Northern Michigan University will hold its annual Uniting Neighbors in the Experience of Diversity (UNITED) Conference Sept. 25-26. UNITED is composed of a broad range of presentations and films. This year’s featured speakers and events will address such topics as avoiding biases, universal design, identity politics and more.
A complete schedule with relevant links is available at www.nmu.edu/united. All events below are free and will be held in the Great Lakes Rooms of the University Center, unless otherwise noted. Featured speakers and their topics include the following:
Monday, Sept. 25:
Joe Grimm will present “Breaking Down Biases One Question at a Time” from 1-2 p.m. His presentation teaches how to ask questions about others while avoiding stereotypes. Grimm teaches in the School of Journalism at Michigan State University. He has published books about Michigan history, the songs of the Great Lakes sailors and Coney Island hot dogs.
Robin Jones will present “Applying Concepts of Universal Design to Ensure Accessibility” from 2-3 p.m. She will show how the adoption of such principles can inclusively enhance the physical and learning environment for everyone. Jones is the director of the DBTAC-Great Lakes ADA Center and an instructor in the Department on Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has experience as a consultant and trainer regarding the barriers to community participation for people with disabilities.
NMU alumnus Chris Mosier will present “Creating Social Change” at 7:30 p.m. Chris is the first openly transgender man to make a U.S. national team. He is a four-time member of TEAM USA and 2016 All-American.
Tuesday, Sept. 26:
Hip-hop artist, scholar and activist Olmeca will present Latinx Identity and Power from 11 a.m. to noon. This session will explore identity politics and will address the three main spaces of power. Olmeca provides a perspective on immigration as both an artist and participant.
Stacy Alaimo will present “Biodiversity in the Depths: Science, Aesthetics and the Creatures of the Abyss” from 1-2 p.m. Her presentation will focus on why deep-sea life should matter to humans. She will focus on the intersection of science, aesthetics and popular cultures. Alaimo is an English professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. Alaimo’s books include Undomesticated Ground: Recasting Nature as Feminist Space, Bodily Natures: Science, Environment, and the Material Self and Exposed: Environmental Politics and Pleasures in Posthuman Times.
Designed for faculty and staff, Kellie Raffaelli will present “Creating an Inclusive Campus for LGBTQA+ Students” from 10:30-12 p.m. and 1-2:30 p.m. in the Erie Room of the University Center. She will teach about how to intervene when witnessing discrimination and share the importance of making campus a safe place. Raffaelli is the director at Michigan Technological University’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion.
Malea Powell will present “Making American Indian Rhetorics” from 2-3 p.m. Her presentation will focus on three indigenous women who are artists and teachers who blend their missed tribal traditions and formal arts education. Powell is a professor and chair of the Department of Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures at Michigan State University as well as a faculty member in American Indian and Indigenous Studies. A widely published scholar and poet, her current book project, This Is A Story, examines the continuum of indigenous rhetorical production in North America.
Lama Tsultrim Gyaltsen will present “Interconnected” from 3-4 p.m. His presentation is about how “thinking is flawed and how realignment with the interconnectedness and interdependence with everything can bring real happiness into our lives.” Gyaltsen entered the traditional Tibetan three-year retreat in 1992, and has been in residence at Karme Ling, a retreat center for Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, since then. He is currently a retreat master in the men’s retreat at Karme Ling.
Alison Grillo will present “Woman Trapped Inside a Woman’s Body” at 7:30 p.m. Her comedy routine highlights photos from her past and current life as a transgender woman as she shares personal stories and confessions. According to her website, Grillo’s comedy draws on experience in many roles: “college English professor, published fiction writer, journalist, first-generation collegian, only child, thinker [and] dreamer.”