York’s Keele campus will be buzzing with student leaders from across Canada as it plays host to the fourth annual Canadian Conference on Student Leadership (CCSL), Nov. 12 to 15. Since its origin at Wilfrid Laurier University in 2006, the conference has cultivated a strong history with its student-focused agenda and leadership.
“It is quite exciting to have CCSL come to York,” says Courtney Mallam, leadership programs assistant at York’s Centre for Student Community & Leadership Development. “The lively Keele campus will be a key feature. There will be numerous opportunities to network and share ideas, as well as a chance to see some of the more popular Toronto tourist destinations.
"I think that what delegates will be most impressed with is the passion that York University has for student leadership and the positive impact we know it has on students,” says Mallam.
Four senior York undergraduate students make up this year’s conference organizing committee. The students were part of York’s delegation at last year’s conference. They are Genevieve Kang, a fourth-year theatre studies student, Julia DeKay, a third-year theatre studies major and dance minor, Natasha Dhawan, a fourth-year psychology major; and Tim Sond, a fifth-year student in health management and concurrent education.
Right: From bottom left (without hats), York students and 2009 conference organizers Julia DeKay, Genevieve Kang, Natasha Dhawan and Tim Sond with the 2008 University of Calgary student conference organizers
The theme for this year is "Aspire” and the conference will focus on key areas of leadership development, including growth, learning, sharing, change and leadership. Aiming to inspire students to reach their full potential and truly embrace what it means to be a leader, the U50-sponsored CCSL 2009 will feature a mixture of student-led breakout sessions and a wide variety of keynote speakers including York alumni Randy Williamson (LLB ’88), a partner at Aird & Berlis LLP and founding chair of Big Brothers Big Sisters Alumni, and Nick Czernkovich (BSc. Spec. Hons. ’03), meteorologist with the CBC and volunteer with Missionaries of the Poor, as well as youth speakers from the social enterprise Me to We.
“I learned so much at CCSL last year,” says DeKay. “I honestly didn’t know that I would be so inspired, but CCSL pushes you to be more, do more and accomplish more, because you can! In fact, after we arrived back from the 2008 conference, my Facebook status said ‘Julia feels ready to take on the world’”.