Building Bridges Conference History
In what has become a campus tradition, the first Building Bridges Conference was held in 1997. It started as a dream of two Clinical Psychology graduate students who believed that to encourage Native American Youth to persist in their education, there needed to be a bridge built between their traditions and the traditions of higher education.
In 2003, the Admissions office partnered with the Bridges planning committee to encourage Native American high school students to attend the conference and have the opportunity to tour the campus. The Department of Native Studies has also joined the collective effort to invite Native American middle and high school students, as well as college and professional/graduate students, to participate in this one-of-a-kind conference.
We believe that exposure and discussion of diversity issues such as racism and the ethnic minority experience can facilitate positive institutional change. We value and desire the respect for diversity in all levels of education. Building Bridges provides opportunities for students and faculty to learn effective ways to make higher education a positive experience for all students, but especially for Native American students.
- To provide a community service by addressing the educational needs of Native American students.
- To provide survival skills for students and concrete solutions for educators who work with them.
- To expose conference attendees to Native American role models.
- To provide information related to bicultural competence.
- To engage Native American students in pursuing undergraduate college education.
- To build strong networks between local, regional, public, and tribal colleges for the long term goal of successful recruitment and retention of First Nations students in higher education.
- To focus on bicultural competence.
- To provide a forum for addressing the importance of diversity in psychology.