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Purdue focuses on youth at 2011 Indiana Black Expo

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Encouraging youth to focus on their academic and community service goals while developing life skills are the themes that Purdue University is supporting at the 41st annual Summer Celebration of the Indiana Black Expo in Indianapolis.

Indiana Black ExpoThe Expo started July 7 and concludes on Sunday (July 17). Purdue is sponsoring the Youth Empowerment Summit Friday (July 15) through Sunday, which is themed “A Call to Action.” The three-day event is designed to expose young adults to key life skill training. In addition, the summit offers training to youth service workers.

“We are pleased to partner with Indiana Black Expo to positively impact young adults in the state of Indiana. The life skills presented during the conference, along with the opportunities for engagement and volunteerism, are very important for today’s young people,” said G. Christine Taylor, vice provost for diversity at Purdue. “We also want students to think seriously about preparing for college, and we want them to be aware of the awesome opportunities that are available at Purdue. We want to make a difference with students in Indiana.”

A new feature of the summit this year will be the Super Friday initiative on Friday (July 15). The program, open to all youth ages 11-18, is expected to triple the number of student participants.

As part of the Friday event, Purdue will host an “Explore Purdue” program. The two-hour interactive experience with representatives from several colleges and departments is designed to increase awareness about academic programs and related initiatives at Purdue.

“Super Friday extends the opportunities of the youth empowerment summit to more Indiana students, and we are excited to be a part of that,” Taylor said.

Workshop topics for the rest of the youth summit will include preparing for college, developing strong leadership skills and effective event planning.

There also will be a Purdue informational, featuring various academic and multicultural programs for prospective students.

Purdue also will sponsor an exhibition booth where visitors can learn more about the university’s programs and services. The booth’s theme is, “What we make moves the world forward.”

“Black Purdue,” a feature-length documentary that chronicles the experiences of African-American students at Purdue since the 1890s, will be shown in the booth. BoilerBytes, the news magazine program that is telecast on the Big Ten Network, and a new television commercial for Purdue also will be featured.

Taylor said many help Purdue’s efforts at the Summer Celebration. “This is a collaborative initiative with many partners throughout the university,” she said. “We will have a very strong and engaged institutional presence at this year’s event through our participation in the youth empowerment summit and at the Exhibition Hall. We invite people to stop by to see Purdue’s booth.”

Purdue’s solar car and Rube Goldberg machine are two highlights of the 2011 booth. They are scheduled to be at the booth Saturday and Sunday (July 16-17).

The Purdue Black Alumni Organization will host a Summer Jazz Reception from 6-10 p.m. on Saturday (July 16). The Jerrell Smith Project is performing at the Skyline Club in Indianapolis. The cost is $15 per person, and those interested can register in advance at or pay at the door.

The Expo’s Summer Celebration is the largest ethnic and cultural event of its kind in the nation and attracts more than 350,000 attendees annually. It provides networking, educational, career and cultural opportunities for participants. Through events such as the celebration, the Expo generates resources to support its key initiatives, including education. Since 1984, the Expo has awarded more than $2 million in scholarships to 2,000 Indiana students.

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