Do you want to develop and enhance your leadership skills and knowledge? Are you interested in discovering and engaging in leadership opportunities? Do you want to meet students curious about leadership and involved in leadership positions?
If your answer is YES! YES! and YES! then the BLUE and Ulead Student Leadership Conference is for you! This one day event focuses on building and developing key leadership skills while making connections with likeminded and involved students. The conference program includes a rich variety of workshops designed for all levels of leadership, a keynote speaker, and dinner!
Let’s take a look back at this years’ conference to learn more about the activities and workshops that took place!
The theme of the conference was Discover, Explore, Engage and Imagine! There are many stages to leadership development and this conference provided students with the opportunity to expand and enhance their knowledge.
Discover allowed students to uncover their potential by learning what leadership means, the values of being a pragmatic leader and the different styles of leadership.
Explore let students increase their self-awareness and leadership potential by accessing their strengths and utilizing their skills.
Engage encouraged students to take their leadership skills and knowledge and apply them in a collaborative setting. Whether it’s facilitating a meeting or resolving a conflict, recognizing a shared goal is essential for group development.
Imagine prompted students to take their advanced leadership techniques and apply them to the bigger picture. Imagine created outlets for students to connect with and create ideas that can be explored at U of T and the broader community.
We began the conference with icebreakers! This helped set an energized and welcoming tone, allowing students to establish connections with each other in a fun environment. We played rapid bingo where students had to “give out three high fives,” “take a selfie with someone,” or “find someone who had visited Spain” – just to name a few. This was followed by an activity called “What We Have in Common” facilitated by the Peer Leadership Facilitator team. Students mixed and mingled with each other while learning about their shared interests, hobbies, and passions.
The first session of the conference was a keynote by U of T’s very own Adam Kuhn (Director, Student and Campus Community Development) and Jerome Chang (Assistant Registrar, Trinity College). They got students to recognize that leadership is not a straight path but rather leaders must be flexible and adaptable to achieve their goals. We then set a personal goal through an interactive, paper folding activity where we wrote out the steps to accomplishing that goal.
After the keynote, we began our series of workshops that were structure around our four themes of discover, explore, engage, and imagine. The first set of workshops included:
- Living Your Leadership Dream – a panel of student leaders sharing the joys, rewards, challenges, and issued faced in their leadership roles.
- Explore Your Style Preference in Groups – students discovered their leadership style (analytical, driver, expressive, or amiable) and how to optimize their style in group settings.
- 64 Square Challenge – students were deep in the Amazon and had to use teamwork and communication to cross a river full of snapping turtles!
- Connecting With Your Community in a Meaningful Way – students explored the values, actions, and attitudes necessary to build and sustain a strong sense of community.
After a quick break, we had another set of workshops:
- What’s Your Legacy Going to Be? – students developed a better sense of their values and how they related to their leadership goals.
- Portrait of an Introverted Leader – students explored introversion and leadership to cultivate a personal portrait of their leadership development.
- Win as Much as You Can – a game show-based activity where students explored the concept of trust in a collaborative setting.
- Deconstructing Society – students explored issues and challenges faced by society to inspire a call to action.
To end the conference, students used the leadership skills and knowledge they harnessed and fostered at the conference to create a vision for themselves, U of T, or the broader community. This “vision tree” acted as a tool for students to meaningfully reflect and think of their leadership potential.
And that was a wrap on the conference! It was a huge success where individuals were able to collaborate, socialize, and connect with each other through shared leadership experiences and education. If you are interested in attending the BLUE and Ulead Student Leadership Conference next year, it will be in October 2016. Save the date and check back here for updates.