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Purdue Student Government Hosts Successful Student Leadership Summit

More than 280 Purdue students recently attended a virtual leadership summit hosted by Purdue Student Government (PSG) to prepare for the upcoming school year and discuss important issues affecting student leadership.

The “Strategies, Stories and Successful Student Leadership” summit, held August 2-7, featured a mix of leadership training, educational sessions and keynote speakers. Attendees included graduate and undergraduate students representing leadership positions within Purdue Student Activities and Organizations (SAO).

The event was an effort by PSG to revive the SAO Student Leadership Retreat, an event that hadn’t been held in recent years. PSG worked SAO staff to coordinate logistics of the event and ensure the opportunity was open to students holding leadership positions in student organizations. Assata Gilmore, president of PSG, said bringing back the event was part of the goals set forth in her campaign with vice president Hannah Darr.

“We wanted to bring it back because it’s a great opportunity to network with other student leaders, their respective organizations and foster relationships,” said Gilmore. “There’s also a lot going in the world right now and we want to make sure our students have the tools they need to navigate the semester in the most effective and efficient manner.”

Students received certification from on-campus entities in areas including QPR Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Training, Trans Inclusion Training and Safe Zone. The event also included an anti-oppression training session presented by Rev. Sandhya Jha of the Oakland Peace Center and Rev. Yvonne Gilmore from the University of Chicago. Another training Gilmore said she felt was important was a session on grit and self-care for student leaders.

“I think often, when you’re leading a student organization or in demanding roles, you can preach a lot about mental health but wonder how to take that on yourself,” said Gilmore. “We received a lot of feedback that other student leaders felt this way and agreed that it was an important topic to discuss.”

Opportunities to build relationships, even in a virtual environment, can pay big dividends for student organizations as they seek to create a positive on-campus experience for Boilermakers. Gilmore says building relationships with student organizations has resulted in direct action taken by PSG to represent the student body and is especially critical given the current situation students are facing as a result of the pandemic.

“I really appreciated the working and relationship-building aspect of this conference,” said Gilmore. “A lot of the initiatives that PSG was able to incorporate last year were a direct result of conversations we had with other student organizations and we wanted to ensure that other student groups had that same opportunity. I believe, especially now with the Protect Purdue message and social justice movement happening across the country, that it’s going to be important to cultivate a community centered around care and collaboration. I’m really glad we were able to have this opportunity to do that.”

Purdue Student Government serves as the primary representative organization of the undergraduate student body at Purdue University. PSG acts as a liaison between the Purdue University administration, governmental authorities and the student body to serve the needs of Purdue students and to enhance the student experience at Purdue University. Students and the Purdue community can connect with PSG via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or the organization’s website.

Purdue boasts more than 1,000 student organizations. SAO works to strengthen the educational mission of Purdue University and foster an inclusive environment by providing engaging programs, gathering places and services that enrich the lives of students. Learn more about SAO by visiting its website or connect via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for news and updates.