Student leaders network and train at June leadership conference

Over 130 York student leaders attended a two-day conference in June hosted by the York University Student Centre in partnership with Student Community & Leadership Development.

Left: Desirée Gadea, co-orientation chair at McLaughlin College, Anthony Antonacci, REDZone student ambassador, and Marilyn Hui, vice-president commuter at McLaughlin College, attend the opening remarks of York’s student leadership conference.

The conference, an annual celebration and early training opportunity for new student leaders, has been praised by delegates for the networking opportunities and learning experiences presented to the incoming student leaders. “The most valuable aspect of the conference to me was the learning experiences and the information on the wealth of supports and opportunities available in York. As a new leader, it eases the burden of where to start,” says one of the delegates.

Right: Student leaders get creative during the World Café

In addition to the chance to build the leadership community at York, the conference boasts 25 sessions on a wide variety of topics, including presentations on:

  • Event risk management
  • Running successful events on campus
  • Communication
  • Strategic planning
  • Financial management for both levy-funded groups and student clubs
  • A show debate by the York Debating Society

New topics this year included sustainability, team building, community building and a presentation about opportunities by the Meal Exchange Program, a not-for-profit student-run organization focused on eliminating local hunger and poverty. “Coming from a college council, I wanted different council members to be able to attend different sessions. The variety of session topics within the schedule made this very easy to do,” one student wrote in their conference evaluation.

Left: Closing keynote lunch panel featuring student leader alumni Wayne Poirier, Mourad Mardikian, Jeff Zoeller and Andre Bastian in the Underground.

The conference was kicked off this year with three World Café workshops, a series of conversation-based workshops where small groups of students meet in an informal setting to brainstorm ideas to make the York community a better place. A few of the topics included in this year’s café surrounded the mandate of the President’s Task Force on Student Life, Learning & Community. Patrick Monahan, dean of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School and chair of the task force, was in attendance to continue discussion of the ideas and suggestions presented by delegates at the World Café.

In addition, leadership awards were distributed at the awards banquet and included the York University Student Centre Award, which went to student Arash Azin; the York University Student Centre Local Award, which was given to Eric Leun;, and the York University Student Centre Deborah Hobson Staff Award, which was awarded to York is U program advisor Saba Rafiq.

The conference ended on a high note with a keynote lunch panel featuring four of York’s student leader alumni − Wayne Poirier, Mourad Mardikian, Jeff Zoeller and Andre Bastian − who spoke about their leadership experiences at York and how they’ve been helpful in their post-York success.