More than 600 students from over 30 schools nationwide attended the 36th Annual Big 12 Conference on Black Student Government, which was in full swing on Friday in the K-State Student Union.
Friday’s breakfast keynote speaker was life coach and professional speaker Jonathan Sprinkles. Sprinkles spoke about doing everything in your power to leave a legacy that will last long after you have left your university.
“I thought Sprinkles was absolutely amazing,” said Katerra Shackelford, senior in business marketing from Baker University. “I really liked how he spoke about how, in order for you to be a strong leader, ‘you have to stand out to be outstanding.’ He really got the energy going throughout the entire room.”
Shackelford was also a workshop presenter. Throughout all of Friday and Saturday, attendees could attend workshops in between the keynote speeches. These workshops allowed students to discuss the issues facing African-American students in the 21st century and then figure out solutions to those problems. Students were then encouraged to take what they learned and apply it to their own campuses.
The keynote speaker during lunch was television commentator, journalist and activist Marc Lamont Hill. Chante Thompson, freshman in information technology, said Hill was very entertaining. Thompson had watched a video over Hill about a month ago during a BSU meeting.
“He used a lot of humor, which kept a lot of people’s attention,” Thompson said. “He also said a lot of things that were relatable.”
During a vast majority of the late morning and early afternoon, there was a vendor and career fair. Conference participants could browse tables of different organizations and businesses to see the offers and positions available to students.
“The career and vendor fair was pretty good,” said Kevin Anderson, group leader with Target. “There were a lot of eager students who stopped by. There were many students who were here who are focused on their careers, which is great. There were also a variety of major perspectives and the geography of the interested students here.”
Even though it was a career and vendor fair, some colleges and universities were also represented.
“Many of the students who stopped by were well-prepared,” said Janessa Akin, assistant director of admissions at the Washburn University School of Law. “There was a pretty good turnout of students, as well as students sounding and looking quite professional. It was incredibly beneficial to be here to help get our name out there and potentially triggering the thought of law school for some students.”
The concluding speaker for Friday’s events was writer, television personality and innovative educator Steve Perry. Perry believes that “it’s not where you’ve come from, but rather where you end up.”
Perry uses a no-excuses approach to motivate students. He advocated going out and being as successful as you can be, and not making excuses for yourself or others.
“The way he presented was very relaxing, yet it got people hyped up,” said Alicia Jones, senior in criminal justice at Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs. “I felt connected to the stuff he was saying. I have experienced some of the examples he used, and thought, ‘I have gone through that too.'”
Friday’s events were concluded with the Gospel Extravaganza, featuring singer Alexis Spight.
“This conference embraces that value of African-American students,” Shackelford said. “The amount of work and attention that was also brought to [National Pan-Hellenic Council] greek chapters was absolutely amazing. This has been one of the best conferences I have attended yet, and this is the third conference I have attended. This was just such a great experience, and I thank Kansas State University for this opportunity.”