Monday, August 15, 2011

Leadership Retreat teaches students about involvement

Learning what it means to be a leader was at the heart of a University of Illinois Springfield event held for residence assistants, student organization presidents, mentors and volunteers before the start of the fall semester.

The 2-day Student Affairs Leadership Retreat was designed to encourage collaboration, educate students about campus resources and help participants develop their own leadership skills.

“They learn so many new skills. They make so many great connections with each other. They are able to meet with each other and start the year off with a very positive attitude,” said Mary Umbarger, student organization and leadership coordinator for UIS Student Life.

Senior Sociology major Blake Johnson enjoyed exploring his own personal values and learning how they shape his leadership abilities.

“I feel like it’s a reminder and a refresher to always have everything you do center around your values,” he said. “Make sure as you look into the future and everything you’re involved in is really centered around yourself as well as benefiting others around you.”

For other students, they plan to use the networking abilities they gained from the retreat to partner with other student organizations and leaders.

“Collaboration is very important because you get a wide range of students come out and support the program or event you’re having,” said Jinger Sanders, junior Biology major.

Graduate Political Science major Aimee Winebaugh realizes the value of having everyone come together and sharing ideas at once.

“It’s one thing to have an idea, but if you don’t know the people you need to connect with you can’t really go anywhere,” she said.

The retreat also focused on time management, which has often been a challenge for senior Business Administration major Ryan Thoroman, who admits to becoming too involved.

“Probably one of the biggest faults I’ve had in the past is spreading myself too thin,” he said. “I think (I need to) prioritize my involvement.”

This was the fourth year for the Leadership Retreat. A total of 105 participants took part in the event.

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