Students at the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College are working to create a difference in Ohio. To learn new ways to achieve this goal and share their own ideas with other college students across the state, members of Rio’s Student Senate traveled to the Collegiate Leadership Conference of Ohio. The event is hosted by Columbus State Community College to bring college students throughout the state together to enhance their leadership skills with the leaders of different organizations and non-profits across Ohio. Student Engagement Coordinator Seth Lawrence said taking students to the conference is another way to prepare them for their future careers.
“This conference gives students exposure to new opportunities and expands their college experience outside of campus. The conference is led and put together by Columbus State’s student ambassadors,” Lawrence said. “Some of the sessions dealt with the soft skills such as networking that students in all majors need to be successful leaders in their future careers. When they come back from the conference, the students implement these skills in their professional, academic and personal lives to share them with their peers.”
The students also had the opportunity to participate in a project with the non-profit My Very Own Blanket which distributes hand-tied blankets to children in foster care. The students created blankets and attached a handwritten message for the child who receives it. Lawrence said the annual conference offers many learning opportunities for both the students and advisors who attend.
“This conference is unlike anything we’ve participated in before. Even as an advisor I find myself learning new things that I can share with my colleagues and students on our campus,” Lawrence said. “Having a project for the students was also a great opportunity because it gives them a chance to learn how to get involved in giving back to their own communities.”
The Rio Student Senate work as leaders on campus to ensure proper representation is given to all students at Rio Grande. Consisting of representatives from each academic area, the senate meets regularly during the academic year to address issues facing campus. Freshman Early Childhood Education Major and Student Senate Member Abby Wood said she enjoyed being able to attend the conference and enhance her leadership skills while still in her first semester of college.
“I never thought I would have any opportunities like this as a freshman. I feel like going to this leadership conferences has helped me to better myself, and taught me skills I can use throughout my college and professional careers,” Lawrence said. “I really enjoyed getting to meet other students throughout the state and hear the speakers share their own success stories. Working on the blanket project was an amazing experience because we were helping children in need and hear the story of someone who received a blanket as a child and how much it really had meant to them. I’m really grateful to Rio for supporting us to go to this conference.”
Lawrence said the students enjoyed the unique learning opportunity, as well as the chance to be ambassadors for Rio among their peers from around the state.