By Rachel Laughlin
Associate Arts and Culture Editor

As a club president, my experience with CSIL has been a box of mixed chocolates. Working with Jackie Aliotta? Sweet and creamy, very nice. Getting events scheduled and approved to hang flyers around campus? Bitter and unsatisfactory. Reregistering the club for another year? Stressful and sour. With this constantly varying sequence of experiences, working with CSIL has been a metaphorical tug-of-war.

This year’s Leadership Symposium seemed to be no exception. After volunteering two officers for the Symposium last semester, during the heart-pounding club re-registration process, I believed the matter settled. I had put the names and contact information of the individuals attending and there was nothing more to do as the event approached. Lucky for me, a third officer was selected to attend, making a last-minute registration necessary. Upon doing so, I realized that the registration procedure was completely different and required a re-registration for my previous two officers. This confusing introduction, followed by the knowledge that the event was scheduled for a full day on a Saturday, made me and my officers dread what seemed to be a looming, awful chore.

To our delight, the event proceeded productively. Opening with a fantastic leadership speaker, Dave Kelly, the Symposium kicked off with a moving and amusing introduction to what true and good leadership is, and how to set manageable goals. After Dave Kelly, President Wubah spoke, congratulating students on their willingness to accept leadership responsibility and uphold the values of the university. 

From there, the first of four “breakout sessions” began, including panels and presentations designed to educate students on the proper procedures for running a club, planning club events, and managing finances. Topics included but were not limited to: “Communication and Team Building”, “Student Services Inc., Programming Assistance and Finance”, “Confidence as a Leader: Finding your Purpose”, Creating and Inclusive Environment…”, “Conflict Resolution”, and “Secrets of Motivation and Delegating Authority”. After the first two sessions, a free lunch was provided, and participants returned to finish two more sessions before closing remarks. My two officers and I even received free tee-shirts and prizes!

But the Symposium offered more rewards than just prizes for us. The compilation of sessions allowed my officers to act independently, deciding and attending the programs they thought best fit their positions and goals for the club. And for the panels we shared, the activities involved gave us the opportunity to share personal club goals and plan for how to reach said goals. I saw my officers flourish with confidence and opportunity – the opposite of what I expected the Symposium to accomplish.

In a game of tug-of-war, the Leadership Symposium was a rare and seemingly impossible win for both sides, and I would like to thank CSIL for this fruitful opportunity. My officers and I know look towards a productive semester, and we hope that more of CSILs events will be just as rewarding.