Niagara Leadership Summit to help students overcome barriers

2016summit-laytonristo

This upcoming weekend Brock will host its second annual Niagara Student Leadership Summit.

In 2011 the event began as the Brock Residence Leadership Conference and was led by the Department of Residences. It later became known as the Brock Student Leadership Conference. Last year, Brock decided to work together with Niagara College to create what we now know as the Niagara Student Leadership Summit, which serves as a region-wide conference for youth to develop and grow their professional leadership skills.

In the past, the conference came at a cost to Brock and Niagara students alike and often cost 20 dollars per person. This year, The Student Life and Community Experience department made the entire event free. Attendees will also be provided with a complimentary lunch.

“I think that this conference is so important for Brock and the surrounding communities because it really gives people who have ties to the community a chance to see what Niagara-region students are doing with our time,” said Village Head Resident and fourth-year Concurrent Education student, Iain Beaumont, “through this conference, people can see that we [as a generation] have an investment into today’s issues and are passionate about becoming innovators.”

Beaumont made sure to emphasis that students in attendance will be provided with information that will help them excel in all aspects of their life.

“Not only that, but it gives [students] a chance to show off [their] skills and to develop insight and expand each other’s horizons in the ‘mainstream’ and academic worlds,” said Beaumont.

While last year’s theme for the summit was broadly focused on exploring leadership, this year’s theme is more centralized on overcoming physical and mental barriers to become a leader, according to Jonah Graham, the Project Lead for this year’s summit.

“We chose this theme because we realize that people have hard times in their lives where they believe that they can’t do something,” said Graham.
“This can be attributed to mental and physical barriers and it’s important for people to know that it’s possible to get beyond such barriers.”

As was organized in the past, the summit will feature a variety of presentations conducted by Brock students, as well as professional speakers.

“My staff team and I will be presenting about offering opinions which go against the hive-mind grain,” explained Beaumont, “we want to show people that it is okay to challenge others thoughts and opinions, that it is okay to challenge for change so long as that challenge is productive.”

Furthermore, the keynote speaker for this year has been announced as the inspirational and optimistic speaker Stuart Ellis-Myers, who is also known by the self-acclaimed nickname ‘Twitchy’. Ellise-Myers lives with tourette syndrome and aims to change the way people view themselves.

“Our keynote speaker is a man with tourettes that has overcome all odds and become a successful public speaker,” said Graham. “We want to show people that there are those with physical and mental barriers that exist who were not limited in their potential due to their barrier.”

More so, the summit will also welcome Brock’s own, Jessica Lewis, a Paralympic athlete in the Summer Games.

“If you think you can’t do something, chances are that you’re wrong,” said Graham, “we want to help you realize that you can.”

 

Students interested in attending this year’s conference can contact studentlife@brocku.ca.

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