UTSA students develop personal, professional skills at leadership institute

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UTSA student participants in Huge Leadership Weekend institute

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(June 17, 2011)--Seven UTSA students and one staff member represented the UTSA Office of Student Activities at a national institute June 2-5 in New Braunfels, Texas. The National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) hosted its annual Huge Leadership Weekend for more than 100 college students and student affairs professionals.

Huge Leadership Weekend provides students with continued development and growth in areas of citizenship and service, effective programming, ethics and character, interpersonal skills, organizational development and personal development. The event also strives to serve new and seasoned professionals in a dynamic environment that fosters communication, discussion and cognitive enhancement on a focused topic.

"This year our focus was the social change model which helps students understand that leadership is a process, and it doesn't matter if you are a new member or the president," said Amanda Horne, Huge Leadership Weekend coordinator. "Everyone has the opportunity to make a positive change."

NACA promotes active student development and Huge Leadership Weekend is just one of the opportunities for affiliated campuses. HLW delegates participated in a unique compass challenge course. The team-building activity laid a solid foundation for the institute among students and staff.

"The compass course was an extremely challenging event, but I feel that in completing it my group forged very strong bonds of friendship," said Greg Hernandez, Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity representative from UTSA. "The course itself was difficult, but in working together it was fairly simple to complete. Even when the outcome looked bleak as a group, we were able to think on our feet, adapt to the course and press on with the challenge. This is a trait I feel that is not only necessary in the compass course but in life where we are continually tested and pushed to our limits."

Participants had the opportunity to network with other students through round table discussions and open forums. NACA HLW staff facilitated leadership skill sessions and served as mentors to the students.

"Having the opportunity to meet and spend time with students from all around definitely helped me get a different view point of students, organizations and even cultures," said Priscilla Elizondo, UTSA Campus Activities Board representative. "From interacting with so many different people, I learned that when working with people you must adjust and try to have a better understanding of their background. Every person is different and that must be taken into consideration."

Huge Leadership Weekend staff is made up of selected volunteers through a NACA application process. Kelsey Bratcher, UTSA associate director of student activities, was selected to serve as a staff member.

"It is an exciting institute for both the students and the staff," Bratcher said. "We have the opportunity to work with professionals from other campuses and the opportunity to learn from them as well. The bonds developed with staff and students, as we further developed our leadership skills, are priceless."

UTSA student participants included:

  • Chukwudi Adigwu, Greek Life, senior kinesiology major, Houston
  • Roger Cardenas, Student Government Association, freshman psychology major, Laredo
  • Marisa Daniels, Student Government Association, sophomore geology major, San Antonio
  • Priscilla Elizondo, Campus Activities Board, senior business management major, Del Rio
  • Greg Hernandez, Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity, senior health major, San Antonio
  • R.J. Rangel, Be A Responsible Roadrunner, junior history major, Edinburg
  • Alex Rivera, Be A Responsible Roadrunner, junior business management major, San Antonio

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Established in 1960, the National Association for Campus Activities advances campus activities in higher education through a business and learning partnership, creating educational and business opportunities for its school and professional members. NACA offers a variety of events, educational institutes, publications and networking opportunities for colleges and universities across the country. The association's programs focus on program planning, risk management, multicultural education, concert management, student and professional leadership development, student government and more.

The Office of Student Activities sends student organization representatives to Huge Leadership Weekend each year. For more information, visit the UTSA Office of Student Activities website or email getinvolved@utsa.edu.