WRITTEN BY: Gloria Ilunga, is a second year University College student and former Programming Assistant at University College.
Photo By: UC Student Life Staff
When trying to bring an idea to life there are a number of steps that people typically follow. From brainstorming to delegating tasks, a lot of work goes into creating an event or an initiative from an idea. When we began planning University College’s leadership conference, UConnect, I knew that I could learn a lot from the Student Life staff and the students around me regarding the various components of event planning. Although I did learn a lot in that regard, what has had the greatest impact on me was the incredible difference that having a good team could make.
The UConnect student committee consisted of a number of student leaders from University College. Our goal was to create a conference to provide students who may not have been very involved in the past with the opportunity to gain some leadership skills, connect with groups on campus and build community at our college. We met often and discussed our hopes for the conference, the best ways to cater to student needs and our progress on the event. What I didn’t realize until later on, was the impact that small gestures had on creating community, not just through the conference but also on the journey to UConnect.
Along the journey, we all became more and more invested in the conference because we had seen the conference grow from an idea. What made the biggest difference for me was a shared commitment to communication and the ways in which every member of the student committee took ownership of the tasks involved in creating a great conference.
The commitment to communication was fostered through our regular meetings, discussions with the committee, and the implementation of suggestions and ideas. This helped to set a tone for what we wanted the planning experience and the conference to be. We wanted this to be a conference that catered to the needs of students in developing their leadership skills. Taking on a bottom-up approach in planning this event helped to open up the barriers to communication and enabled us to speak freely and contribute to the team through the sharing of our ideas, suggestions, concerns and experiences.
I believe that due to our commitment to communication, taking ownership of the conference came organically. Allowing everyone to take on some of the tasks they felt passionate about further encouraged and fueled this commitment to work hard and leave our mark on this new conference. Ultimately, this helped us reach our goal of hosting an impactful conference that will live on for years to come.
UConnect promo video: https://www.facebook.com/StudentLife.UC/videos/580849468735936/