Dr. Vijay Pendakur
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs at California State University, Fullerton
The Will to Dream: Cultivating the Radical Imagination
From coast to coast, American higher education finds itself in a moment of deep contestation. Campus climate issues that have long troubled our communities and marginalized certain group members have been brought to the forefront by student activists and inspired collective action. Students have staged sit ins, hunger strikes, and occupations of administration buildings, all with the intent of fundamentally transforming the American academy into an institution more representative of the diverse identities and ideologies of today’s college student. The students’ demands are broad and deep and university faculty and staff leadership find themselves locked in often tense, heated exchanges with community members that want change now. This keynote is for community members engaged in the work of transforming our universities and colleges to be more inclusive, justice, and even liberatory for people of color, LGBT students, and others at the periphery of dominant culture. By blending critical race theory, personal storytelling, and inspirational provocation, Dr. Pendakur will work to inspire and empower audience members. The keynote will begin a dialogue about how we sustain ourselves while we do the important work of campus change and community mobilization. Audience members will leave with new challenging ideas to consider as they do their justice work, as well as a deeply restored sense of vitality and resilience.