By: Madison Westley, Student Success Coach
On Saturday, March 12, the Student Development Office hosted the 8th Annual Student Leadership Summit (Summit) at the Ganaraska Forest Centre to bring together Durham College’s (DC) student leaders for a day of learning, connecting, and exploring. The day was full of laughter, “lightbulb moments,” and, most importantly, new friendships.
As we arrived at the Ganaraska Forest Centre, students were welcomed into the Great Hall with Summit swag bags and smiling DC staff. There was a feeling of uncertainty in the room as participants gathered together for the first time in person, unsure of how the day would unfold. However, this uncertainty soon evaporated as students quickly began to make connections by participating in interactive, conference-style workshops, chatting over lunch, and working together during outdoor leadership and team-building activities.
In alignment with this year’s theme of “Building Tomorrow Together,” students from all faculties across DC gathered to learn about allyship, diversity, wellbeing, and Indigenization while also exploring effective leadership and communication skills. For most students, the highlight of the event was the social interaction and community-building. One student shared that the Summit “felt like a safe space to share personal stories and have meaningful conversations. It was very nice to meet and connect with other students who I have only talked to on Zoom.” It was a sentiment shared by many.
Even in the cold weather, students raved about the time spent outdoors doing activities. According to one participant, “after two years in a pandemic, this was a great opportunity to get students thinking outside the box, working together, and reconnecting with others.”
We concluded our day around the campfire, roasting marshmallows and drinking hot chocolate, as attendees shared their favorite moments of the Summit. One student commented that “it was an amazing experience, from the swag at the beginning, to the sessions, to the activities. Ending around the campfire with smores and hot chocolate was absolutely delightful. I can’t thank you enough for such an amazing time.”
Overall, it was an incredible day surrounded by inspiring student leaders who continue to make a positive impact at DC. We want to thank our wonderful presenters for hosting such engaging workshops and learning opportunities. We cannot wait for 9th Annual Student Leadership Summit next year!