African Black Coalition Holds Conference

The African Black Coalition began its 10th annual three-day conference at Price Center this Friday, Feb. 15. The ABC, which is a student-run campus organization, first began holding these conferences in 2003 in response to academic underrepresentation, fee hikes, and the increase in hate crimes toward African-American students in the UC system.

This year, ABC elected to create a conference environment that promoted practical career applications in the real world. For the 2013 conference, organizers offered an industry networking night and a graduate school fair.

“The conference helps undergraduates get the bigger picture — there’s a graduate side to that, an alumni side to that, and a business side to that,” Assistant Director of Alumni Programs and UCSD alumna Tamika Franklin said.

UCSD administrators from divisions like the Cross-Cultural Center showed up to help at the conference. In particular, Edwina Welch, director of the Cross-Cultural Center, conducted the opening plenary on Friday Feb. 15.

“I think it’s just a natural progression to graduate and go on to work at companies,” Welch said. “Being able to get that type practice at this conference is integral to their development in leadership.”

Many students also attended the conference to make friends and network with other African-American students from across the UC system. UCSD junior James Lee said that he attended the conference to experience a sense of tight community.

“Sometimes on this campus, it can be isolating for some black students,” Lee said. “Here, students are allowed to come together and really feel like there’s people that they can connect and feel comfortable with.”