The Umoja Community Education Foundation kicked off the second Student Leadership Summit on August 1, 2019, at the University of California, Merced (UC Merced). More than 200 attendees were electrified by the opening ritual from Umoja’s Executive Director, Nzingha Dugas. Ms. Dugas challenged the attendees to know their culture and history so that it informs the way they experience their academic, personal and familial pursuits. The students were engaged in Don Lowry's True Colors Personality Profiling System (True Colors). This activity helps participants to understand the traits of their leadership praxis and how they interpret and respond to experiences. Students participated in large and small group discussions that emphasized the Umoja practices in relation to their leadership.
The Umoja Regional Coordinator for the San Diego region, Jonathan Henderson noted, "The students were very excited to be on campus. They got to learn about the personality traits and how that informs their leadership."
"The first day was amazing. We were able to learn, meet other students and network," El Camino College student, Funbi Olowoyo said. Olowoyo is beginning his second year at El Camino College as a computer science major. He added that he is most excited about "the opportunity to get new leadership skills to use in my community."The evening featured a family-style barbeque dinner at Lake Yosemite, adjacent to the UC Merced campus. Participants enjoyed music, games and genuine cultural celebration.
Each of the 55+ Umoja campuses was invited to bring 5 students to this event, free of charge for the students. The purpose of this event is to convene, train, and organize our student leaders to go forward to make great contributions to their local programs and the broader campus environment for African American students this coming academic year. The summit hopes to provide historically and culturally grounded leadership training.
The Leadership Summit will continue until Saturday, August 3, 2019.