How to Lead: Lessons from CampusCon Central

January 15, 2020
Story by Jordan Baker

National Campus Leadership Council’s conference inspires student leaders to strengthen their own leadership and potential campus impact together

NCLC brought students together for the annual Campus Impact Conference (CampusCon) at the Ohio State University on November 8-10, 2019, for a weekend of sharing ideas, identifying best practices, and developing critical leadership skills to build a better campus. 

Student leaders, NCLC staff, and speakers came together to share their own experiences in a vulnerable way that built community.

Here is a journey through the thought-provoking event and best practices learned from our guest speakers, expert-led breakout sessions and first-ever Student Showcase. Discover what students learned when they said, “Together, we will.”

1. Students are leading the charge in food insecurity and student success

At the annual CampusCon program, NCLC premiered the first-ever Student Showcase and provided a platform for student government leaders to share an example of how they establish new campus initiatives and expand resources to the entire student body – and what we learned blew us away. 

Nat Costello (left) & John Aloszka (right)

One example is from the 2019-20 University of North Florida (UNF) President John Aloszka and Vice President Nat Costello, who discussed their SGA’s efforts to tackle campus food insecurity by increasing accessibility to improve the perception of their food pantry. When investigating why students were not attending UNF’s Lend a Wing (LAW) food pantry, the UNF SGA discovered underlying student perceptions about the free food service. When students felt “shame” and “embarrassment” when seeking out LAW, the SGA decided to adjust its approach to marketing the pantry. This led them to update all marketing efforts and improve overall perception by referencing the food pantry as a “free food” bank rather than about a “need” for food. By normalizing food insecurity and discouraging the “glorification” of the starving college student stereotype, they were able to increase food visits, generating 600 visits to LAW in October 2019.

Adrian Williams

Another example is Wright State University Student Body Vice President and Executive Director of the Ohio Student Government Association, Adrian Williams. He shared insight from his student-led taskforce, Retain the 9. Wright State prides itself on its diversity of thought and community. However, many students who are underrepresented minorities tend to drop out of college at a higher rate. Adrian Williams and Student Government chief policy officer, Kevin Jones, decided to do something about it with the Retain the 9 Initiative. The result has created a task force and a new blueprint for the SGA to utilize when retaining and recruiting minority students at Wright State University.

2. Civility is just one of the many necessary skills of SGA leadership

We welcomed incredible speakers to lead discussions on successful leadership, teamwork, and professional development. Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at Augusta University, Dr. Patrice Buckner Jackson, broke down the importance of civility and building strong relationships within student government and across the administration. College Code Founder Chelsea Williams spoke on how student leaders and advisors can create change by building shared voice and values at the campus level together. Influence 51 founder and CEO JonRobert Tartaglione shared strategies on how to influence attitudes and decisions to inevitably influence the behaviors of both classmates and administration.

3. Effective collaboration helps students develop critical leadership skills!

The 3-day conference brought together the brightest minds in education and leadership. CampusCon fostered the opportunity for student leaders to share ideas and collaborate. We know students are looking for opportunities to engage others and share what they are working on. That is why NCLC creates opportunities for student government associations to learn how to tackle pertinent issues in today’s higher education system.

Dr. Patrice Jackson

Students will have the opportunity to continue making new connections at the 9th annual Presidential Leadership Summit (PLS), taking place on June 5-8, 2020, in Washington, DC. PLS 2020 empowers student body presidents to build a national community equipped with the skills and expertise needed to elevate the student voice in America. The three-day program includes a sweeping offering of policy discussions, expert briefings, skills workshops, and networking opportunities.

At PLS 2020, students will gain relationships and inspiration that will enable them to be more effective advocates. Tickets are available now for PLS 2020!

Purchase tickets at our Early Registration rate at is $299 until March 15. Registration includes meals and session attendance.

© 2020 National Campus Leadership Council

© 2020 National Campus Leadership Council

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