Australian Defence Force to run leadership simulation at UOW student conference this weekend

Inspirational – The 12 UOW students who are organising the 2015 S4S conference

The Australian Defence Force will host an interactive leadership activity at the ninth annual Students 4 Students (S4S) National Leadership Conference at the University of Wollongong this weekend, the Australian Student Leadership Association (ASLA) has announced.

Leadership Program Coordinator Coralie Fleming said that the leadership simulation will be a unique chance for S4S participants to apply the theoretical skills they learn on day one of the conference to a real life challenge.

“What sets ASLA and S4S apart is that we give students an opportunity to really apply themselves and their leadership ability and skills in a scenario,” Coralie said.

“We are the only conference in Australia that provides that opportunity.”

“It’s always incredible to see how much people change in that scenario. To go from theoretical expert talking about building their own business to someone who can actually lead a team of ten people through a scenario is most exciting for me.”

Over 20 workshops will be held during the conference on topics including event management, data analysis for social change and how to build a start-up.

“You can hear from engineers, artists, designers as well as entrepreneurs, social change makers, activists – it’s incredibly diverse,” Coralie said.

The theme of the 2015 conference is “Purpose and Passion”. Each year the theme is set by the students in the ASLA committee based on what interests them about leadership.

“For us that makes sure that our conference is always going to be relevant because it’s based on student feedback, on student involvement, as well as what students are really focussing on in terms of leadership right now,” Coralie said.

12 students from different faculties and year groups at UOW are responsible for organising the conference this year.

“One of the major strengths S4S has is that it is run by leadership students for other leadership students,” Coralie said.

Fifth year Science/Arts student, and Experience Coordinator for the conference Kirbie Storrier said that passion is the most important aspect of leadership for her.

“I don’t believe in having one construct or one definition for leadership but in terms of what every leader should have and does have it is passion,” Kirbie said.

The main part of Kirbie’s position as Experience Coordinator is to find ways to turn different aspects of leadership into fun and different experiences that students can benefit from.

“Sitting down and listening to your keynotes is a big part of a conference but we also want to be involved in leadership and have firsthand experience,” Kirbie said.

“That’s definitely something we’ve come up with as a team and that I think is the benefit of having student led events like the S4S conference.”

The two day weekend conference also includes a gala cocktail event on the Sunday night where students have the opportunity to network with local community members, conference speakers and industry representatives.

“You get taught a lot of things about networking and leadership but it’s a matter of actually testing those waters,” Kirbie said.

“The gala evening is putting all of the skills you learn during the leadership conference back into practise in a very fun environment.”

“Everyone gets to dress up!”

Universities from around Australia participate in the conference and around 200 students are expected to attend this year.

The conference will be held on the 26th and 27th September.

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