Annual area diversity conference

UWL faculty, staff actively involved in promoting inclusion in the La Crosse area

Diversity and inclusion will be front and center in La Crosse in November as community businesses and organizations come together to share and learn best practices in the workplace.

The Greater La Crosse Area Diversity Council Annual Conference is focused on pro-active strategies for inclusion in today’s workforce and community. “There’s always more work to do,” says Jodi Vandenberg-Daves, executive director of the council and professor of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at UWL.

Vandenberg-Daves is one of three UWL employees who lend their talents to the Council.  Thomas Harris and Andrea Hansen both serve on the Council’s board of directors. The group started 2007 and has put on the conference for eight years.

The Conference includes presentations by UWL employees this year:  Amanda Goodenough and Will Van Roosenbeek. Hansen believes UWL has an obligation to share and lead in this area. “There’s no one size fits all answer for these issues,” she says. “It’s important to bring these different groups together and remind each other that we’re not alone.”

“To accomplish this in a Wisconsin city this size is a feat and a testament to the people in the community,” shares Vandenberg-Daves. “It sends a message that there are people here who are committed to working toward diversity and inclusion and who care about community partnerships.”

The conference starts at 8 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 2, at the Lunda Center at Western Technical College. Registration is open through Tuesday, Oct. 31. UWL employees receive a discounted rate and students see a further discount.

“We hope people walk away energized and with more tools and strategies to address issues in their workplace,” says Vandenberg-Daves. “And they’re reminded that they’re not alone in the community.”

The council is also finalizing a multicultural resource guide and is building a community calendar for related events. Details are available on the council’s website.