This past week, April 4-6, future student leaders from Nazarene universities across the continent gathered at Southern Nazarene University (SNU) to discuss the unique leadership practices of each school in the Nazarene Student Leadership Conference (NSLC). Learning from both professional faculty and alumni of SNU as well as one another, students gained valuable information encouraging Christ-like leadership practices and community building skills.
Beginning with Southern Supper at Wheeler Park, students socialized and were introduced to the culture of Oklahoma City. On Thursday, students gathered together and learned about the different practices of each individual leadership position, going on to learn about leadership practices from faculty and alumni of SNU. Friday emphasized the global Church of the Nazarene and how each leadership team can build community in their individual communities.
Jaci Wise, student director of NSLC, played a crucial role in the planning and execution of this event. When describing NSLC, she said, “NSLC is the Nazarene Student Leadership Conference that is an event where all student governments from all Nazarene schools come together at one of our schools. We build on leadership skills and provide creative tools for collaborating, making executive decisions by creating new policies to help all of the schools.”
While there were many important leadership aspects to the panels students attended and the information from faculty and staff of SNU, the most formative parts of the conference occurred in the outside activities; having to practice leadership in something as simple as a dodgeball game helped students bond with their individual teams as well as learn how to be a team that successfully communicates.
Observing and implementing the successful variety of personalities and ways of leadership across the Nazarene schools became important in this conference. Being able to listen to others throughout the week and hear of their personal successes and failures as leaders helped students grow and learn new ways to integrate their leadership skills on their campus.
Monica Ly, SGA President-Elect of Eastern Nazarene College, talked about the ways in which this conference enabled her to learn from others, saying, “Meeting the other Nazarene colleges and seeing how they run their SGA Exec. bodies is helpful because it gives every position the opportunity to see the different ways and structures of each school.”
Throughout the week, students were told to begin thinking of an issue on their campus that they would like to begin developing ways to fix. On the final day, students voted on the sole issue that they wanted to focus on in their upcoming semester. Ly found this to be incredibly helpful, saying, “Through the hot topics, there were many issues that I saw on my campus that I wasn’t aware of, but because we talked about it in the hot topics, it brought the issue to the forefront.”
As students engaged in civil discourse and learned how to be leaders through listening and observing, this conference helped grow the relations between the Nazarene schools on our continent.
(Photo Courtesy of SNU)