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Annual Latino Communities Conference: "Creating Alliances across Communities/Creando Alianzas entre Communidades"

The strength of alliances within and between communities is the unifying subject of West Chester University's Latino Communities Conference on Tuesday, Sept. 16, in Sykes Student Union.

Now in its sixth year, the free all-day conference will feature several sessions on immigration, from advocating for human rights to deportation, I.C.E. and the police.

Linda Stevenson, WCU professor of political science and Latin American and Latino studies, is one of the conference organizers. She encourages community members to engage with academics, students, community organizers and leaders in discussions about common struggles and successes.

There will be concurrent sessions in five tracks. Session topics include Latinos in higher education, the role of Latino families in child education, the Philadelphia Semilla Arts Initiative, Mexican immigrant women's health services, the impact of immigrant deportation on families, Latinos in the workplace, and many others. In two performances, dancers will interpret Aztec history and the University's Latin Jazz Ensemble will accompany University students in a celebration of Latin rhythms.

Carlos Vargas-Aburto, the acting president of Kutztown University, will deliver the keynote at lunch at 12:30 p.m. Since 2006, he had served as KU's chief academic officer, then provost and vice president for academic and student affairs.

He will discuss how Kutztown University has been successful in increasing the enrollment and retention of Latinos students there. Over a five-year period, KU's Latino enrollment increased by 28% and in 2012, 10% of entering freshmen were Latino.

Vargas-Aburto will examine these increases within the context of the growing Latino population in southeastern Pennsylvania and address challenges that remain for KU and other universities and proposed strategies to address them.

Registration opens at 8 a.m. Sessions begin at 9:30 and last through 6 p.m. While the conference is free and open to the public, pre-registration is required. The keynote luncheon costs $12.

ACT 48 and Continuing Education credits will be available for educators and social workers for $10, payable to West Chester University by check only.

Complete schedule and online registration.