Purdue focuses on youth at 2014 Indiana Black Expo

July 16, 2014  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Encouraging youth to develop their interest in academics and community service as well as preparing for college are the themes Purdue University is stressing at the 44th annual Summer Celebration of the Indiana Black Expo.

The Expo started July 10 and concludes Sunday (July 20) in Indianapolis. Purdue is sponsoring the Youth Leadership Summit, which is called "Ready for the World," Friday (July 18) through Sunday. The event is for student leaders ages 11-18 from around Indiana who want to see and effect change in their community.

"We're really proud to continue our relationship with Indiana Black Expo," said G. Christine Taylor, Purdue's vice provost for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer. "We introduced the idea of global leadership to the Indiana Black Expo planning team a couple of years ago and the idea has continued. The summit is an opportunity for young people, particularly those in junior high and older, to develop leadership skills and attempt to develop plans for impacting their communities. During the Purdue event, students are provided an opportunity for interactive engagement and meet with representatives from the academic colleges. Additionally, students will receive key information to assist in the college planning process.

"It's also about getting students connected and thinking about how they can take what they learn back to the community. Everything is focused on getting youth ready for the world."  

Taylor, who will give the keynote address, said students can come for all three days or just for the Super Friday initiative. She expects the event will draw about 300 attendees.

The Friday event will include "Our Lives Matter – The Real Talk Forum," which will feature a program on five steps toward realizing the goal of avoiding dating violence.

In addition to the summit, Purdue also will sponsor an exhibition where visitors can learn more about the university through several hands-on activities. Highlights of the exhibition include:

* The Bone Zone Booth. Representatives of the College of Agriculture will talk about nutrition and try to help students make wise choices for food and exercise.

* Purdue police officer Tenecia Waddell will use "beer goggles" to help students understand the implications of drinking. The goggles cause wearers to experience the visual distortion, loss of perception and lack of control that can make drunken drivers dangerous, according to the Personal Social Health & Economic Education website. She also will talk to students who might be interested in a law enforcement career.

* A segment in which College of Agriculture officials will share information about growing food.

"There are so many food deserts in urban communities," Taylor said. "They will talk about how to grow food and will distribute some seeds. Overall, we are, if you will excuse the expression, planting the seeds for people to change their lives in many directions."

The Expo's Summer Celebration is the largest ethnic and cultural event of its kind in the nation and attracts more than 350,000 attendees annually. It provides participants with networking, educational, career and cultural opportunities. Through events such as the celebration, the Expo generates resources to support its key initiatives, including education. Since 1984 the Expo has awarded more than $2 million in scholarships to more than 2,000 Indiana students. 

Writer: Greg McClure, 765-496-9711, gmcclure@purdue.edu

Sources:  G. Christine Taylor, 765-494-6969, taylorgc@purdue.edu

Annette Brown, 765-494-6969, abbrown@purdue.edu

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