Annual Leadership Summit returns to GVSU

GVL / Emily Frye 
Campus Life Night on Tuesday September 5, 2017.

GVL / Emily Frye Campus Life Night on Tuesday September 5, 2017.

Drew Schertzer

For the 21st consecutive year, Grand Valley State University will host its Leadership Summit. The goal behind the summit is to teach undergraduate students how to be leaders in their own fields. 

“I think it’s a huge skill area that’s usable for students while here,” said Tyler Clark, a graduate assistant in the GVSU Office of Student Life. “When they’re graduated and moved on, people skills are something that employers are always looking for and makes students more marketable.”

Clark has been overseeing the planning of this year’s Leadership Summit for quite some time. He said students can learn a lot by attending the event Saturday, Feb. 17, from noon to 8 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center. At the Leadership Summit, there will be a wide variety of workshops covering topics from many fields, so students can learn about what they want, Clark said. 

The summit is designed to have more than 30 different workshops, a keynote address and a dinner. The registration for the event will end around 1 p.m., when students will be met with an opening ceremony in the Grand River Room. From there, the workshops will be broken down into four different segments. 

The first two segments will occur until 3:20 p.m., followed by a 20-minute break. From there, the second set of workshop segments will take place until 5:35 p.m. Lastly, dinner and a keynote address will happen from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., finished off by 30 minutes of closing remarks and recognition. 

“Students who attend Leadership Summit will learn tons of information from all different aspects of leadership development,” said Eric Stevens, assistant director of student organizations, via email. “We have presentations on social justice, inclusion competencies, personal leadership skills, finance and more.” 

Stevens mentioned e-board positions as being of crucial importance to student organizations and leadership. He said students often feel intimidated or overwhelmed, and to combat this, they need to trust their team and their strengths. 

Respect within an organiztion is another key element Stevens mentioned. He said for students to be respectful, they have to empathize with someone else’s experiences. This includes being able to apologize when you are wrong or for stepping on someone’s toes, learning from the experience and not doing it again. Stevens said treating others the way you want to be treated goes a long way in being inclusive and welcoming. 

Clark also spoke about what he thinks makes a good leader.

“I think there’s a variety of things everybody in their own unique way can embody,” Clark said. “I don’t think you can narrow it down; each student can be leaders in their own unique, useful way.”

Stevens mentioned some common characteristics of good leaders. He said a leader isn’t someone who barks orders and demands a certain outcome. Instead, they take initiative, empower others to succeed and lead by example.

The Office of Student Life and the Omicron Delta Kappa Society of GVSU are hosting the event. For more information about times and workshops, visit