ATD is aware that college practitioners and others in the higher education field may have questions or concerns about the location of DREAM 2024, given ongoing legislative activity aimed at undermining diversity, equity, and inclusion work at Florida's colleges and universities.
Our organization was founded on the fundamental belief that community colleges must place equity at the center of institutional transformation efforts, as we believe that equity is the driving force to achieve the educational, economic, and social benefits of higher education for the students we serve. While we did not choose Florida in the midst of the current political environment (Orlando was originally selected as the site for our 2021 conference and then rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic), we determined, in consultation with Network college leaders, funders, and our board, that we must reflect our own values and commitment to equity-centered education and stand with all our Network colleges, 11 of which call Florida home, and the many thousands of students they serve. In fact, we believe that continuing to create more equitable opportunities for our students to succeed and strengthening the communities we serve is perhaps one of the strongest responses we can make in the face of the current political headwinds.
Why is Achieving the Dream hosting DREAM 2024 in Orlando, Florida?
Orlando had been selected as the site for DREAM prior to the current legislative activity around diversity, equity, and inclusion at Florida's colleges and universities. In making our decision to stay in Florida, we communicated candidly and drew feedback from within the ATD Network, discussing this decision informally and formally with Network college leaders, funders, and our board of directors. Those conversations redoubled our conviction that, as an organization, we must stand by our values, with our colleagues in Florida, and for our students.
Will new laws in states like Florida that aim to undermine DEI work at colleges and universities affect the focus of ATD’s work or impact DREAM 2024’s content?
No. Achieving the Dream was founded on the fundamental belief that community colleges must place equity at the center of institutional transformation efforts to ensure that all students succeed. Equity was one of our core founding principles, and it remains at the center of our work. Our Equity Statement says that we believe equity “is the driving force to achieve the educational, economic, and social benefits of higher education for the students we serve.” We believe that to be true for students at any community college in any state — red, blue, or purple — and we are laser focused on our vision to support community colleges as profoundly accessible hubs of learning, credentialing, and economic mobility that eliminate inequities in educational and workforce outcomes, no matter what state they reside in. Our focus on equity remains core to our work and will be manifested in DREAM 2024’s content, as our commitment to our values and our Network colleges must rise above partisan politics.
How will ATD create a welcoming and safe environment at DREAM 2024?
Achieving the Dream is committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive conference in Orlando. Badges will be required for admittance to sessions. Working with hotel security, we will employ measures to ensure that only badged attendees are occupying our sessions and spaces. Security will be on patrol at all times, and there will be a dedicated video dispatcher monitoring video cameras 24 hours a day.
The city of Orlando has received a perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index for nine consecutive years, based on the inclusivity of their municipal laws, policies, and services. Attendees will be welcome to use the restroom that matches their gender identity at the conference. All DREAM 2024 participants are expected to treat others with respect.
Florida law no longer requires a permit to carry a concealed handgun. Will guns be allowed in the hotel facility and at the conference center?
The hotel is unable to ban guns on the property, due to state legislation. However, ATD will have signage pointing to the fact that DREAM 2024 will be a weapons-free zone.
How will ATD address uninvited guests? DREAM 2024 is a closed event, exclusive to our registered attendees, ATD colleagues, and vetted partners. We will have multiple teams in place to ensure the safety of our attendees and will continue to share relevant updates as the event approaches.
Where may I direct my questions or comments prior to and during DREAM 2024?
You are welcome to send your questions and comments prior to DREAM 2024 to email@example.com. While at DREAM we encourage you to contact a member of our ATD team at the DREAM registration desk. If an urgent matter arises, operators will direct your call to hotel security via the house phones.
ATD respects that some members may choose not to attend DREAM 2024 due to Florida state policies. As always, we will do our utmost to share learning from the conference with those not in attendance via our services and all other events — both virtual and in person — held throughout the year. Click here for more information.
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