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Campus News
Student Leadership Conference: Step Intro Sucess

By Andrea Salcedo | Posted October 20, 2014

Student Activities hosted the fourth annual Student Leadership Conference at Morton College on Saturday, Oct. 4. The conference is intended to give students tools to succeed and improve their leadership skills. This year’s theme was “Step into Success!”


The conference started with a presentation by keynote speaker Carlos Ojeda Jr., who shared his story with the audience. He was told at various points in his life that he was never going to graduate and make anything of his life. It took someone to believe in him to turn his life around.


Ojeda proved his instructors wrong by graduating high school and continuing his studies by getting a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, proving to everyone that “knowledge gives you power”.


He is now the head CoolSpeak and travels the country as a motivational speaker, encouraging students throughout the nation to get an education.


“Your voice is your power”, he repeated, inspiring students to use their voice to be successful leaders.


After Ojeda’s presentation, he hosted a workshop where students continued learning the power of knowledge. “Youth+Power=Change” is one of the most important ideas established. Students learned about when youth movements were instrumental in creating change, such as the Civil Rights Movement and the DREAM Act.


Students then participated in interactive activities where they formed teams and took on different tasks, such as making an origami swan, while practicing teamwork. The point was to use resources around you to gain knowledge, gaining power in the process.


Ojeda pointed out that “I don’t know” and “I can’t” should not be part of anyone’s vocabulary. He concluded his presentation by reminding students that “power is about service”.


The next workshop was given by Becky Harlow from Columbia College Chicago. “Crossing Over: Marketing Your Student Life Experience gave students an understanding of the positive impact of their school leadership involvement will have on their future.


Harlow explained in detail how skills and achievements gained while being part of a club or organization will put students in advantage when the time to look for a job comes. It is important to list all of your school involvements on your résumé as they will put you above other candidates. Harlow also gave tips and additional resources on writing résumés.


Roundtables made up the last set of workshops, providing sessions for executive club members, as well as one for general students and club members.


The President and Vice President roundtable was hosted by Brenda Bedolla, Northeastern Illinois University student, Morton College graduate and former student trustee. Bedolla focused on the leadership and organization skills that these board members need in order to succeed.


The Secretary roundtable was hosted by Rodolfo Yañez from Student Activities. In this workshop, secretaries got an understanding on the new online forms that Student Activities will be using. All of the clubs’ forms will be submitted online.


The Treasurer roundtable was presented by Marisol Velázquez from Student Activities. Board treasurers got an understanding of what their roles imply, including each club’s obligations and requirements.


The Student Senator roundtable was presented by students Jesus Montero and Katharine Romero. Student senators got an understanding of their role, as well as the importance of their input at SGA meetings.


The last roundtable was for general students and club members. It was titled “#Civility: Social Media and the College Student”. This was hosted by Bradley Custer from Moraine Valley Community College. This workshop highlighted the positive aspects of social media as a networking tool, as well as the inappropriate use of it.


Overall, this conference was a success. The 75 students who signed up and attended got great information regarding leadership skills that can be used to their advantage.


Music Club member Arielle Vega said she learned “to be more assertive in introducing my ideas and to not be discouraged.” This conference was definitely a step towards the accomplishment of every club’s objectives for this school year.

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