Building Bridges Conference

Liberation Through Education
March 14th, 2009

Building Bridges is a student-initiated, student-led diversity conference dedicated to addressing today’s pressing social and global issues. We work to increase awareness and action through inspirational speakers supplemented by interactive workshops and action steps. This year’s conference, “Liberation through Education,” will focus on educational inequality in the U.S. and abroad and the important influence an education has on an individual’s future. After learning about educational inequality, the committee wondered, “what can we do to help someone get an education?” We began to answer this question by receiving generous book donations from communities in the Midwest to benefit students in Uganda, collecting more than 25,000 books. We will continue working to answer this question in this year’s conference. We promise an inspirational, hands-on learning experience that will provide many ways in which you too can answer the question for yourself. On behalf of the Building Bridges Committee, we cordially invite you to the 14th annual Building Bridges Conference.

– Alli Linn and Rita Stevermer
2009 Co-Chairs

Keynote Speakers

Erin Gruwell

Erin Gruwell

In 1994, Erin Gruwell began student-teaching at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, CA. Her class consisted of the lowest-performing students in the school, many of whom were labeled “unteachable.” Read more...

Maria Reyes

Maria Reyes,

Maria Reyes was born in East Los Angeles and moved to Long Beach after the Rodney King riots. Reyes came from a family with a strong gang heritage—both her father and grandfather were gang members. Read more...

Objectives of the Building Bridges Conference

  • To promote mutual respect and understanding about diversity issues throughout college campuses and larger communities
  • To lay a foundation for opening up dialogue throughout the world community, bringing together individuals from various settings, situations, and interests to discuss pressing matters involving global diversity
  • To dispel the assumption that one person’s actions cannot make a difference by providing the means for social change

Ticket Information

The Building Bridges Conference is held annually at Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minn. The 2009 conference is scheduled for March 14, 2009. Tickets are required for all attendees. Students, Gustavus faculty and staff can receive a complimentary ticket. For other guests, tickets are $8.00 per person. Tickets can be reserved online until noon on March 13, or through our brochure. Tickets will be available at the event.

If you have any questions, contact the Diversity Center at 507-933-7449 or email us at


Christ Chapel, Gustavus Adolphus College

  • 9:00 a.m. Registration, C. Charles Jackson Campus Center
  • 10:00 a.m. Welcoming Address and Keynote Speakers, Christ Chapel
  • 12:30 p.m. Lunch (on your own)
  • 2:00 p.m. Workshops
  • 3:00 p.m. Workshops
  • 4:00 p.m. Workshops
  • 5:00 p.m. Action Piece, Lund Forum