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Leadership, importance defined at spring conference

At the spring Leadership Conference on Sunday, students learned that they need to think of themselves as passengers.

“You’re a leader because you’re going some place that others want to be,” Dafina Lazurus-Stewart said. “Thinking of yourself as a passenger instead of a pilot will give you a better idea of what goes on in the cabin, instead of just in the cockpit.”

Lazurus-Stewart, associate professor in the Department of Higher Education and Student Affairs, gave an opening speech about what it means to be a leader. She said that it is important for leaders to think of themselves as a member of an organization instead of a officer or executive board member to know what the people that make up the organization are thinking.

She spoke about the vision and mission of being a leader; she also emphasized the importance of the climb to becoming a leader, not just being at the mountaintop.

“Leadership is the small things that no one else would notice,” Lazarus-Stewart said.

Ann Marie Chaya, part of NRHH, organized the event because she finds leadership important.

“There is always something new that you can learn about yourself and community so you can make positive changes,” Chaya said.

Lazarus-Stewart ended her speech by telling the students she was going to ask them a question, but before she asked the question, she told them the answer.

“Right here.”

“Now,” Lazarus-Stewart said, “where are my student leaders?”

The group all shouted in response, “right here.”

The event was comprised of three separate sessions each with five available workshops students could attend. The sessions included presentations with various groups such as Vision, Student Leadership Assistants, The Panhellenic Council and others. The workshop titles varied from “How to be an LGBTQ-Inclusive Leader” to “Disney’s Magical World of Leadership!” and “Fighting Apathy with Accountability.”

Most of the students attended for organizations they are involved with like Hall Council and SLA, but others went for their own benefit. Briana Stewart, a junior, went to learn more about herself as a leader.

“I am just trying to find out what I’ve already got [as a leader],” Stewart said. “I want to lead the way I lead.”

Caitlin Shortridge, a freshman, also attended for herself. She said her favorite workshop was one called Introverts as Leaders, a session about people who identify as introverts and their own abilities to lead.

“Being an extrovert, it’s nice to see a different perspective,” Shortridge said. “Also, how to handle situations and relationships with both introverts and extroverts.”

Freshmen Megan Reid and Kayla Sands both enjoyed the Disney workshop.

“I love Disney,” Sands said. “It’s such a passion of mine. It was interesting to see how I had become a leader through the little things they taught me subconsciously.”

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