Washington State University Pullman is set to host the Pacific Northwest Student Leadership Conference on Saturday, Oct. 2, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the SPARK building.
The conference is an opportunity for students to meet fellow student leaders, learn what leadership is, and build foundational leadership skills. It is expected to draw between 200 and 300 students from across the WSU system, as well as from other Northwest colleges and universities.
Ben Calabretta, associate director for Student Involvement and the Center for Civic Engagement, said most people view leadership through a positional lens, which puts an emphasis on holding a leadership position. The conference will teach students that the relational aspect of leadership – building good relations with others and working as a group toward a common cause – is just as important.
“This conference will expand the views students have about leadership,” he said. “I think it will be a great experience for them.”
Unlocking their potential
The conference will begin with a keynote address by Linnita Hosten, founder of the Excellence Academy. The Excellence Academy is a 16-week post-high school graduation plan that helps students build confidence, develop organizational skills, and create a realistic roadmap for achieving their goals.
Calabretta said Hosten is a high-energy speaker who will discuss how students can unlock their full potential. For her talks, she draws from her life experiences as a camp counselor, resident assistant, orientation team leader, cheerleading coach, college advisor, and professor.
Following Hosten’s speech, students will participate in several workshops on leadership skills and the many ways students can be leaders. Calabretta said participants will have about 15 topics to choose from, ranging from how to become a master event organizer to what ethical leadership looks like in times of crisis. He will direct a workshop on servant leadership.
“My workshop will discuss how students can support and inspire others to work toward positive change,” he said. “It’s about empowering others and yourself to do the best you can, no matter what you’re doing or where you are.”
Jill Creighton, associate vice president and dean of students in the Division of Student Affairs, will give the closing keynote address.
All students welcome
Calabretta encourages all students to attend.
“Even if students are not sure what it means to be a leader or if they can be a leader, this conference will help them explore how leadership applies to them,” he said.
Students have until Sept. 24 to register. The conference is free for students on the Pullman and Global campuses; others pay a small fee.
“Faculty and staff from across campus will provide students with a content packed day,” said Ashley Morehouse, leadership advisor in Student Involvement. “I can’t wait for everyone to convene for a day of connecting and learning.”