First Iowa State Fall Leadership Conference a success


Photo: Shiyao Liu/Iowa State Daily

Students listen to the lecture about conflict management on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010, in the Memorial Union. This conference was to teach students how to develop their personal skills to deal with conflict.

Frances Myers

The first ever ISU Fall Leadership Conference was held in the Memorial Union on Tuesday night.

The idea for the event started when Jennifer Nissen, program coordinator for leadership and service, talked to Catt Center for Women and Politics assistant director Julie Snyder-Yuly about the need to consolidate student organizations.

“We discussed how there needed to be less of an overlap between organizations, and we decided to put on an event that would be larger and more meaningful for anyone anywhere from a first-year student to a senior to a graduate student,” Nissen said.

Nissen and Snyder-Yuly recruited a group of 14 people from many different student organizations as well as faculty to serve as the main committee to help put the conference on.

One of the main duties the committee worked on was creating five tracks for students to choose from. Members threw out different ideas and chose the five tracks based on appeal.

“We wanted this event to appeal to all students, so we chose something a little different. There’s some that appeal to freshmen, some that appeal to seniors, some that appeal to students in organizations, as well as students who want to make their organizations better,” Nissen said.

Students chose one out of five tracks to attend for the night.

“We wanted them to pick the one they felt they were most interested in so they could delve deeper into that track,” Nissen said.

The five tracks this year followed three main themes: moving in, moving up and moving on.

Lacey Miller, freshman in family finance, housing and policy, said she decided to sign up for the conference because it would be a “good resume builder.”

Ben Britz, senior in mechanical engineering, said he felt the conference would be good in “increasing my skill levels in leadership, talking to people and interpersonal relationships.”

This year’s conference had a turnout of approximately 200 students.

Students started in interactive sessions then went to the Sun Room in the Memorial Union for dinner to listen to the student keynote speaker, Blake Hanson.

Hanson, junior in political science, spoke about the three main components of leadership in his speech — “initiative, action and perseverance.”

He emphasized that the most important definition of leadership is “the one you create for yourself. It should not be your mission to live up to someone else’s definition but to fulfill your own.”

Hanson said students can exemplify leadership by taking ideas they have and actually acting upon these ideas. He also spoke about how he used leadership in creating the university’s first pre-law fraternity, Phi Alpha Delta.

Hanson applied his three components of leadership to the conference’s theme.

“When you move in, it requires initiative to find out the roles on campus that enable leadership,” he said.

He encouraged students to attend such events as Clubfest and to meet other people.

“To move up, you must exhibit action and actively participate in all that you can,” he said.

Hanson said that when it comes to the last theme, moving on, “it takes that continued perseverance to ensure the work you have done serves you in the future.”