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Student Life and Leadership Host Free ASUCI Summit

by: Ethan Johnson

photo credit: Esmeralda Bobadilla

UCI Student Life and Leadership hosted the Anteater Leadership Summit, offering students access to workshops as a way to provide support in the areas of leadership, inclusion, diversity and professional development on Friday, Jan. 24.

The summit consisted of various workshops, professional headshots and events like networking sessions at the Student Center at no additional cost to UCI students — the event was co-sponsored by the Center for Student Leadership, Campus Organizations & Volunteer Programs, Sorority & Fraternity Life, and the Student Outreach and Retention Center (SOAR), departments under Student Life and Leadership. However, the conference was not always free to attend.

“This year is the first year [the summit] is free,” program coordinator Selina Bustillos said. “In the first two years students had to pay, as they were receiving padfolios and a provided lunch… This year we had to pare [the summit] down a little because it’s on a Friday and students have class, and then we also wanted to make it more accessible by making it free. So, we are offering the padfolios and the headshots but weren’t able to provide lunch this year.”

The workshop, “Filter Free: Transforming Uncertainty and Failure into Your Interview Strength,” conducted by UCI marketing strategist Hai Truong, was discussion-based. Truong engaged and talked with students, presenting the idea of transforming struggle into strength, not only for interviews but for life in general.

“There is a lot of pressure to be perfect and if your career path doesn’t look like it fits into a neat box, and if you don’t think it’s okay to share or worth sharing, I would argue that the ability to talk about that in a way that makes you feel safe and powerful is really important,”Truong said. “No matter what background or how you identify, having that skill set is imperative in this kind of marketplace, and I just want to make sure people are equipped with some ways to navigate that process.”

One of the students that participated in Truong’s discussion was third-year Business Administration major Sabrina Shuss. 

“I was hoping it [the summit] would help me with interviewing — for jobs — and I was also hoping it would help me gain more confidence in myself to go out and get the job that I want,” Shuss said.

The summit also held various other workshops focusing on a variety of topics, including “Is Graduate School for You? Empowering Minorities Through the Perspective of First Gen Masters Students,” “Your Digital Self: Curating a Critical Digital Identity as a Student Leader” and “Get Involved! Campus Organization Leadership Panel.” 

The Leadership Summit has grown to include all UCI students within the past few years.

“Originally, it [the summit] started off specifically for campus organization and sorority and fraternity leaders, so it was smaller and targeted towards those groups and it was more focused on how to be a better organization leader,” Bustillos said. “We realized that that was a good core, but then we realized that there aren’t many other opportunities for leadership conferences at UCI. Since we’re under Student Life and Leadership, we decided to collaborate with our other campus partners and constituents to make it a little more broad and to reach a wider audience of students.”

Since its first leadership summit in 2018, Student Life and Leadership has revised the conference to accommodate and inform more students every year. By expanding its core curriculum and making its program more accessible, the Anteater Leadership Summit offers valuable resources free of charge to aid students in crucial career skill sets.

“I think the goal is to have an opportunity for students on campus to gain leadership skills without having to travel elsewhere or pay a lot of money…”How to be a better leader on their campus, but then how to be a better leader beyond that as well; skills that they can take beyond their time here at UCI,” Bustillos said.