Gustavus Building Bridges

The 2018 Building Bridges Conference

We invite you to join us for the 23rd Annual Building Bridges Conference, Mental Health: Exploring the Unacknowledged Civil Rights Journey, on Saturday, March 3 at Gustavus Adolphus College. The conference will begin at 9 a.m. in Christ Chapel and conclude around 6:30 p.m. that evening. This student-led social justice conference will explore and address mental health using an inter-sectional lens, as it seeks to explore and dismantle stigmas attached to mental illness and health, discuss accessibility to mental health care, and address mental health in disadvantaged communities. The conference features two keynote speakers, a highlighted workshop, a student organized choral performance, an interactive walk-through, and a variety of smaller workshops for individuals to attend.

We are thrilled to welcome our first keynote speaker, Leah Ida Harris, a mental health and trauma activist, suicide prevention advocate, trainer, speaker, writer, and social entrepreneur. Leah Ida Harris has been working to stop the perpetuation of harmful and traumatic practices in mental health. Her approach emphasizes the importance of people retaining dignity and the right to self determination.

Building Bridges is excited to welcome Deborah Prothrow-Stith, as she will be the second keynote speaker of the day. Deborah Prothrow-Stith focuses on disparities in access to care for racial minorities. She is an internationally recognized public health leader who since 2008 has advised top tier healthcare, life sciences, academics for nonprofit institutions. She established the first Office of Violence Prevention in a state department of public health.

The conference is supplemented with a series of workshops and an interactive walk-through to allow attendees to fully explore the dynamic role of mental health and bringing about social change. This conference focuses on laying down the foundation for critical dialogue about pressing global issues, and dispelling any beliefs that one’s actions cannot be a catalyst for creating positive social change.

About Building Bridges:

Building Bridges is a student organization at Gustavus Adolphus College that focuses on educating and informing community members on issues relating to social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Building Bridges’ signature event is the annual Building Bridges Conference, which takes place every spring. The conference is completely organized and run by students, who choose the focus of each year’s conference. Building Bridges members work all year every year to not only educate and bring awareness, but also seek to give attendees the tools to be active and engaged in these social justice issues. The conference aims to educate the community through keynote speakers, a series of workshops and an interactive action piece. Past topics have included: The Grassroots Movement (2017), The War on Drugs (2016), Rape Culture (2015), Environmental Justice (2014), and Mass Incarceration (2013).

2017-18 Building Bridges Co-Chairs