The students of the University of Minnesota Morris (UMM) believe that working with the MNCA to host MOCC will allow us to add our unique rural experiences to the Minnesota OUT! Campus Conference (MOCC). The theme this year is “Connecting to Our Roots: Where We’re From and Where We’re Going.” We chose this theme for several reasons. We wanted to show that there are vibrant lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, asexual, and two spirit (LGBTQIA2S+) communities in rural spaces. We also wanted to share the stories of the challenges and struggles we encounter and the stories of our resilience and community organizing efforts. We want to use this conference as a way to explore where all of us are from and to navigate a path into the future.
The students of UMM are hosting MOCC to empower student leaders and to build strength and solidarity within the LGBTQIA2S+ community through mutual learning and sharing. By inviting student leaders from across the state to our community we hope to encourage a conversation of many voices speaking from the perspectives of many identities all focused on discussing how we can best support LGBTQIA2S+ communities in the face of numerous challenges and limited resources.
Morris, Minnesota is a rural and, arguably, conservative town. In places such as Morris, opportunities to host events such as MOCC are few and far between. And, as such, hosting this conference means a great deal to us. We are proud of the work we have accomplished and hope to use this conference as a catalyst to create even greater change at our small campus and the community surrounding it.