CU Students Attend Leadership Conference On The Wings Of Southwest Airlines

Published: March 8, 2006

An opportunity for University of Colorado at Boulder students to rub shoulders with national leaders during the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute's national conference in Chicago March 9-12 was made easier by a donation from Southwest Airlines.

As part of CU-Boulder's Collegiate Leadership Development Program, students, faculty and staff travel each year to the national conference to network and learn leadership skills from an array of speakers attending the conference, which is expected to draw about 6,000 people.

This year 40 people from CU-Boulder, including 27 students, are making the trip to participate in "Latino Leadership: Igniting Purpose, Passion and Power." Southwest Airlines is picking up the fare.

Speakers at the conference include New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez, New Mexico Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron, and Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez.

The partnership developed when Dallas-based Southwest Airlines entered the Denver market and met with local leaders to look for organizations focusing on training a diverse group of future leaders, according to Dale Trevino, director of CU-Boulder's Center for Multicultural Affairs, which offers the leadership program.

"The university's leadership initiative sparked our interest, because leadership is at the core of who we are," said Mike Munoz, Southwest Airlines' multicultural community affairs manager.

Founded during the 2000-01 school year, the Collegiate Leadership Development Program is a seven-week non-credit seminar designed to help connect underrepresented students and key university officials at CU-Boulder. Throughout the seminar, students meet with the chancellor, provost, vice chancellors and other campus leaders to learn how leadership structures function, particularly the university's, according to Trevino.

At the same time students help university officials gain a better understanding of the needs and concerns of underrepresented students. Nearly 200 students have completed the seminar.

"I will be giving a workshop at the conference, because the success of our program is gaining some national recognition," Trevino said.

The Collegiate Leadership Development Program is part of the CU-Boulder Center for Multicultural Affairs. For more information about the program call (303) 492-5667 or visit the Web site at