Students Visit the National Collegiate Leadership ConferenceStudents Visit the National Collegiate Leadership Conference
Three School of Business students joined nearly 600 peers at this winterís National Collegiate Leadership Conference in Tucson, Ariz.

At this winter’s National Collegiate Leadership Conference in Tucson, Ariz., three School of Business students gladly answered questions about that logo on their school T-shirts.

That’s the outline of our building, the Dorothy D. and Roy H. Park Center for Business and Sustainable Enterprise, the world’s first Platinum LEED-certified business school building, they’d explain.

“That’s so awesome” and “I wish our school was that committed to sustainability” were some of the responses Timothy Berry ’13 heard.

Berry, Caitlyn Reinecker ’11, and Nick Stuffo ’14 joined nearly 600 of their peers from nearly 50 colleges and universities, from Hawaii to New York, for the three-day conference at the University of Arizona. With IC the only school from the Northeast, they had plenty of opportunities to spread the word about South Hill.

“I met so many people from all over the country that have never even heard of Ithaca College,” said Stuffo, a business administration major.

His Ithaca experiences prepared him to feel comfortable meeting so many new people, said Berry, citing the campus-wide Student Leadership Institute and the school’s Business Professions Program’s E.D.G.E. mini-conferences.

“They’ve taught me to just walk up to anyone, shake their hand, and introduce myself, and expect them to do the same,” Berry, a business administration major, said. The value of networking was the most important lesson he learned: “The NCLC staff pushed the participants to sit with someone they didn't know, to share a fact or story about yourself to someone else, and to make friends with someone you normally wouldn’t.”

Many of those conversations focused on connecting leadership with service, said Reinecker, a business administration major concentrating in marketing and management. She spent much of her time on service learning projects, one of them for Ben’s Bells, an organization that spreads kindness by decorating beads and bells and hiding them for others to find.

Doing good in Tucson motivates her to do more good in Ithaca, Reinecker said:

“I found that almost all of the leaders there who took the initiative to start something within their school also took the initiative to support or start some sort of charity. When a leader finds something they are passionate about and wants to make a difference in the lives of others, they will go out of their way to do so making a difference in the community.”

She said she hopes she, Berry, and Stuffo can help start a School of Business volunteering organization to help the greater Ithaca community.

Berry concurs: “Finding an hour or so to give back to a good cause is something we should all aim to fit into our busy schedules.”

The 23rd annual conference, organized by University of Arizona students, included 80 workshops, team building sessions, service projects, and networking opportunities. The keynote speaker exemplified a young person’s commitment to community service. In 2002, Micaela Connery, then 15, directed the first Unified Theater production in West Hartford, Conn., as an attempt to engage people of all abilities in theater. As Unified Theater’s executive director, she works with middle and high school students to lead school theater groups that are fully inclusive of students of all abilities.

Teambuilding exercises taught participants how to work together without talking, said Stuffo. “I think the key lesson that I learned there was how to interact with other people that you do not know,” he said.

Berry described a silent exercise in which 25 people stood around a circle with 31 colored spots. Each spot had to be touched in ascending order, from 1 to 31, but only one person's foot was allowed to be in the circle at a time. “Getting this done in 14 seconds, as we did, proved to be very difficult, but it was an experience I won't forget,” he said.

The trio will be present their findings to other students during an upcoming Student Leadership Institute workshop. The School of Business requires all students to complete two of three leadership certificates offers by the Student Leadership Institute, part of the Office of Student Engagement and Multicultural Affairs. Certificates are offered in Leading Self, Leading Others, and Leading in a Diverse World.

Berry can recount the way descriptions of Ithaca College impressed other attendees: “The fact that we live and work in snow and ever-changing weather awed some of the other participants.’’


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