More than 70 people gathered in Dauphin Humanities Center for the Women’s Institute for Leadership and Learning conference on Friday afternoon.
The annual WILL conference was sponsored by the Shippensburg University Women’s Center and was open to both men and women at no cost.
It consisted of multiple workshops and networking sessions held throughout the afternoon and evening.
The conference was first held in 2010 as a way for emerging student leaders to hone the skills they need to be successful in their student groups and in the professional world after college.
“I observed students struggling with leading their campus groups and saw a need for education,” Women’s Center director Stephanie Erdice said.
Multiple committees begin planning the event in August of each year, but planning is not difficult.
“It was a challenge to come up with the program in 2010, but now we just build on the success of that,” Erdice said.
The conference began at 2 p.m. on Friday with registration and networking. Students then attended three workshops of their choosing. Both students and professors alike hosted a total of 11 workshops.
Instead of having assigned subjects, professors were encouraged to develop a session about whatever topic interested them.
The variety this freedom encouraged ensured that there would be topics to interest any student.
For the first segment, students had the option of attending either “Fill Your Bucket: A New Look At Teamwork” or “PACE Palette: Finding Your Leadership Color.” “Fill Your Bucket” taught attendees how to use positivity to enhance leadership skills. “PACE Palette” involved a personality test similar to the Myers-Briggs test. Students were then separated into groups based on their personality color to determine what they had in common.
After each group presented its common strengths, values and stressors, Erdice explained how to better understand how all the colors are necessary and work together.
She insisted that no color was better than any other, and encouraged the audience to say, “The world needs all colors” both at the beginning and the end of the workshop.
This workshop taught the audience how to be better leaders by understanding the people around them.
Students then had to choose two of nine available workshops to attend. The subjects covered included effective communication, feminism, résumé building, how to dress professionally and more.
This year’s conference was the largest in WILL history and Erdice was pleased with the turnout.
“Our overall goal is for students to have fun while developing their capacity to become stronger leaders,” she said.
After the final workshop, students completed evaluations to ensure that next year’s conference is equally as successful.
Find more information about the SU Women’s Center and find out about future events at http://www.ship.edu/Womens_Center.