Student Leadership Conference

Written by Madison Otten

On Friday, Sept. 14, the Rocky Mountain Room was home to a crowd of students, FRCC faculty, staff, and special guest speakers.

The National Society of Leadership and Success, TRIO, Career Success Center, Advising, and Student Life helped create and host the first-ever Student Leadership Conference.

Presenters touched on different aspects of leadership,  responsibility, and the effects of social media. They challenged students to strengthen their capabilities and to investigate the origins of leaders.

TRIO Director Liz Schwebach was inspired to bring a conference to FRCC after attending a professional conference.

“We were just chatting, and I thought to myself, as a student, I never had an opportunity to go to any kind of conference, and I would imagine that most students don’t today,” said Schwebach. “I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be pretty neat if students had the opportunity to learn, and in a condensed setting, the way professionals do about a specific topic?’”

FRCC President Andy Dorsey was one of the two keynote speakers who presented to the variety of attendants; he spoke on his life experiences and his rise to the position of FRCC President.

Dorsey gave a presentation on the responsibilities leadership entails. He emphasized how important it is for students to utilize their own capabilities in finding opportunities to develop their skills.

“I hope it helps students build more confidence in their ability to make change in the world,” said Dorsey. “I think this event is one of many opportunity at the school for students to get the skill and motivation to be successful there are also lots of other important opportunities; including NSLS, Phi Theta Kappa, TRIO program, student newspaper, etc. But I think this conference is a great addition.”

During lunch, participants listened to the second keynote speaker Crisanta Duran, Speaker of the House for the Colorado Assembly.  Duran noted how important is was for students to take charge and use their voices, not only in the voting boxes but within their communities.

“There are a lot of ways we can build our communities; we need to get more young people in the political process,” said Duran. “ I think it’s important for people not to underestimate their ability to change the world.”

While Duran’s segment focused on taking charge, other speakers highlighted looking deeper into the leaders and understanding them as people rather than legends.

“I feel like, thus far, you’re able to relate better to other leaders,” said Noah Parker, FRCC student. “Being able to look at past leaders and realize that they weren’t always leaders, that they had to come from somewhere, is encouraging.”

The conference’s centerpoint was what it means to be a leader, which as Schwebach said, means growing and developing as an individual.

“We looked at it as an opportunity to partner with faculty where we could bring minds together in a platform where students could learn, engage, and think about what gift they want to give their future selves,” Schwebach said.  “We want them to really think about how we can start planting those seeds now so they can be a better version of themselves down the road.”

Schwebach confirmed that there would be a leadership conference in the fall of 2019. Another opportunity for leaders to grow, will be a leadership retreat hosted by Student Life at the YMCA of the Rockies during the spring semester.

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