University Letter

UND's faculty and staff newsletter

Greater Grand Forks Women’s Leadership Cooperative connects with UND community through Writers Conference, LGBTQIA+ programming

The membership of Greater Grand Forks Women’s Leadership Cooperative continues to grow, and with that growth comes opportunity to connect with new audiences. In 2023, the organization is proud to announce programming that shines light on the University of North Dakota and its work in both the LGBTQIA+ community and the literary community.

On Thursday, Feb. 9, at 4:30 p.m., GGFWLC will host “Voices of Allies: Communicating Within the LGBTQIA+ Community” at the Prohibition Room in East Grand Forks. The panel-style event will include UND Pride Center Director Jeff Maliskey, Greater Grand Forks PFLAG founder Merie Kirby (also an associate professor in the UND Honors Program), and Grand Forks police officer Brian Samson, who serves as the force’s Cultural Diversity Officer and teaches Intercultural Communication at UND.

The Feb. 9 event is free for GGFWLC members and $25 for non-members (advanced registration is required at All are welcome. The evening will begin with a 30-minute social with complimentary apps and a cash bar, followed by the panel discussion at 5 p.m.

Throughout February and March, GGFWLC will make the UND Writers Conference the center of its biannual book study. Organizers have chosen books by two of the conference’s featured writers – Juliet Patterson and Ingrid Rojas Contreras – to discuss across three reading cohorts. The groups will then have the opportunity to attend UND’s public readings during the March 23-25 conference.

“As a proud UND alumna, I know the university is a treasure trove of new knowledge and perspectives,” said GGFWLC president Kaylee Cusack. “I’m so appreciative that we can connect our members with the illuminating offerings the campus community provides.”

The quality of programming in February and March alone is reason for prospective members to take advantage of GGFWLC’s limited-time membership special. For only $50 (half of the annual membership fee), new members can sign up for a six-month membership that includes monthly socials/events, along with a reduced registration price for the season-end June social, which drew nearly 100 women in 2021 and 2022. This year, the social will be held at the North Dakota Museum of Art, yet another spotlight on the UND campus. The $50 membership special runs through Feb. 13 and can be accessed at

Please reach out to Kaylee Cusack ( if you would like to set up an interview or photo opportunity. To learn more about GGFWLC, visit

About Greater Grand Forks Women’s Leadership Cooperative

The Greater Grand Forks Women’s Leadership Cooperative is a nonprofit organization that seeks to champion the personal and professional lives of women by providing a holistic approach to leadership and well-being. It was formed in 2018 by local leaders in order to empower women to realize their full potential at work, at school, at home and in their community by connecting members through acts of service, development and self-discovery.