GW leaders `accept the challenge’

The Student Activities Center hosted the fifth annual GW Student Leadership Conference at the Washington Marriott Sunday.

The all-day conference drew faculty members and more than 100 GW students to participate in interactive workshops designed to improve leadership skills.

Mike Gargano, assistant vice president of Student and Academic Support Services, said the conference “expanded out-of-classroom education.”

Gargano said students should get involved in the “problem-solving and decision making process facilitated by this type of program.”

The theme of the conference, “Accept the Challenge,” included topics such as personal marketing and dealing with sensitive issues.

Shweta Udeshi, vice president of the South Asian Society, said the conference had a balance between workshops designed for personal betterment and those detailing the logistics of managing a group.

“Unless you’re true to yourself, you can’t be an effective leader,” Udeshi said.

The conference was publicized through student organizations and schools to ensure a cross-section of student leaders and members of the student body were represented.

“By recognizing your own good and bad points, you can better understand where others are coming from,” said Gregory Schoefer of GW Hillel.

Event planning and management, and small group facilitation skills workshops concentrated on the details of managing a student organization.

Tips on effective publicity and networking offered methods to improve leadership skills as well.

Conference organizers targeted freshmen in the Emerging Leaders Program to attend the workshops. Freshman Sadia Asghar said the event exposed her to a diverse group of people.

“I hope the conference will help me to communicate better with fellow peers and co-workers,” said sophomore Christina Sanchez, a member of Latinos for Progress.

Preparations for the event began last March by a planning committee of nine students, which was led by co-coordinators Elizabeth Roberto and Jeff Marootian.

“It’s not about having the title of a leader but encouraging people to take leadership roles in everyday life,” Marootian said.

SA President Carrie Potter said she was impressed by the substantive content of the workshops and said task forces for specific issues would continue the work begun at the conference.

SAC officials said they support the idea of subsequent events with the possibility of sponsoring weekly or monthly leadership workshops.

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