Q&A on the Student Leadership and Diversity Conference

The University of South Carolina is hosting the 30th annual Student Leadership and Diversity Conference this month as well as the first SEC Universities: Uniting Voices for Social Change. We caught up with the folks at the Leadership and Service Center at UofSC to learn more.

Can you give a brief description of the SLDC?

The Student Leadership and Diversity Conference (SLDC) is a one-day regional conference (9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday) sponsored by the Leadership and Service Center here at Carolina. This year, we will host 530 attendees representing 26 different schools throughout the Southeast, 210 of those will be from our Columbia campus. They will be able to attend 33 educational sessions focusing on everything from organizational budgeting to diversity dialogues, stress and time management to social justice activism. These sessions will be facilitated by over 50 experienced and knowledgeable presenters from various institutions and the surrounding community. Speakers will include Molly Barker, the founder of Girls on the Run and Running Mates USA, and former Gamecock football players, Langston Moore and Preston Thorne, co-authors of #Justachicken.

Why is it important that the university has been hosting this conference for 30 years?

Developing well-rounded student leaders has been a longstanding tradition at Carolina, and we know it will continue for another 30 years and more. Every year, we have outstanding speakers and sessions that engage students in meaningful thought and dialogue, and we know this year will be the same.

What type of student leaders attend the conference?

The Student Leadership and Diversity Conference is for all types of student leaders. The speakers and educational sessions offer a variety of learning opportunities that will speak to a veteran student leader just as much as someone starting their leadership journey.

What do you hope students will take away from the conference?

The conference is a great opportunity for our students and students from across the region not only to engage in their own professional and personal development, but also to network with each other. They are able to see firsthand the power of connecting with their peers while learning from outstanding faculty, staff and community leaders.

Why is diversity an important topic for student leaders to discuss?

Student leaders need to discuss diversity issues and topics because they need to be prepared to have tough conversations and learn to be inclusive leaders. We live in a diverse world, and in today’s society, diversity is at the forefront of many conversations. We want to empower students to talk about these issues and to learn how to initiate change, voice their concerns and encourage others to act.

How does the conference tie in with the Southeastern Conference Universities: Uniting Voices for Social Change conference?

A unique feature of this year’s conference is the addition of the SEC Academic Collaboration Award workshop entitled SEC Universities: Uniting Voices for Social Change. SEC universities are sending undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff to the workshop for a total of 44 delegates. Participants will examine current trends and challenges in leadership and civil discourse and discuss the skills and tools necessary to carry out social change on their campuses and in their roles as current and future leaders. South Carolina was named the winner of the SEC Academic Collaboration Award in October.

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