The following blog is from Derrick Eason, a journalism student and intern for University Communications Services:
I wasn’t exactly bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 9 a.m. when I walked into the Campus Compass leadership conference, hosted by the Dean of Students office. I hadn’t shaved in almost a month. I had just pulled an all-nighter to finish a final paper for one of my classes, and my Concordia hoodie was covered in coffee stains.
Nothing says “student leader” quite like three hours of sleep and the same clothes you wore the day before, I was thinking.
I walked in, got my name tag and made a beeline for the coffee machine. As I stood in the corner staring over my cup, I noticed that the first few students arriving were wearing suits and other business-appropriate attire. At first I thought they were just a couple of overdressed keeners, but as each student leader filed in, I quickly realized my hoodie was the odd outfit out.
At first, I was awestruck and a little intimidated but by the time I had finished my first cup of coffee, I remembered that these were my fellow students. I poured myself another cup and decided it was time to dive into the world of student leadership. I found my assigned table, sat down and began to get comfortable with the people seated next to me.
Soon after, Andrew Woodall, Dean of Students, opened the day’s events with an address about what it takes to be a leader. He was followed by President Alan Shepard and alumnus Gabriel Brian Lopez, both of whom offered their own views on leadership.
After the speeches, the proceedings were handed to organizational consultants Emma Legault and Jonathan Braunstein. The first half of the day was dedicated to activities that allowed student leaders to discuss their associations. This proved to be beneficial for them as they got to flesh out the organizational goals of their associations and compare marketing and recruitment strategies with other association leaders to learn which ones work best.
I am not part of a student association but the student leaders asked me questions and valued my opinions, which thrust me into a consultant role. I started to feel more involved and I liked being able to get to know the leaders of our associations. It almost made me forget that I looked like Grizzly Adams.
After lunch, we moved into the second half of the Campus Compass event, which was focused on learning about effective leadership strategies. Through exercises and skits, we learned how to read members of our team and employ the best leadership strategies for each individual.
The students I spoke to all thought the event was helpful for two reasons: it was an opportunity to network with other student leaders, and to acquire some valuable skills in dealing with people. These are the skills that will help any university student make a smoother transition into the workforce.
This event was geared toward student association leaders, but the Dean of Students Office plans to offer similar programs, open to all students, that will help them prepare for the world beyond university. Other leadership workshops and resources are available to all students through Counselling and Development and the GradProSkills program for graduate students.
I could go on and on about what we learned at Campus Compass, but what impressed me most was the students who attended it. They were all driven and willing to help others. In his opening speech, Shepard said he was looking to us to be ambassadors of Concordia. After having spent a full day with the student leaders of Concordia, I believe that this group will do the university proud.
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