The Importance of Leadership

When I was in fifth grade, I decided to become the class president of my school’s Student Government Association. I had a speech prepared for the class to convince them to elect me, to which I was nervous speaking in front of my friends, classmates, and teacher. However, I was not chosen as class president, and I’d be lying to say that didn’t upset me. Eventually, I brushed that moment off and moved on to being a typical 10-year-old. 

Fast forward over a decade later, I am now a college student studying Communications at the University of Maryland, College Park. I’d never thought that I would be where I am now today. I also never thought I would attempt student leadership again, let alone be elected. That was until I discovered the Student Leadership Advisory Council (SLAC). 

Now what is SLAC, you might ask. Well to answer your question, SLAC is a leadership group at USG where undergraduates and graduates (and for this semester a Doctorial student) along with the Student Advisory Board meet with administration to discuss plans for USG 2.0. That includes revised services for students, model and career competency, and development. 

I was first introduced to SLAC at the Welcome Day event before enrolling in USG. I saw this flyer about advocating for students and leadership and that there was an application deadline. From that moment, I took the flyer home and started working on applying for the role. 

Just like SGA, SLAC was also selective in choosing its members (about 12-14 students) and of course, this made me a bit apprehensive. I still applied for SLAC anyways, constantly reviewing my application and ending up turning in my application minutes before it was due. 

A day or two later, I got accepted as a General member at SLAC!

When we meet every other Friday, our meetings start with icebreaker activities such as discussing what being a leader means to work in teams in order to build airplanes made out of Legos. We also meet with different members of the USG administration on USG 2.0 such as engaging with academic and community partners, career readiness, and team-building programs. 

A group of five students looking at a group of sticky notes during a Design Thinking Workshop. (Source: Shelby Speer)

SLAC also hosts and participates in events on campus such as the Fall Fest, Open Forums, and Graduating Students Events. 

Source: SLAC

Since joining SLAC four months later, I have learned a lot from my experience. Not only did I learn about myself and my capabilities as a leader, but I learned a lot about my peers and USG overall. As a Communications major, being a part of SLAC is important because we often have to communicate in groups in order to make plans for new and improved changes. As you may see in the future, USG will have many exciting to come all because of us!

My time at SLAC is something that I am grateful to be a part of. My goal is to utilize this opportunity for advocating for my fellow peers at USG.

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