Colorado State University Diversity Symposium open to entire community

Note to Reporters: A photo of Rinku Sen is available with this release at

FORT COLLINS — The annual Colorado State University Diversity Symposium will take place Sept. 23-25 at the Lory Student Center, offering three days of workshops, panels and presentations surrounding the state of diversity on the CSU campus and across the nation. All sessions are free and open to the public; no registration or tickets are required.

Programming starts at 9:15 a.m. each day and continues throughout Wednesday and Thursday, until 1:30 p.m. on Friday, with a Thursday evening keynote presentation. The full schedule of events is available on Guidebook ( and can be downloaded to mobile devices.

This year’s sessions are focused on diversity in higher education, with discussions of everything from how to be mindful of diversity issues inside and outside of the classroom to how to help students from different ethnic, racial, socio-economic backgrounds and life experiences find success at CSU; how to avoid culture crashes to how to be aware of who is missing from important conversations.

“We’ve designed the Symposium so that anyone can attend as many sessions as their schedule will allow, anytime from Wednesday through Friday,” said CSU Vice President for Diversity Mary Ontiveros. “There’s a wealth of programs, not only interactive discussions and workshops but also dance and theater performances and nationally recognized speakers, so we hope all students, faculty and staff can stop by the student center for at least one session.”

Symposium highlights

·      CSU Inspire, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 23, is a chance to learn about the many innovative campus diversity initiatives in the areas of teaching, research and service through short, inspiring presentations.

·      Rinku Sen, president and executive director of Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation and publisher of the award-winning news site Colorlines, delivers the keynote address on Thursday, Sept. 24, at 7 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Theatre.

Race Forward brings systemic analysis and an innovative approach to complex race issues to help people take effective action toward racial equity through research, media, and practice. One example is the groundbreaking Shattered Families report, which changed the immigration debate with research on how record deportations of parents were leading to the placement of thousands of children in foster care, often separating them permanently from their families. A visionary and a pragmatist, Sen is one of the leading voices in the racial justice movement, building upon the legacy of civil rights by transforming the way we talk about race. Learn more at

·      Fauna Hodel, who was on campus at the beginning of the month as part of the Beyond Color exhibit at the Curfman Gallery, returns to wrap up the Symposium on Friday at noon in the LSC North Ballroom. She is one of an exclusive list of people who grew up identifying as Black only to discover later in life that she is Caucasian. Hodel’s unique cross-cultural perspective has spawned magazine articles, books, and a motion picture starring Hollywood A-listers. She’s devoted her life to furthering the cause of diversity through the universal "color of love." 

About the Diversity Symposium

In 2001, a one-day, off-campus summit on “Undergraduate Student Retention and Diversity” was held for a select number of invited CSU deans, department heads and directors. In 2002 the Summit opened its doors to the entire CSU and Fort Collins communities; the 2004 Summit marked the first all-inclusive diversity conference with faculty, students, Front Range Community College, Aims Community College, University of Northern Colorado, Colorado State University Athletics and Police Department, Poudre Valley Health Systems, Fort Collins Area Chamber, Northern Colorado Mortgage Company, and a state representative presenting workshops or participating in events. As the evident need for discussion about diversity at Colorado State University grew, the one-day summit evolved into the three-day conference that it is today.

Over the years, conference themes have changed with the times to spark discussion about diversity. Specially selected presenters lead workshops or host panels to create a safe place for conference attendees to explore issues surrounding race, color, gender, disability, religion, national origin, economical standing, sexual orientation. Each conference hosts inspirational and provocative guest speakers that address each theme.

In the past, invited guests have included poet N. Scott Momaday; actor and activist Edward James Olmos; actor John Amos; Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space; and Henry Cisneros, former Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

For more information about the Diversity Symposium, contact Ria Vigil, director of Diversity Education and Training at CSU,, (970) 491-2297.