On an early Saturday morning in February, 90 Ohio Wesleyan students braved the snow and cold temperatures to come together for a morning of empowerment, self-discovery, and entertainment. These students were participating in the annual OWU Summit, a leadership conference designed to help students develop their skills so that they may be more effective leaders both on and off campus. This year the event took place on February 5, and drew more than 90 students representing 45 of about 100 campus organizations. Students attended a dynamic opening session by Tony D’Angelo from Collegiate EmPowerment, an educational firm dedicated to providing inspiring and informative seminars and services to students and professionals, followed by two workshop sessions geared toward helping students enhance their leadership skills.
The immediate impact of the Summit is evident in the day-to-day environment at Ohio Wesleyan.
“The Summit attempts to encourage students to remain engaged in activities on campus and to provide them with basic tools to lead successful organizations,” says Nancy Rutkowski, Assistant Director of the Student Involvement Office. Students gained an appreciation for the challenges of being in leadership positions and learned ways to use their new knowledge to improve their clubs and to get more involved. For others like freshman Megan Buys, who attended the conference as an “Emerging Leader,” the Summit offered ideas for future growth.
“I learned more about the various ways that I could get involved on campus that go above and beyond the basic community service and smaller things I have been doing.” In addition, students were encouraged to reflect upon their own leadership styles so they could recognize ways in which they can be effective leaders.
“It definitely made me think differently about the kind of leader I am, as well as the kind I strive to be,” says Jean Djamen Gueya ’13 who represented the Biochemistry Club and Rafiki Wa Afrika.
The broader impacts of the Summit may not be as easy to see, but they will influence and empower students long after graduation from Ohio Wesleyan.
“The skills students are learning during the Summit could effectively translate into most any situation that they may be in through internships, classes, organizations, or even their jobs. The idea is to provide generalized skills, experiences, and ideas that help them be effective within any group,” says Andrew Peterson, Residential Life Coordinator.
Programs like the Summit are preparing OWU students for success in the “real world,” both in personal and professional settings.
“I will definitely use what I learned at the Summit to better myself as a leader on OWU’s campus and wherever life takes me,” says Tamara Winkler ’13.