Today: Jun 18, 2024

Prospective leaders come together

Kelsey Mix – Copy Editor

The Student Government Association’s Leadership Commission hosted the 2012 Leadership Retreat this summer based on the idea that a happy and healthy leader is a productive leader. “Be the Best You” was the title and main focus over the course of the three days.

The retreat was held for current and future student leaders at Southern starting August 21st and ending on August 23rd.

Stefan Keller, a Southern graduate, kicked off the first day with a keynote entitled “Passion, Collaboration, Community.” Keller spoke about his journey to becoming a successful leader on Southern’s campus. These three words that he spoke of all intertwine and can help students grow into better leaders.

“It only takes one person to get something started,” said Keller during his presentation. “You’re all here because you have great ideas. Whether you’re just starting out, or you’re becoming a senior- or a super senior.”

He also told those in attendance about the importance of legacy. “It’s not always about being a leader; it’s sometimes about being a follower,” says Keller. “If you don’t share your ideas, they will never grow and make a change on our campus or even out in the real world.”

The second day featured a keynote by Sam Davidson, a speaker, author and entrepreneur who uses humor and stories to inspire college students to take action and change their communities. His presentation was all about how falling in love in the second grade changed his life. It was titled, “What My 2nd Grade Girlfriend Taught Me About Leadership.”

“My love for Jenny and your passion for your responsibilities in your organizations aren’t different in the slightest,” says Davidson. Jenny is the beautiful second grade girl that took Davidson’s world by storm at first sight.

Davidson started out in college as an Elementary Education major but quickly changed his mind when he realized how much he wanted to reach out and make a difference in the world. “There is no ‘One Day’ without ‘Day One,’” says Davidson. “The world needs more passionate people. Campuses need more students living out their passions.”

Both keynote speakers entertained the crowd, but they were also full of beneficial information that aspiring leaders can all use on a day-to-day basis on Southern’s campus or out in our communities.

During the last two days of the retreat, there were six breakout sessions for the students to attend which were varying programs pertaining to specific aspects of leadership. The programs ranged from time management to committing, to be physically active, to learning how to use the plotter in the resource room.

Dayna Clark, member of FLiP, First-Year Leaders in Progress, expressed her feelings about her favorite part of the retreat. “‘The Future Project’ with Stefan Keller was by far my favorite,” says Clark. “It was so inspirational to realize what we could do to better our New Haven community and change students’ lives.”

“The Future Project” is a new national education movement that focuses on helping high school students follow their dreams and positively impact the community.

Clark also says that she loves the opportunities that the retreat brings to new students, especially incoming freshmen.

Other big hits included “Advocacy as Servant Leadership” with Dr. Joseph Panza, a Recreation and Leisure professor, where he explained in depth the philosophy of student leadership. Also popular, Chermele Christi, Hall Director, taught her audience how to laugh in the midst of their stress.

Not only did the retreat host a handful of the area’s most inspirational speakers, but it also included fitness sessions aimed to relax and let students have fun.

Amanda Meador and the Fitness Center staff lead a group yoga session to start out the second day and a Zumba session on the last day to end the retreat with a bang. If you would like to participate in regular classes such as these, go visit for a complete semester schedule.

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