By Mady Johnson – mjjohnson@csbsju.edu

The CSB and SJU Senates hosted the inaugural Student Leadership Summit this past Sunday, Feb. 26 at CSB. Their goal was to connect the diverse range of student leaders on campus and provide them with an opportunity to learn how to lead effectively from their peers as well as from professionals.

Student leaders from all CSB/SJU clubs, organizations and sports teams were invited to attend the six-hour summit that included a team-building activity hosted by JEC, various guest speakers, a provided lunch and small-group breakout sessions.

The keynote speaker for the event was Microbiologics CEO Brad Goskowicz. He spoke to students about being innovative in leadership and instilling trust in team members, CSB Senate President Elizabeth Erickson said.

There were six options to choose from for the breakout sessions. The participants were asked to attend three of the six sessions. The available courses covered the importance of leadership, diversity and inclusion, conflict in student leadership, project management, models for leadership and how to translate leadership on campus into a career.

Johnnie Java General Manager and CSB senior, Katie Wesche, attended the Student Leadership Summit with specific motivations in mind.

“I just thought it was something that would be really helpful in thinking of next year when new managers come in play,” Wesche said. “I think it’s really important as a student-run venture to go and support other ventures. And I think meeting like that is really important in talking to people and seeing how other teams are doing.”

By the end of the day, Wesche had met one of the main goals that the Senate team and their advisors had in mind for the summit, which was to connect the different types of leadership that are present on campus.

“You got to get to know other people’s groups and what they do, and you realize that other people are dealing with the same issues,” Wesche said.

To brand the event and help students retain information they learned throughout the day, the senates created merchandise which adorned a custom Student Leadership Summit logo. The merchandise, namely t-shirts and notepads, were given away to attendees.

“A big part of these types conferences that we’ve seen in the past…is that people a few weeks later will kind of forget all those really cool motivations that we had. So, we are kind of hoping by having some take-homes they would just see the logo and be like ‘oh yeah, I was going to work on this within my leadership’,” Erickson said.

Both Erickson and CSB Dean of Students Jody Terhaar said they were pleased with the outcomes of the summit and they anticipate hosting it again for future student leaders.

“We’re hoping that it becomes something that the Senate kind of takes over and continues to do every year. I think that’s a big role of the Senate, is to bring together students on campus,” Erickson said.

There was also discussion of making the summit a biannual event.

“I think you could easily put together two high-quality conferences, one a semester, if people had a commitment to being part of it,” Terhaar said.

Terhaar also said future Student Leadership Summits will be formatted largely the same as this inaugural year’s conference. It will be adapted as necessary to coincide with awaited student feedback.