College of Arts & Sciences Building Bridges


The 17th Annual Building Bridges Conference

This year's conference will be held March 28, 2014 at the Muenster University Center Ballroom on USD's campus. This annual event is a collaborative conference sponsored by the USD Clinical Psychology Program and Admissions.

Conference Agenda

Building Bridges Conference Goals

This year's Building Bridges Conference will feature Jason "Smoke" Nichols and Melissa "Mimi" Nichols.  Together they engage and inspire youth with humor and clarity as well as practical examples for positive action. Participants in this year's program, "Pathways to Purpose", will be encouraged to find greatness within themselves and share these qualities with others.  Smoke and Mimi will focus on inspiring participants to harness their full potential without bowing to peer pressure, and learn that through perseverance and dedication they can gain freedom from fear and discouragement.

With this in mind, the goals of the conference are as follows:

  • Through a combination of presentations and interactive activities, all participants will leave with a sense of themselves as potential helpers in their families and communities, learn some specific skills they can use to find positive support and to be positive helpers in their environments, and be able to identify the positive support networks that they are part of and to which they can turn when needed.
  • Opportunities for participants and members of the campus and community to interact during conference events will contribute to building relationships and partnerships that may result in an increase in Native American student recruitment and retention at USD and, as a result, increased ethnic and cultural diversity on campus and in the community.
  • Preparation for and participation in this annual conference will continue to provide clinical psychology graduate students and faculty members with opportunities to increase cultural awareness while improving clinical skills through direct interactions with ethnic minority youth. To this end, conference speakers and graduate students will provide information and skills training activities for Native American students in regional high schools.

Participants may also be interested in attending the 42nd Annual USD Wacipi sponsored by Tiospaye (USD Native American Student Organization), Saturday and Sunday, March 29-30.  For more information about the Wacipi, please visit their Website or email