Mountain West Diversity Conference

This unique conference for Colorado’s Western Slope is planned entirely by and for high school students.

COVID-19 Update: Due to COVID-19, this program is currently on hiatus until the health situation has improved. We are hopeful the Mountain West Diversity Conference will resume in Fall 2021.

Students and teachers from the Western Slope are encouraged to register and join the statewide Cherry Creek Diversity Conference for the 20-21 school year.

In the meantime, students from the Western Slope can use your help in funding the future of this program. Please consider a donation or sponsorship to keep the Mountain West Diversity Conference going.

Past Keynote Speakers

The keynote speaker for the Conference is selected each year by the Student Executive Committee. Here is a list of the incredible and inspiring people who have addressed attendees for the past three years.

Who Should Attend

The Conference is open to all high school students and supportive teachers/adults from across Colorado’s Western Slope. In particular, this event is a great opportunity for groups such as:

  • Diversity or multicultural student clubs
  • Student councils
  • Peace/conflict resolution-focused organizations, including PeaceJam and Interact
  • Religious student organizations interested in exploring interfaith dialogue and positive social change
  • Clubs celebrating specific student ethnicities, including Black Student Alliance, Latinx or Hispanic student clubs, Native/Indigenous student clubs and others
  • Gender/sexuality-focused student groups, including gay-straight alliances
  • Female empowerment student clubs
  • Peer counselors
  • Deaf students and their allies, including ASL signing clubs
  • Disabled students from all backgrounds
  • Creative writing and performance student groups, including poetry, spoken word, hip-hop, dance and other clubs
  • Students from a local youth organization, even if they attend different schools
  • ANY group of teens interested in improving their school’s culture or making a positive change in their community

Schedule

We fill the conference day with numerous opportunities for students and teachers to discuss, engage and explore the topics that are most important to them. Click any portion of the day below for more information.

Arrival and Parking

If your group is not traveling to the event together, agree on a specific time to arrive as a group in advance. Once parked, follow the balloons to registration.

Breakfast

We provide a light breakfast, including bagels and cream cheese, yogurt, fruit and muffins, as well as water and coffee. Participants are then ushered as a school group to the main auditorium to register.

Registration and Morning Entertainment

Group leaders register their clubs or groups; registration takes a matter of minutes. Each school receives a packet containing materials for the conference day, including nametags. An emcee and various student groups from around the state keep participants entertained as we get closer to starting the formal program.

Opening Ceremonies and Keynote Speech
SONY DSC

Opening Ceremonies begin with welcome speeches by the conference student co-chairs and educational leaders. Each year the Student Executive Committee works hard to identify and invite a notable public speaker to address conference attendees. In 2020 we were addressed by Colorado Supreme Court Justice Monica Marquez, who grew up in Grand Junction and is now the first Latina and first openly LGBTQ+ member of the high court for the state.

Discussion Groups and Lunch

The first interactive session of the conference day involves informal group discussions of students from all over the state led by trained student facilitators. Students have an opportunity to speak their mind about the social issues they are facing in their schools and communities, and hear from other students from across the state who may be facing similar or different issues. Lunch is served at this time as well. While students are in their discussion groups, faculty advisors meet to have professional development workshops on teaching for equity and social justice.

Workshop A

Students and faculty advisors attend a workshop of their choice, chosen in advance. See a list of workshops offered here.

Workshop B

Both students and faculty advisors attend a second workshop of their choice, chosen in advance. See a list of workshops offered here.

Action Planning Meetings

All attendees meet back with their schools or organizations for a brainstorming discussion on creating an action project for the second semester. Each school is free to identify whatever issue is most pressing to be addressed, and YCD provides support and guidance as students plan, enact, and evaluate their project.

Closing Ceremonies

We finish the day by giving out a community award, viewing a video montage, and hearing from an exceptional musical performer.

Workshops

The workshops offered at the Conference each year are chosen by the Student Executive Committee, so that the topics are constantly reflecting the needs, interests, and challenges facing Western Slope teens.

Below is the list of workshops that took place at the 2019 Conference.  Hover over any slide to pause the animation.

Propose a Workshop

Do you have an idea for a good workshop at this event?  We are currently accepting proposals and would love to hear from you! Past presenters have included high school students, non-profit organizations, teachers, parents, and interested members of the community.

Partners, Allies and Accomplices

YCD is proud to work with dozens of local, authentic non-profit organizations and community groups to provide workshops and education for our programs. Below is a representative list of the organizations that have presented at the Conference recently.

Student Executive Committee

As with all YCD conferences and events, the Conference is planned entirely by the Student Executive Committee, a team of some 20-30 students from a wide variety of high schools and identities. While the conference’s goals do not change year to year, every other detail is planned by this group of dedicated volunteers.

We also take the group through a variety of bonding exercises, to explore their own identity as well as learn about others in the group. Student Executive Committee members also have a chance to participate in several workshops on different diversity-related topics leading up to the conference.

The committee is open to all high school students willing to devote the time to make the Conference a success. 

For the 20-21 school year, interested students are encouraged to join the Student Executive Committee for the statewide Cherry Creek Diversity Conference, which will be holding most of its meetings virtually.

Student Facilitators

YCD provides free training to students to co-manage student discussion groups on the morning of the Mountain West Diversity Conference.  After attending a mandatory training session, facilitators are paired and assigned discussion groups with approximately 20 students from around the state on the conference day.  Discussions can include any number of topics, including an exploration of stereotypes, bias, social problems, and sharing solutions and ideas to make schools across the Western Slope safe for all identities.

While we don’t have an in-person conference planned for 2020, students interested in gaining these valuable skills can take virtual training sessions to get a Student Facilitator Certificate from YCD.

Tickets and Registration

We will post updated information about purchasing tickets and registration when this Conference is no longer on hiatus. To be notified of updates about the Conference, enter your email below.

Donations and Sponsorship

While this program is on hiatus, please consider a donation or sponsorship to help us guarantee the future of the Mountain West Diversity Conference.

Donations

Individuals may donate online using the form below. Donations will be directed specifically to support this program.

Sponsorships

Sponsorships are available for businesses and organizations at a wide variety of levels and come with significant benefits to show attendees your support of their cause:

Underwriter: $3,000+

  • Full-page advertisement in the Summit program distributed to all participants
  • Invitation to welcome attendees at Opening Ceremonies from podium
  • Logo appearing on front cover of Summit program distributed to all participants
  • Central display of logo or banner at opening ceremonies
  • Tour during Summit day by student co-chairs
  • Introduction to keynote speaker
  • Info table for participants to browse during arrival
  • Prominent display of logo on conference website
  • Mention in post-event email blast to all participants
  • Mention of sponsorship over YCD social media channels

Gold Sponsor: $1,000+

  • Full-page advertisement in the Summit program distributed to all participants
  • Tour during Summit day by student co-chairs
  • Info table for participants to browse during arrival
  • Prominent display of logo on conference website
  • Mention in post-event email blast to all participants
  • Mention of sponsorship over YCD social media channels

Silver Sponsor: $500+

  • Half-page advertisement in the Summit program distributed to all participants
  • Info table for participants to browse during arrival
  • Invitation to attend Opening Ceremonies
  • Display of logo on conference website
  • Mention of sponsorship over YCD social media channels

Bronze Sponsor: $250+

  • Quarter-page advertisement in the Summit program distributed to all participants
  • Invitation to attend Opening Ceremonies
  • Mention on conference website

For more information about sponsorship opportunities, or to make your pledge, please contact us.

Contact Info

For more information about the Student Executive Committee, contact either organizer for the program:

Ben Roberts

Ben Roberts

Organizer – Colorado’s Western Slope
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
(970) 384-5555
broberts@rfschools.com

Hannah Shapiro

Hannah Shapiro

Organizer – Colorado’s Western Slope
Gypsum, Colorado
(970) 328-8960
hannah.shapiro@eagleschools.net

For questions about registration, payment, or anything else, contact YCD’s Executive Director:

Caleb Munro

Caleb Munro

Executive Director
Denver, Colorado
(720) 507-0746
cmunro@ycdiversity.org