Western to host Student Leadership Symposium May 13 featuring keynote, panels, leadership fair and development sessions throughout May

Western students are invited to build their skills at the university’s first Student Leadership Symposium from 12-5 p.m. Friday, May 13, with more opportunities for learning at Student Leadership Development Sessions running from May 6-26.

The symposium, titled Leadership in Transition: Centering Wellbeing, will focus on how we can prioritize our wellbeing while helping those around us and will open with a leadership and resource fair from 12-1 p.m. in the Academic West main floor lobby. The keynote speaker for the event is Anna Adeola Makanju, a Western graduate who is currently the Head of Public Policy at OpenAI, an AI research and deployment company seeking to build powerful artificial intelligence tools that benefit humanity. Previously, she was the Special Policy Advisor for Europe and Eurasia to Vice President Biden, and prior to that she was the Senior Policy Advisor to the Permanent Representative at the United States Mission to the United Nations. She will speak from 1-2 p.m.

The event will also include an introduction to the Okanagan Charter from 2-2:30 p.m., a graduate panel from 2:40-3:25 p.m., an interactive session with Delfine DeFrank and closing remarks from Western Trustee Chris Witherspoon in AW 204.

Learn more and RSVP online here.

Students can also attend several Student Leadership Development Sessions, starting this Friday, May 6, with a noon session on planning inclusive programs and services and a 3 p.m. session about the Leadership and Community Engagement Center Co-Curricular Certificate.

Here is a listing of Student Leadership Development Sessions:

In the Pink: Planning Inclusive Events and Services

Friday, May 6, 12-1 p.m.

Based on the work of Kathy Obear, this session introduces you to nearly 30 groups so you can consider how you are serving campus populations. After quickly reviewing the four I’s of Oppression (Ideological, Institutional, Interpersonal, Internalized), you will review considerations for equitable inclusion, versus symbolic inclusion. From this work you will be able to think more about including others and how to use the deck of pink cards to help you be mindful of the whole population of who we are.

LACE Co-curricular Certificate: What is it? How do I earn one?

Friday, May 6, 3-4 p.m.

The Leadership and Community Engagement Center (LACE) just launched an exciting new opportunity for students to develop and refine their leadership and professional skills while making waves in their community. This program, the Co-Curricular Certificate, allows students to earn recognition for the work they do that goes beyond their academic studies. Guided by the work of Tania Mitchell, the Co-Curricular Certificate places an emphasis on critical service learning. Thus, students will not only service their communities, but they will enact meaningful change as they consider the systemic underlying issues that have led to inequity in our community and broader society.   

Come to this info-session to learn more about how to get involved in our community with volunteering and earning the certificate for your hard work.

Let’s Talk: Giving and Receiving Feedback

Friday, May 20, 12-1 p.m.

This session teaches a clear but simple approach to giving positive and constructive feedback. You learn to provide feedback that is behavior-based, and to distinguish between intent and impact while practicing giving and receiving feedback with others.

Identity-Informed Leading

Thursday, May 26, 9:30-10:30am

The goal of this strengths-based session is to understand and interrogate how your identity or mix of identities informs your values, assumptions, and leadership behaviors. Based on the work of Alicia Fedelina Chávez and Ronni Sanlo in the NASPA book, “Identity and Leadership: Informing Our Practice,” you will identify how elements of your identity affect your leading, and how you would like to strengthen/adapt your leading to build on the strengths and values from your background.

Explore VU Leadership and Community Engagement Center events and RSVP here.


Tuesday, May 3, 2022 - 1:24pm
Portrait of Anna Adeola Makanju

Student Leadership Symposium keynote speaker Anna Adeola Makanju