The 2011 Leadership Summit was the first time where student leaders from across campus, not just student government, came together to discuss the idea of leadership.
Feedback after the summit has been positive and many students had great things to say about the guest speaker, Lieutenant Colonel George “Mark” Bond. The evaluation summary given directly after the summit indicated that 92% of students would like to participate in another summit. However, the question that remains is whether or not students feel they have been able to use the skills learned and implement the leadership practices explored during the summit. Not only does this important feedback identify whether or not the summit was helpful, but it will most likely determine the changes made to any future leadership summits.
Senior Drew Clark, this year’s cross-country team captain, is not one to take his leadership role lightly. When asked whether the summit helped him, he was very quick to reply in the affirmative. Clark commented that “being a team captain is more than just conducting on the field, it’s more of a lifestyle thing.” Clark recognized the need to be a good leader because of how close the cross-country team is, realizing he’s not just dealing with athletes but friends and family members. According to Drew, the Leadership Summit has helped him learn when and how to communicate and how to discern those moments where he should step back and leave a situation alone. “Ever since I’ve been learning about leadership, and with the help of the summit, I have been able to recognize appropriate times to lead, [and] appropriate times to let others lead,” said Clark.
Positive results from the summit can be seen in other leadership roles, as well. Eric Pagett, the House President of Lowrey, mentioned that “the Leadership Summit emphasized the importance of effective communication,” which Pagett believes has helped him aid the house board in meeting their goals. Pagett appreciated a point made during the summit: that it is tempting to “beat around the bush” when leading a group of friends because uncomfortable conversations sometimes arise. He walked away from the summit recognizing the importance of being honest and direct in order to accomplish what needs to be done.
As mentioned earlier, the theme of the summit was “Leading with Courage.” During the summit, students were told that courage is built on a foundation of 7 C’s: conscience, caring, conviction, clarity, commitment, confidence and culture. Student senator Christine Nacewicz said she gained a new sense of confidence because of the summit. “I’ve been a little less fearful when I go to do something, and I’ll be more willing to take charge of something,” said Nacewicz. Christine also appreciated an analogy brought up during the summit that described an Indian chief speaking to children about two wolves that are fighting. One represents envy and other negative qualities, while the other represents honesty, persistence and positive qualities. When asked which wolf would win, the children replied, “the one that you feed.” Christine felt that she gained great insight from this analogy and believes “it applies to everything.” The analogy helped her understand that if she is confident in herself she “can accomplish so much more.”
Whether it’s wolf analogies or the emphasis on effective communication, the summit was a success. Student leaders from all over campus can go forward with courage after learning some important ideas about what it means to be a leader.