Annual leadership experience to begin this weekend

Anthony Weiland

For some, leading is natural. For others, it’s learned, and Iowa State is attempting to be the teacher this weekend.

Iowa State’s annual Leadership Experience conference will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in the Memorial Union.

Students who attend the event can gain leadership skills, take away new ideas to practice and network with leaders on campus, all while learning from knowledgeable presenters throughout the day. There is also free food provided, according to Student Activity Center’s website.

With three different sessions spanning throughout the day, offering seven presenters at each, students can choose what type of leadership experience they gain. The event is also set to feature two keynote speakers: ISU President Steven Leath and Olympic gold and silver medalist Shawn Johnson.

“Part of what being an Iowa State student is, is deciding what kind of experience you want to have,” said Kevin Merrill, leadership and service coordinator. “So the Iowa State Leadership Experience was designed to give students an opportunity to go to a leadership focused event where they can pick the different parts they want to go to.”

Lead Team, made up of students from different leadership roles throughout campus, is in charge of organizing the leadership experience. Merrill said the diversification of experienced leaders from clubs and organizations was “purposeful and intentional” to account for all students across campus.

“We brought together students of all years, all different kinds of majors and all different kinds of involvement so that we could represent and reach out to all students,” Merrill said.

Lead Team’s co-chairs, Ben Rurup and Kim Ferguson, have high expectations for this year’s event.

“One of our main goals for the leadership conference is for students to gain a feeling of accomplishment and confidence in their leadership abilities,” Rurup said.

Ferguson said the experience should be well rounded for all. 

“The leadership conference caters to all different personalities that will well-round all of the aspects of leadership and work toward students enhancing their leadership skills,” Ferguson said.

Lead Team encourages students to not “waste a Saturday” and attend the leadership conference to “grow [their] potential” and to gain a résumé-boosting experience.

“It’s really easy at this time of year to just waste your Saturday and relax, but this is one of those times where you can actually go do something for the day and take something out of it that you can use in your clubs, jobs or internships,” Merrill said.

All presentations will be given at the Memorial Union on the second and third floors with the keynote speeches in the Sun Room. Students are encouraged to register for the leadership experience on the Student Activity Center’s website, where a lineup of this year’s presenters is also available. Registration for the leadership experience is free of charge with lunch included.