Student Leadership Summit climbs to new heights

The fourth annual Student Leadership Summit is truly climbing to new heights. This year’s keynote speaker, Erik Weihenmayer, is a world-renowned legend for being the only blind person in history to climb Mount Everest. Not stopping there, Weihenmayer then completed all seven summits (the tallest peaks on each of the seven continents) by 2008. This Golden resident is the author of two best-selling books and an internationally recognized speaker. Listening to a speech from Weihenmayer is a moving experience as he brings his message of harnessing the power of adversity to audiences around the world.

For those unfamiliar with the summit, it is an all-day event hosted once a year and it is open to all students. To attend, simply register at Registration is based on a first-come, first-serve basis. The event has been previously held in September, but due to availability and the opportunity to host Weihenmayer, the event has been moved to January. The summit will be held on Saturday, January 28, from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM in the Student Center.

This year’s summit will be focused on communication; a vital tool in leadership. Attendees will begin the day with a morning reception sponsored by the McBride Program. After a light breakfast, a welcome from President Scoggins will kick off the event, followed by key-note speaker Weihenmayer. As a special gift, all attendees will receive one of Weihenmayer’s best-selling books. Following lunch, two break-out sessions will be intertwined with speakers from both the Mines community and outside industries. To conclude the day, students will have a chance to mingle and chat with company representatives as the festivities die down.

While the name can be misleading, the summit is not specifically geared for students already in leadership positions, although they are more than welcome to attend. The summit is meant to teach and enhance leadership skills whether or not a student has any prior leadership experience. The summit is part of an ongoing effort to create a campus-wide leadership program. There are pockets of current leadership opportunities available for students, from a leadership class to student government, and the summit is a compliment to these. According to Marie Hornickel of Student Activities, “There is a strong need for leadership development in both graduate and undergraduate programs. We want Mines students to have the upper-edge over other engineering students.”

There will be a movie showing of “Blind Sight” the week prior to the summit. “Blind Sight” is a four-time award winning documentary featuring Weihenmayer and his humanitarian efforts in Nepal. He was also a contestant on the popular TV show “Expedition Impossible,” where he placed second overall.

This year’s summit will undoubtedly be an event worth attending. From Weihenmayer’s appearance, learning vital communication skills, and the chance to network with company representatives, this event has something beneficial for all attendees. So make sure to watch for the online registration in early December and save the date for the fourth annual Student Leadership Summit.

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