Inaugural First-Year Leadership Conference Set for SaturdayWith an intentional focus on first-year students, the conference will build leadership skills and encourage student growth and engagement.
Posted on March 13th, 2019 by

This Saturday, Gustavus will host its first-ever leadership conference that specifically focuses on first-year students. Conceived by Andrea Junso and Charlie Potts in the Dean of Students office, the event offers early leadership education for students and seeks to spark a desire to pursue leadership positions on campus.

“Gusties are so involved in life outside the classroom, and we know that finding places to plug into leadership roles starts in the first year,” said Charlie Potts ’01, Assistant Vice President for Student Life. The First-Year Leadership Conference will allow students to start building those organization and management skills early.

The conference, which will be held from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on March 16, 2019 in Cec Eckhoff Alumni Hall, will offer first-years a unique opportunity to gain confidence in their leadership skills. More information and a registration link are available online.

Keynote speaker Janet Lewis Muth.

The event will feature keynote speaker Janet Lewis Muth, Director of Health Promotion at Carleton College. Lewis Muth will provide a thoughtful, engaging message about well-being and about flourishing as a student leader. In addition to the keynote speaker, there will be other breakout sessions throughout the day featuring Gustavus faculty, staff, and students covering various aspects of leadership including skills, practices, and personal growth. There will also be various games, prizes, and food.

Zachary Croonquist ‘19, a psychological science and religion double major, was the student voice on the planning team for the conference. He is excited for students to hear keynote speaker Lewis Muth, and for first-years to experience a more inviting leadership conference than what might be seen typically.

“I hope first-years leave the conference with some tangible leadership skills and personal goals in hand,” Croonquist said. “It could certainly be intimidating as a first-year to be at a leadership conference with a bunch of upperclassmen, especially if they are still figuring out their academic and extra-curricular interests, but that won’t be the case.”

Potts echoed a similar excitement about the conference.

“We think this is a great venue for first-year Gusties to think about how to apply their personal values to leadership opportunities at Gustavus,” Potts said. “Leadership in any setting—whether it’s with peers, in the classroom, within organizations, on teams, etc.—is not just about checking the boxes and saying you’re a leader, it’s about aligning your abilities with your values and inspiring others to act.”

The planning team recognized how leadership skills go beyond extracurricular involvement and are important both inside and outside the classroom. This conference helps students apply their leadership skills to all aspects of their lives.

“We want participants to have an opportunity to learn about their personal leadership skills and styles, to reflect on personal experience and discuss how past experiences influence future opportunities, and to learn how to apply personal values and interests to leadership opportunities on campus and beyond. And we want to have fun while doing those things,” Potts said.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad


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