By: Grayson Tummings, Contributing Writer
Photo by Brendan Felch/ The Towerlight
Towson University’s Center for Student Diversity and Black Student Union held their annual Black Student Leadership Conference all day Friday in the University Union’s Chesapeake rooms.
Black students from various institutions — including Morgan State University, Mount Saint Mary’s University and others — attended the conference.
The conference provided an opportunity for attendees to network with other black students and form connections to aid them throughout their college careers and post-graduation.
Black Student Union President Joshua White believes this conference is invaluable for black students.
“The Black Student Leadership Conference is about developing and cultivating black student leadership and black excellence,” White said. “We’re also earning from black professionals that come to speak. It’s great that Towson holds this event because it creates a holistic level of success that we can see ourselves in.”
Freshman athletic training major Kenya Downey was mainly drawn to attending the event because she was “curious.”
“I like leadership conferences so that I can network,” Downey said. “As a black student I feel as though I can benefit a lot from this. I hope to attain connections to businesses as well as people to reach out to post college.”
Similarly, freshman childhood special education major Zoe Bridges was eager to discuss the positive impact that conferences such as this have on her.
“I enjoy conferences, and by attending this, I can better myself as a member of the black community,” Bridges said. “Being at a [predominantly white institution], this conference allows me to be amongst people that I can relate to. I hope that by attending this conference I can network and make meaningful connections.”
Students who attended the conference had the opportunity to hear keynote speaker Luke Cooper, the CEO of FiXT. FiXT provides technological support for devices like broken phones and laptops. Cooper spoke about rising above adversity and a troubled childhood to reach his goals.
“All of the males in my family were either in jail or dead,” Cooper said, “My mother did not want that for me. So one Saturday morning she asked a pilot to take my brother and I on a tiny plane that allowed us to see the projects that we grew up in and the world outside of it. I realized that I had to get out of the projects, and I learned that to do that, it didn’t take luck, it took hard work and determination.”
Cooper is continuing to expand his business and work with various companies that heavily utilize technology.
He encouraged students to be persistent in their pursuit of their goals.
“Take two minutes out of your day to define your own path,” Cooper said, “This is a story about hard work and determination. So keep working, keep learning, keep shining, and I’ll see you at work on Monday.”