Scott Anderson, Co-Chair of MN GLBTA Campus Alliance Photo By: Anne Hodson

Welcome! I’m Scott Anderson, chair of the board of the Minnesota GLBTA Campus Alliance.

On behalf of the board, MOCC planning committee and all the volunteers thank you all very much for being here for our 5th annual Minnesota OUT! Campus Conference.

The Minnesota Campus Alliance seeks to create welcoming and inclusive campus communities through education, training, skills building and ally and leadership development. We’re transforming our state, campus by campus, providing communities with reframed definitions of gender and sexuality and tools to end all forms of oppression including sexism, racism, heterosexism, abilism and all other systems that keep us from being our free and complete selves every day.

Annually, MOCC has been one of our largest organizing tools, providing a space for hundreds of campus and community activists to hone their skills and build a statewide network aimed at transforming the experiences of folks living, learning and working at institutions of higher education in our state.

I can hardly believe it was five years ago that a small group of us were brainstorming in the library at Metro State University about what to name this conference and the potential impact this organization could have across the state of Minnesota. And now, look at this. More than 500 attendees, volunteers and presenters from 5 states and 40 different colleges registered for what is certain to be the greatest Minnesota OUT! Campus Conference to date.

Whether you’re a MOCC veteran or a first timer this weekend is sure to inspire you, challenge you and provide you with new skills and new networks to move your campus communities into action around a broad social justice agenda that recognizes racial justice, immigrant rights and economic justice are indeed queer issues.

The Minnesota Campus Alliance is a volunteer run organization and we have been lucky to have phenomenal volunteer leaders take up the challenge of running this organization during the past 5 years. This weekend, as is tradition at MOCC every year, we will seek new board members and new leaders to engage in our critical statewide work. The organization needs a range of skill sets from event planning and logistics to financial management and fundraising to training and facilitation. Please visit the information table or seek out anyone with a board member tag or volunteer tag to have a conversation about getting more involved. Inside your program booklets are board interest forms. Please take some time this weekend to review leadership opportunities with the MN Campus Alliance. As our organization grows it will require new leaders, fresh ideas and a variety of voices, identities and experiences to shape our strategy as we move into the next five years.

No welcome speech would be complete without a series of thank you’s. An innumerable amount of thanks go to Augsburg College and Mike Grewe for hosting us here this weekend. Let’s hear it for Augsburg! The team here at Augsburg has been phenomenal and the success of this weekend will be in no small part attributed to their outstanding work here on campus.

Also, a huge shout out to the MOCC planning committee and MN Campus Alliance board for their hard work, dedication and leadership in making this weekend possible. Thank you to all of our workshop presenters and caucus facilitators your skills and talents are truly reflective of the vibrant diversity of activism represented regionally and nationally.

And I personally want to thank Anne Phibbs for her visionary leadership. It was Anne’s vision that brought people together in 2006 in a basement classroom at the University of Minnesota which lead to the formation of the Minnesota Campus Alliance.

And to our keynotes and featured presenters this weekend, Coya Artichoker, Kenyon Farrow, Richard LaFortune, Susan Raffo and Lisa Weiner-Mahfuz we are humbled to have such incredible movement leaders gathered with us as we reflect on broadening the depth and breadth of our statewide campus work.

Our larger LGBT rights movement hasn’t always created a space where we can explore a truly intersectional, multi-issue agenda but your thoughts, actions and visions have pushed all of us to look more critically at what our movement priorities can be.

This is my call to action to all of us in the room: use this weekend to move beyond business as usual, to embrace the opportunity to shift our movement from a narrow definition of LGBT rights to a movement that centers the experiences of those most marginalized and one that leaves no body behind.

Thank you again for being with us this weekend and please welcome founding members of the Minnesota GLBTA Campus Alliance.

FOP Note: Look for a post this weekend from one of the co-chairs of the 1st MOCC, FOP’s own Alfonso Wenker, about the history of the Minnesota OUT! Campus Conference!

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