By Sabrina Garone
From Oct. 27 to Oct. 29, 10 student leaders from Sacred Heart University attended the Lead365 National Conference in Orlando, Florida.
The annual conference invites student leaders from universities across the country to participate in various workshops in order to enhance their leadership skills, workforce preparedness and individual growth.
According to their website lead365.org, the goal of the event is to “develop student leaders to be prepared to serve the greater social good 365 days a year.”
The Sacred Heart students that attended the conference were selected by the university’s Department of Student Life. The department also awarded the students a grant to cover the cost of travel.
“These students were selected to attend the conference through an application process,” said Katie Morovich,
Student Life Graduate Assistant and advisor on the trip.
The students selected held leadership positions in various organizations on campus such as Residential Life, Student Ambassadors, Orientation Leaders, Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), Greek Life and Student Government.
“My hope as an advisor, and in bringing the students to this conference, was to inspire them to be an example of effective leadership on our campus, and hopefully start a chain reaction,” said Morovich.
The event was hosted at the Hilton Hotel Orlando. Upon arriving, attendees gathered in the main conference area where they were introduced to the event speakers and the goals of the conference.
Students were then allowed to choose the sessions and workshops they wished to attend based on their personal interests and areas where they felt they needed improvement.
“The students tried to separate as much as possible so they could discuss the different sessions with each other once the weekend had concluded,” said Morovich. “This allowed them to take the information learned from the conference and think about how it could be applied to their leadership setting at Sacred Heart.”
Each workshop revolved around one of Lead365’s main themes stated in the conference’s tag line, “Explore. Engage. Evolve.”
Workshops relating to “explore” discussed the idea of setting goals, not just for the sake of setting them.
One “explore” workshop that tackled this idea was entitled “#StopSettingGoals #StartAchievingThem.” Students were encouraged to think of goals for themselves that were attainable within the next 90 days, then discuss them with peers to further the meaning and purpose behind them.
Reflecting the idea of “engage” were workshops that discussed the importance of communication. “Getting and Giving Feedback” was a lecture that emphasized directness and honesty when giving feedback to co-workers.
“Having to engage with so many new people brought me to realize that creating positive environments for teamwork can be easy when you are able to communicate effectively,” said junior Savanah O’Donnell.
Relating to “evolve” were workshops that focused on self-reflection. “Lemonade Experience: Where Leadership Meets Healthy Relationships,” discussed the idea of surrounding yourself with the right people who will encourage you to succeed rather than tear you down.
“Reflecting back on everything I learned, I think the most important part of the Lead365 tagline was ‘evolve,’ where I reflected on how to embrace who I am, and how to start facilitating change in diverse settings,” said O’Donnell. “Having the opportunity to attend this conference was an amazing experience that I would recommend to anyone who has the chance to apply.”