Experience. Leadership. That is the theme for the third annual Niagara Student Leadership Summit that is taking place this coming Saturday. This years goal is, “to engage students in meaningful skill-builders and encourage students to try new thing,” says Celyn Talaue, the project leader for this year.
The summit, which has its origins in the Brock Residence Leadership Conference and the Brock Student Leadership Conference, boasts an estimated attendance of 160 students. Unfortunately, due to the Ontario college strike, Niagara College will not be participating alongside Brock University this year.
The conference will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday with a talk from Sarah McVanel, a Brock alumni and one of the conference’s two keynotes speakers. McVanel, a graduate of the psychology program, is the owner of her own boutique firm, Greatness Magnified. McVanel is very much looking forward to the event. “I’m just thrilled to be coming back to where it all began.”
After McVanel, there will be TED talks followed by lunch, which will be provided to all participants free of charge. The afternoon will consist of a networking period and three blocks of workshops. The day will finish with a talk from the second keynote speaker, Brock Alumni, Chris Ventura. Ventura is the Community Engagement Manager to Pam Damoff, Member of Parliament for Oakville North-Burlington. His talk will be on the importance of a person’s five best friends.
Of the 26 speakers for this year, 23 of them are current Brock students. The remaining three consist of one community member and the two previously mentioned Alumni.
Through each of these sessions, students will have an opportunity to build their resumes through skill developing workshops, become better student leaders in the Brock community and to network with like-minded individuals. James Hall, president of the Kinesiology Students’ Association and BUSAC Faculty of Applied Health Sciences Councilor adds, “this summit [will help] students to overcome physical and mental barriers to become a leader, teaches how to pass leadership to fellow peers, and how one should present themselves as a role model to others.”
“It is never too late or early to start building your resume/portfolio. In such a competitive job market, it’s the soft skills that you learn outside of the classroom that is going to help you stand out,” says Talaue.
Hall, like Talaue sees tremendous value in the summit. The summit, “is where I saw first-hand how students could become authentic leaders and contribute to our campus community. There are truly no negatives to this Summit. I am a very strong advocate of this Summit and I will continue to recommend it in the future”, said Hall.
Sarah Singh, former president of the Residence Action Council, attended the conference last year and speaks very highly it.
“I felt very inspired after the conference last year! I highly recommend that students should attend if they are passionate about leadership and looking to build on skills to build their portfolio and not to mention, networking with amazing student leaders and motivational keynote speakers! The possibilities are endless, and I’m sure every person that attends can end the day feeling empowered!”
Besides attending this conference, Hall recommends that students interested in leadership join “on-campus student clubs and Brock’s student union. These activities require leaders to actively participate around campus and engage with fellow students.” Additionally, students can join the Brock Student Leadership Network or participate in one of the levels of the Foundations of Leadership course series. For more information, go to Brock’s Student Life and Community Experience Page under the “Leadership” tab or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For those interested in attending the Niagara Student Leadership Summit, registration is online on ExperienceBU and closes Friday, January 12. The summit will be held at Sean O’Sullivan Theatre on Saturday Jan. 13 from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
-Ana Ferreira, Assistant News Editor