On Saturday, January 21, 2017, over 225 students gathered on campus for UBC Okanagan’s 10th Annual Student Leadership Conference. The first conference was held in 2007, with the aim of encouraging students to get involved on campus, and to expand their current leadership, personal, and professional skills. This year’s conference inspired curiosity in students by offering workshops and featured speaker sessions ranging from topics like “Vulnerability is Strength” and “We Are In a Fight! Understanding Conflict” to “Don’t Wait to be Told How to Lead.” The theme of curiosity urged students to try something new, and to dive into their interests in a manner that they hadn’t considered before. For presenters the theme created an environment where speakers could engage their audience with unique ideas, or present on themes and programs that they are passionate about.

One of the presenters, Michael Flood, a third-year politics, philosophy, and economics student commented, “It was a meaningful experience to both engage with and learn from a diverse group of students. I was humbled to present and converse with such an incredible group of people.” Registration was open to the general student body as well as some of the high schools in the area, and anyone was encouraged to attend. Kristen Peers, co-chair of the event explained, “We want all students to attend the Student Leadership Conference. It’s not only relevant to students who are already engaged in leadership roles on or off campus, but to those who are hoping to get more involved in any capacity. Whether you’re an experienced leader with years of involvement under your belt, or an emerging leader who’s just looking for that little thing they can do better, this conference is open to all capabilities.”

Students in attendance ranged from those who are engaged with Residence Life, to those who volunteer for programs like the Peer Mentor Program or Peer Support Network. There were also delegates from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbottsford, and UBC Vancouver. Several local high schools also sent students to catch a glimpse of what leadership on a university campus looks like. Presenters ranged from UBCO and TRU students to professional staff such as Associate-Vice President of Students Ian Cull, Alanna Vernon the Associate Director of Ceremonies and Event, psychology professor Dr. Mark Holder, and Campus Life Commuter Students Coordinator Greg Mather.

For those who want to get involved with the conference in upcoming years either through attendance or presenting, inquiries can be emailed to campus.life@ubc.ca