Behind the scenes
Contributor: Ray Bahlaiwa
Last year, universities from all around the nation gathered on March 23rd, at Blue Ridge Community College to attend the annual International Student Leadership Conference (ISLC) which was held that weekend.
I have participated in many kinds of conferences over the years, ones that focus on strengthening leadership and others of different genres of expertise. However, ISLC was the first leadership conference in which my participation to the conference consisted of being behind the scene, rather than as a participant. How is one to write about this overall experience which involve the skills and abilities needed to successfully organize such an event, the importance of teamwork and leadership, along with the importance of keeping a healthy level of fitness in terms of fatigue and clear attention, and moreover the privilege to meet all sorts of individuals from across the world?
It was fascinating how much work goes into something that only takes a day and a half to hold, not to mention the amount of participants that we had to welcome. As ISLC hosts, a part of our responsibilities consisted of running around the entire campus non- stop in order to accommodate our guests. Some other responsibilities included setting up 200+ tables for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Another one of our function consisted of having to network with the participants and make them feel welcome by getting to know them. The most fun part of our job was to facilitate games and activities for the participants.
Overall, even though it was exhausting, it was a lot of fun. Interestingly enough, I had not realized how tired I was until it was over, only because I enjoyed it so much. It was such an honor to be able to meet so many individuals from all around the world who all happened to be unique in and of themselves gathered in the same location to share their passions and interests related to leadership from a global perspective.
Without a doubt, ISLC was a unique experience that I enjoyed and would love to take part in again. I would absolutely recommend to every student to take part in it in the future. I hope to see more JMU representation at this conference next year and hope for the ISLC participation to grow even more than it already is.