UIC students join former VP Biden at leadership conference

Joe Biden in student selfie with UIC student and ThLB brother Troy Tolentino in front row

Troy Tolentino (right) was among UIC students who attended a leadership conference with former Vice President Joe Biden.

As former Vice President Joe Biden took the stage at the Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values (AFLV) Central Conference to address more than 3,000 fraternity and sorority leaders about sexual assault on college campuses, he was accompanied by UIC student leader Cristian Baeza.

Baeza, a junior who is a member of the Lambda Theta Phi fraternity, was one of 15 student leaders from UIC chosen to attend the conference in February in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The four-day conference was filled with workshops on leadership skills, community service and advocacy. Biden was there to speak about his “It’s On Us” campaign, which challenges college campus communities to make a pledge to end sexual violence on campus.

Hearing encouragement from Biden left a profound impact on Baeza.

“Being on stage with Joe Biden re-energized me and made me want to fight for [sexual assault prevention] even more on campus,” said Baeza, who is studying human development and learning at UIC.

“To have someone of that position to back up the position you fight for on campus gives it legitimacy, and you want to fight for it more. Just to hear his words of encouragement and to hear him talk about how you should step up, it motivates you.”

Kevin Cane, UIC’s director of Fraternity and Sorority Life, believes the conference is a tremendous opportunity for student leaders.

“It’s about finding your inner voice and understanding your own strengths, learning about others and the intersection between your strengths and others, and then understanding what it takes to move or drive a community forward,” Cane said.

Student fraternity and sorority leaders were selected to attend the conference after going through an application process.

Cane said opportunities like this help students to grow as community leaders.

“Students feel energized, enlivened and compelled to use their own individual strengths, learn from the diverse talents around them, and make a greater community change than they could alone,” Cane said.

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