justice and diversity goals and learning outcomes of the Summit, in connection with this year's CO-LEADS theme (above):

GOALS: By attending CO-LEADS, students will

  • interact with social justice in their own way.
  • identify a personal connection between leadership and social justice.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES: By attending CO-LEADS, students will:

  • be able to name their identities and how they intersect
  • be able to articulate 3 ways that concepts from this conference impact their campus leadership roles
  • engage in consensual dialogue when confronted with divergent perspectives.


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 as follows, if registration is received by 5pm on Thursday, 9 October 2014:

  • $10 – currently enrolled students/employees at sponsoring institutions (above)
  • $20 – participants from other schools.

An additional $5 late fee is added to all registrations after that deadline. (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 registration will need to be completed for each attendee; but we'll work directly with sponsor on single invoice, direct pay or purchasing card payments, etc.) Contact Steve Willich, 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 our convener, Steve Willich, below.


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 convener, Steve Willich (, with additional questions.