Director of Programs and Events Eric Highers
Q: Tell us about your work experience and educational background.
A: I come to MSCSA after working as an Office Manager for Grassroots Solutions, an awesome consulting firm that specialized in grassroots organizing and engagement. Prior to that I was working with PFund Foundation as the Regional Fellow and Public Ally (as part of the AmeriCorp funded program, Public Allies) to implement a field assessment of the Upper Midwest Region's LGBTQ movement infrastructure, with the aim to help PFund become more responsive as a small community foundation and to energize the movement during the process. Before moving to Minneapolis I was working in Chicago, IL for an educational nonprofit called the Chicago Center for Urban Life and Culture as their LearnCHICAGO Program Coordinator, where I helped plan, coordinate, and execute short-term programs that connected students to resources in the city to expand their own understanding of their academic interests. I graduated from Albion College, in 2012 with a BA in Sociology, Anthropology and Ethnic Studies. While there I was heavily involved with community organizing around issues pertaining to students of color, LGBTQ students and around the Ethnic Studies department. During my undergrad, I also worked for the Office of Intercultural Affairs and completed an internship for an HIV/STI prevention clinic in Chicago called Vida/SIDA, that focused primarily on supporting LGBTQ Latin@s. Throughout all of these experiences I developed important skills around event planning, educational programs, and community organizing.
Q: What interested you in working for MSCSA?
A: I was deeply captured by the mission of the organization, which is ultimately to advocate for the collective interests of students in higher education at 2-year institutions. Thus, the idea of galvanizing student leaders to advance progress on key issues and to support them in building upon their leadership skills in the process sounded exciting! Through the history of key wins at MSCSA, its been clear that students can affect the change they want to see, and I'm looking forward to this unique professional experience.
Q: What are some of the things that you have been working on and are excited to work on in the future?
A: I'm excited to work on our conferences for the year and not only provide students with quality programming and workshops, but to create spaces for students to feel empowered! It seems the conferences are key places for students to begin considering the impact and issues they face as growing student leaders so I look forward to working with students to explore new ideas and concepts and to introduce new ideas of what leadership can look like! Its also been made very clear that diversity and inclusion are major issues that students want to address in their conference programming. I look forward to thinking through and brining in workshops that help students navigate those tough questions they'll have to consider.
Q: What interests do you have outside of work?
A: I have so many interests! I write and perform as a spoken word artist, I ride my bike everywhere in the cities, I enjoy gardening, and I love, love, love reading- which includes everything from awesome blogs, creative literature, and dense academic texts. I'm a giant nerd and I don't think that will ever change! I also love to exercise- it's the best way to keep myself mentally sane and still feel physically balanced. I enjoy exploring new vegan meals with my friends and I love to dance. Most importantly I spend my time with my friends and community in South Minneapolis thinking, planning and implementing new ways of trying to make our world a better place. The best change we can make is often at the local level, so most of my time is spent thinking about that, or trying to find that inspiration in the art around me.