ILC 2017: Students Unite to Find Their Collective Voice

This year’s Inclusive Leadership Conference theme was “Find Your Voice: Advocating for Inclusion and Respect.” Whether you are an activist, writer, artist, or entrepreneur, YOUR voice is what we need. If you do not yet know your voice, or if you want to discover more ways to use your voice, ILC will engage you in conversation and activities around inclusion and respect for your voice and others.

On Saturday, February 11,  Temple University’s Howard Gittis Student Center was teeming with students from various colleges and universities in the Philadelphia region– such as Temple, Moore, Rowan, Drexel, CCP, UArts, and many more– who were ready to educate themselves on the importance of inclusion. The conference was an eye-opening experience on how inclusion can affect people from both a personal and interpersonal standpoint.

As part of the Campus Philly team, I had the opportunity to cover the buzz. Jumping from room to room, I got a feel for some of the workshops and presentations delivered by local leaders. My biggest takeaway from the event was the recurring theme of mindfulness.

The nuances and subtleties when interacting with people who are different from you can be all the difference in fostering an inclusive relationship and environment. Nothing supported that claim more than listening to students share their personal stories and takes on some serious subjects. People right around my age divulged their thoughts on race, gender, identity, culture, discrimination, and mental illness just to name a few. Workshop leaders stressed the point of speaking up, challenging the status quo and voicing your stance on inequities is imperative to creating an inclusive environment.

The workplace is often a place where people face discrimination on many fronts, it was telling to see just how to tackle these problems. I dropped in on workshops like Trans 101: How to be Inclusive of Trans People When Leading, Eliminating Social Stigma, Effective Strategies for Inclusive Leadership, Cultural Sensitivity, and Closing the Gender Gap. Unfortunately, there’s only one of me so I couldn’t get to each and every seminar, but I left each one with an important takeaway.

Even with all the serious discussions and constructive activities, there was still time for students to get to know each other and relax. Ending with a massive Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament and a Swag Swap. Capping the day on a more playful note left everyone feeling visibly happier. I strongly believe attendees left with a sense of purpose.

At ILC, the goal of inspiring and educating the leaders of tomorrow on the values and importance of inclusiveness was achieved. It’s a personal responsibility that is part of a much bigger picture: improving the fabric of society.

If you’re looking to continue the conversation, you should consider becoming a part of our Student Leader Network.