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ACLC fosters growth among Ariz. students

By Cassie Blombaum
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
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This weekend, hundreds of college student leaders from the Southwest will gather at the annual Arizona Collegiate Leadership Conference in the Student Union Memorial Center.

The event, which features representatives from 17 different colleges including Northern Arizona University and Arizona State University, encourages leadership skills and fosters personal and professional growth in college students.

Jessie Singer, the executive director of the ACLC, said she is expecting a large turnout for the event.

ACLC Stats

Friday Feb. 18-20
Cost: $60

Conference Specifics

"It's a conference that will have approximately 350 participants, college, university and vocational students from all over the Southwest," said Singer, a senior majoring in Spanish and family studies and human development.

Singer became involved with the ACLC three years ago as a freshman because she wanted to get involved.

"I thought that it was really interesting," Singer said.

Carrie Bui, an ACLC volunteer, also finds the conference interesting and is excited about the event.

"We have college students from all over Arizona and out of state," said Bui, a journalism sophomore. "It encourages leadership skills and provides networking opportunities through workshops and service projects."

Bui said the event has expanded from two days to three because of its growing interest. Last year, about 200 people attended the conference. That number is expected to increase by 150 people.

Tracy To, a management information systems junior, attended the conference last year as a participant and thought it was amazing.

"It really can open your mind. For example, I went to (last year's workshop) 'Leadership through Hip-Hop,'" To said. "I didn't like hip-hop, but the way (they presented it) really opens your mind. I thought we should share that with everybody."

To said that this year's conference has a new theme, which event coordinators promise will offer new experiences for everyone.

"This year our theme is 'Leadership for a Lifetime,' which covers the whole aspect of leadership through different stages," To said.

Psychology senior Kristina Deterding has participated in the conference for the last four years.

Last year, she was chair of fundraising and said she enjoyed it so much she decided to help out again.

"I loved it so much - it is one of the best experiences - so I was like, 'I might as well go for a directorate position,' so that is how I became assistant director of external affairs," Deterding said.

Hiba Zakai, a political science sophomore, also loved the conference last year.

"I attended the conference last year, and I found it really cool," Zakai said. "I wanted to work for the speakers mainly, so I applied for the events chair, which I got."

The event, which will feature six different workshops, service project tracks and three speakers, is open to all current and prospective college student leaders, Singer said.

The conference is sponsored by IBM, CSIL and the Pan-Hellenic Association, and features slam poetry, a "house sorting ceremony," which allows students to take personality tests inspired by Harry Potter, various games and a documentary about discrimination and hate.

Singer said the event takes a lot of hard work and dedication in order to be successful.

"There are about nine committee members, 10 advisers and about 15 to 20 committee members that plan the entire conference," Singer said.

Deterding said the Pan-Hellenic Association has offered scholarships for the event.

"We are nonprofit. It would cost around $200 for them to go, but with (fundraising) they get a good $100," Deterding said. "We want to keep it low so students can afford to come."

Even with the costs, Singer believes attending the conference is well worth it.

"This year's conference is truly worth the money. It's three days' worth of networking, learning and fun!" Singer said. "The planning committee has been working on this for nearly one full year now and can't wait to see our success in action."

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