From Superman to your average student body president, leadership comes in all different shapes and sizes.
What are the qualities that make good leaders? How do you determine whose advice is best to follow? Last weekend, UC Irvine’s Dean of Students hosted its 23rd annual Randy B. Lewis All-University Student Conference at the Doral Desert Spring Resort in Palm Springs, Calif. Like a gathering of the Justice League, this event called forth more than 240 students from various departments and organizations on campus, uniting them to pave the way for the future.
Presidents, supervisors and representatives from clubs to student facilities trained with one another through rigorous workshops geared toward helping them enhance their networking, communication and organizational skills. This two-day event consisted of a selection of sessions held by professional UCI staff members and specialists. Attendants chose the workshops they thought would be most helpful.
The theme for this year, ‘Anteater’s Anatomy,’ was inspired by the popular television series ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ The concept behind ‘Anteater’s Anatomy’ is to dissect the meaning of leadership and to fix the bridges that will bring more unity onto the campus.
Sessions pertaining to resume building and leadership career opportunities were especially helpful. It provided the conference with a sense of optimism that focused on uniting personal strengths with future career goals. Here, trained professionals from the Career Center hosted speeches for students, explaining what qualities companies look for and how the interview process works.
Another workshop focused on time-management issues and was lead by Sally Peterson from the Office of the Dean of Students. Each participant was given a packet of worksheets consisting of time sheets that allowed them to record their activities that span from an entire day to months. Peterson’s lecture covered areas such as procrastination, personal time and deadlines, while emphasizing that ‘wasting time is like wasting money.’ Peterson showed students that they should value time wisely so that, like an investment, managing one’s time well can come with great rewards.
Another highlight of the conference was a dance competition held at the end of the first day. Teams of students were separated into different areas of the hotel and asked to choreograph a 10-minute dance to a song selected by the staff. In order to win the hearts of the judges, each team was then challenged to come up with an impromptu dance during the second round.
Apart from all of the workshops and the group activities, students were given an opportunity to express concerns and questions to a panel of representatives including Sally Salinger, the dean of Undergraduate Education, Associated Students of UCI President Mohamed Eldessouky, Vice Chancellor Manuel Gomez and Chief of Police Paul Henisey. Topics included tuition fees and parking policies, which the panel agreed was problematic. Unfortunately, key speakers were unable to give alternative solutions to many of the problems but, hopefully, the session provided the administration with a view of what really bothers UCI students.
Chancellor Michael Drake also made an appearance, giving the opening speech about the qualities of true leadership. According to Drake, leadership is divided into four categories consisting of a mission or a plan, a vision of what you want to achieve, a system to determine your progress and the values that a good leader holds for themselves and others. Drake answered questions from students pertaining to the controversial law school scandal with surprising charisma and maturity. By treating each question seriously, he demonstrated the qualities that make a great leader, which includes taking personal responsibility for one’s decisions and actions.
Both workshops and events were intended to expand students’ minds toward the possibilities that await them in the future. After two days of developing and networking among other students, participants were left with an optimistic message of how change can be harnessed to help lead to a better future.