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The North Wind

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Molly Birch
Molly Birch

My name is Molly, and I am in my second year at NMU. I come from Midland, MI, probably one of the most boring places on earth. However, we do have the only Tridge in the world, so that’s pretty nifty...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

UNITED conference teaches students diversity, understanding

Northern Michigan University is sponsoring the fifth annual Uniting Neighbors in the Experience of Diversity (UNITED) Conference to increase awareness and expose the campus and community to diverse issues.

The UNITED Conference will be held Sunday, Sept. 12 through Thursday, Sept. 16. The purpose of the conference is to affirm diversity as an important value at NMU, said Judy Puncochar, associate professor of education.  Puncochar is part of the planning committee for the conference.

“The UNITED Conference is a great way to develop knowledge and passion for diversity,” Puncochar said.

Everyone is encouraged to experience an event from each of the seven conference tracks, Puncochar said. Conference tracks are different ways that people can be UNITED.  The seven tracks are diversity, film, music and dance, art, research, food and service.  Each event is divided into one of these tracks.

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“UNITED offers wonderful speakers and great opportunities to create networks,” Puncochar said.

The featured speakers are Dr. Earl Smith, an expert on African Americans in sports and the sociology of interracial marriage, and Dr. Frank Chong, deputy assistant secretary for Community Colleges at the U.S. Department of Education. Several faculty members and students will also be presenting,  Puncochar said.

“I would love to see as many students and community members at the conference as possible,” Puncochar said.  “We had over 2,000 people attend last year, and we are hoping to break all attendance records this year.”

Mitchell Klett, associate professor of education, is on the planning committee with Puncochar.  The conference is an NMU project led by Puncochar with representatives from all over campus including faculty, staff, students and community members, said Klett.

“This is a great way to start the semester,” Klett said.  “The conference is all about diversity with entertainment, food and scholarship.”

With a few exceptions, which are noted on the schedule, all conference events are free and open to the public.  Events are held all over campus, including the Kaufman Auditorium and the DeVos Art Museum.

“In addition, anyone with Internet access may view presentations from the past four years on NMU’s Media Site Live page,” Klett said.

The conference begins with a performance by Keith Secola and members of the Wild Band of Indians at 7 p.m. on Sunday the 12th.  It closes on Thursday, Sept. 16 with jazz artist Troy ‘Trombone Shorty’ Andrews at 7:30 p.m. in the Kaufman Auditorium.

To learn more about the UNITED Conference, watch past presentations and see a schedule of the events, visit

UNITED conference 2010 scheduled events

Sun., Sept. 12

Official Opening of UNITED. Deladinas with Maggie Barch opens for Keith Secola: Belly dancing. Great Lakes Room of the UC from 7 to 8 p.m.

Featured performer Keith Secola with members of the Wild Band of Indians. Great Lakes Room from 8 to 10 p.m.

Mon., Sept. 13

Presentation by Dr. Lance Rintamaki on Stigma and Illness: The context of HIV. Great Lakes Room from 10 to 11 a.m.

Featured speaker Dr. Earl Smith giving a presentation on Unity through sport: The challenges of the 21 Century. Great Lakes Room from 2 to 3 p.m.

Presentation by Dr. Sandra Poindexter on Teaching in a multicultural program in Helsinki, Finland. Great Lakes Room from 2 to 3 p.m.

Presentation by Jian Sha and Jessie Burnett on the 2008 Sichuan Province earthquake and recovery efforts. Great Lakes room from 7 to 9 p.m.

Tues., Sept. 14

Live video from China featuring Jason Harper on China’s Cultural Cuisine.  Great Lakes Room from 9 to 10 a.m.

Presentation by international scholar Dr. Gregory Lobo on the Charismatic nation: The success of Uribismo in recent Colombian politics. Great Lakes Room from 11 a.m. to noon.

Dance performance by Step Afrika in the Forest Roberts Theatre from 7:30 to 10 p.m.

Wed., Sept. 15

Featured performers Second City; workshop on Second City Communications-Making Choices. Great Lakes Room from 2 to 5 p.m.

Featured performer Soulfege with Derrick Ashong in the Great Lakes froom from 7 to 10 p.m.

Thurs., Sept. 16

Presentation by Kaylee Place from the Marquette Branch of the American Association of University Women. Taking place at the Women’s Federated Clubhouse, 104 W. Ridge St. from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Official Closing of United and official opening of the International Performing Arts Series with Suprafunkrock jazz legend Troy ‘Trombone Shorty’ Andrews in the Kaufman Auditorium from 7:30 – 9 p.m.

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