Elena Sorrentino Managing Editor
Friday, April 6, Eastern held its ninth annual student leadership conference, hosted by LEAP. According to Eastern’s website, LEAP is “a three tiered personal student leadership program to enhance campus culture by providing leadership training experiences for students. The program encourages students to explore their own individual leadership development potential.” The theme for this year’s conference was The Building Blocks of Leadership.
The event was broken up into several different sessions throughout the day, kicking off at 2 p.m. with an introduction and an activity. Students were asked to write a quality that they thought was necessary for a leader on a Jenga block, then they discussed it with the rest of their table and used their combined words to build a tower.
After this, the day was broken up into multiple sessions and talks that students could go to. These presentations were put on by professors as well as student activities and career center staff. Some of the topics covered were public speaking, networking, time management, and dealing with conflict.
There was a wide variety of presentations, so that students had a choice to go to the talks that would benefit or interest them the most. It was not necessary to be interested in leadership – several of the talks were applicable for students on the internship hunt or looking for help on their presentation skills.
One session was “Let Freedom Ring,” presented by Chris Ambrosio, Interim Director of Student Conduct. In this he shared different stories and information about what is protected under the first amendment and what is not. Encouraging participation form the audience, his talk was not just helpful to leaders, but to any student who might wonder what is okay to share on campus.
After the sessions finished, LEAP brought in a guest speaker, Tim Mousseau. Through his talk, Tattooing Your Leadership Legacy, he shared his own insights into how he connects leadership to tattoos. According to his own website, “While every legacy should be just as meaningful as any tattoo, too often students are leaving their organizations with short-term accomplishments that disappear as quickly as a temporary tattoo. Even worse, students are leaving behind ugly scars that their organizations may later regret.”
Through this he emphasized the permanence of a legacy; people often take great care in choosing their tattoos because they know there will be no going back, but people do not often think this way about their actions as a leader. He stressed the importance of careful action and meaningful contributions. Another engaging speaker, he too would often call into the audience for students to share their own stories about their tattoos.
After all of the presentations, students were given a catered dinner of chicken and waffles, and left to mingle with the other leaders around them. There was a raffle of prizes, including a $150 gift card to an airline and a $50 Mastercard gift card. Students were able to go home reflecting on everything they had learned.
“Too often students are leaving their organizations with short-term accomplishments that disappear as quickly as a temporary tattoo.”