Building Bridges Conference Honored by City of Saint Peter

Posted on May 15th, 2008 by

Students and others package meals during the 2008 Building Bridges Conference. (Photo by Tom Roster)

Students and others package meals during the 2008 Building Bridges Conference. (Photo by Tom Roster)

Gustavus Adolphus College’s Building Bridges Conference recently received the 2007 St. Peter Human Rights Commission Award. Given annually, the award is meant to recognize an individual or organization in St. Peter that has furthered human rights in the community.

In existence for 13 years, the Building Bridges Conference is a student-led, student-initiated diversity conference dedicated to addressing the pressing social and global issues of today. The conference aims to promote mutual respect and understanding about diversity throughout college campuses and larger communities by addressing global diversity issues in a proactive, social, and informative way.

On March 8, more than 1,200 students and other individuals attended the sold-out conference, “Genocide awareness: How will history judge us?” This year’s conference aimed to give students a means to defeat the notion that one person can’t make a difference.

Keynote speaker Paul Rusesabagina urged audience members to use words not weapons. Rusesabagina is the real-life hotel manager turned hero who was portrayed in the movie “Hotel Rwanda.” He shared his personal story of the 1994 killings in Rwanda, where he led people to safety.

The well-known Gustavus social justice theatre troupe, “I Am…We Are,” raised various issues related to genocide and other acts of hate in a thought-provoking 45-minute public performance.
Also during the conference, 48,000 meals were packaged for delivery to Darfur. More than 250 conference-goers participated in the not-for-profit Kids Against Hunger packaging event where nutritious meals of rice-soy casserole were prepared.

This is not the first time a Gustavus program has been honored by the St. Peter Human Rights Commission. In 2006, the College’s Chicano/Latino Youth Leadership Institute (ChYLI) received the award.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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