Student group hones leadership skills


This year’s leadership conference sought to inform Mercer students of how they can help lead social change in their own communities. Speakers included prominent Macon officials.

This year's leadership conference sought to inform Mercer students of how they can help lead social change and reform in their own communities. Kaleigh Manson/Cluster Staff

The Leadership MU Conference is organized by a group of Mercer’s student leaders to help other students learn about leaders within the community and on campus through a series of breakout sessions. This year’s conference was titled “Community Leadership: Empowering Social Change”.

Students had the opportunity to register and choose which breakout sessions and speakers they wanted to hear. The breakout sessions included a variety of topics such as “Downtown Revitalization,” “Business Ownership in a Community,” “Mercer Students and the Macon Community,” “Youth and Education,” “Public Service and Community” and numerous others. Each session covered a specific area of community leadership.

The conference, which is held annually in the spring, included a variety of speakers from the community as well as Mercer students and faculty.

Co-chair of the Leadership MU committee Nikki Lunceford said, “Since we had a variety of presenters from all areas of the community it was a great opportunity for networking. In addition, from what I’ve heard from other students, the conference was inspiring and re-energizing since it promoted the idea that everyone can be a part of making a difference in the community.”

The conference had over 50 students in attendance and although all breakout sessions had student interest, the most popular breakout session was “Local Government Involvement” with the mayor of Macon, Robert Reichert, speaking. Other popular sessions were “Mercer Students and Macon Community” with student presidents of various organizations speaking, and “Youth and Education”.

Jenn Vo, co-chair with Lunceford on the Leadership MU committee, said, “[The conference] was basically trying to get as many students and faculty involved as possible as well as people in the community, and trying to help students see that there is a tie between community service and leadership.”

The goal of the conference was “to provide an opportunity for current and aspiring student leaders to strengthen their leadership skills. We [hoped] to focus on issues that are most commonly affecting student leaders,” Lunceford said.

Students were able to interact with several different community and peer leaders in order to gain a better understanding on the variety of leadership roles throughout Macon and how they all relate to empowering people to make social change.

“Students realized that it’s not just about your individual passion; there are ways to connect with other people who share your passion and from there you can make an even bigger impact,” Lunceford said.

This year, Leadership MU contained a variety of breakout session speakers as opposed to one major keynote speaker as done in years past. This way, students were given a larger variety of topics to choose from and more opportunities to attend those sessions that interested them.

“We wanted students to connect with local community leaders and learn more about how they can lead social change in their own communities, both in Macon and beyond,” Lunceford said.

Leadership MU was planned by a committee of people including Director of Campus Life Carrie Ingoldsby, Coordinator of New Student Programs Ted Goshorn, Graduate Assistant for the Center for Leadership and Volunteerism Holly Brown, Jenn Vo, Nikki Lunceford, Anu Goel and Caitlin Payne.

If you are interested in serving on the committee next year and getting involved with Leadership MU, contact Carrie Ingoldsby at the Office of Campus Life.