A group of 12 Chadron State College students, Dr. Jamie Wada and Chris Green recently attended a Nebraska State College Leadership Conference hosted by Peru State College.
The CSC Student Senate Executive Board, the Campus Activities Executive Board and two additional senators, Josh Keating and Sean Munger, traveled to the conference hosted by Peru State College.
The senate attendees were: Jake Rissler, Nate Jones, Erica Misner, Ashley Swanson, Jon Lordino and Danny Reynaga. The CAB attendees were: Lane Swedberg, Dani Buckley, Cheyenne Deering and Brendan Mead.
Wayne State College representatives were not in attendance due to ongoing clean-up efforts from the damage left by the Oct. 4 tornado which hit the town of Wayne.
Dani Buckley, a CSC senior from Palmer, Alaska and CAB vice chair of programming, said she felt the trip was a great eye-opening experience.
“It is easy to get stuck in a rut or schedule of the same events year after year and not realize that you are doing so as a student government leader. This trip allowed me to see how other student leadership entities work at other colleges. It was full of new experiences, educational benefits, personal and professional bonding, and networking,” Buckley said.
She said the CAB leaders brought back big ideas they are excited to roll out to the campus for feedback.
“We are going to change the face of CAB and head in some different directions in order to better serve the students and clubs,” she said.
Round table topics discussed at the conference included smoking enforcement, media involvement, and marketing and advertising.
Josh Keating, senator for Liberal Arts, went to the conference when it was hosted at WSC last year. PSC was not able to attend that event due to conflicts with PSC events. CSC hosted the first conference in 2011, which all three state colleges attended.
“Peru has a very scenic campus and many historic buildings. I really liked MK Mueller’s presentation. She included a lot of audience participation and involvement,” Keating said.
In an exercise to demonstrate how important it is to take initiative, Mueller waved a $20 bill in the air and asked the audience members several times what it would take for someone to claim it. Danny Reynaga from CSC ran to the stage, according to Keating, and seized the money as a perfect intro for the discussion.
Another hands-on portion of Mueller’s three-hour presentation included a demonstration about the importance of a positive attitude and coming at challenges from the right angle. Lane Swedberg from CSC drove a drinking straw through a raw potato in the exercise.
Other activities at the conference included an obstacle course and a school garb swap.
“We gave them a lot of ideas and we took away a lot of ideas from the idea swap. It’s always good to know how things could be done differently. It’s a very exciting time - to see that all three schools are involved in major renovations,” he said.
Summarizing the conference, Keating said, “A lot of things I saw there made me think, ’We need to get this’.”
Sean Munger, senator-at-large, said, “I’ve been to other conferences, but this one was exceptional. I enjoyed myself, met good people, and we discussed why certain approaches work better than others in student government.” His favorite portion of the conference was the presentation by MK Mueller.
“The information MK presented was empowering. It was incredible to see her persuasive speaking ability. It’s hard to explain how good it was. She showed us ways to alleviate conflict, appreciate others, be flexible, and, most importantly, to have a positive attitude,” he said.
Mueller told the story of her son who was accepted at Drake even though his ACT was several points too low for admission. During his interview with the dean he noticed the official’s book shelf and asked which one was his favorite.
Armed with that information, the young man bought the book and read it that night. The next day he write a note of thanks to the dean mentioning the book and included two resumes – one of his actual accomplishments to-date and one of his future accomplishments as a Drake student and alumnus. He was not only accepted but received a scholarship.
She challenged the student leaders in attendance to think of three things they are grateful for every morning. Each day the list should include all new items, stretching the person to think of things usually taken for granted.
Mueller stressed the importance of following dreams and shared how she achieved a motivational speaking opportunity in Hawaii as one of her dreams.
To demonstrate the importance of a positive attitude in overcoming adversity, Mueller shared the success story of champion snowboarding double-amputee Amy Purdy via a TED talk. Purdy competed in the reality show The Amazing Race in the fall of 2012.
—Tena L. Cook, Interim Marketing Coordinator