SHLI conference offers variety

The annual Seton Hall Leadership Institute Conference (SHLI), taking place on March 27 in the University Center, will offer 37 different leadership workshops this year, emphasizing more variety in the student leadership, and giving students the opportunity to network with others leaders on campus.

“We really pushed to have more student-led workshops this year representing student groups and interests from across campus and to have a large variety of topics for student leaders to choose from,” Sarah Clifford, assistant dean of leadership development, said in an e-mail interview. “The only repeated session this year is the Treasurer’s Workshop.”

The conference was formerly known as the SGA Leadership Summit.
The SHLI’s planning committee was expanded this year to include members of the Alumni Office, DOVE, Freshmen Studies, Housing and Residence Life and Athletics, in addition to the Community Development staff.

Last year’s conference had approximately 300 students in attendance and 225 students are registered so far this year, according to Clifford.
“We will accommodate walk-in registrations as long as there is space available, which is why we highly recommend everyone who wants to attend the conference to register as soon as possible,” Clifford said.

The conference schedule includes an opening session, keynote addresses, workshops, lunch and the closing session and raffle.
During each session, students will be able to choose from 10 different workshops they would like to attend. Many of the workshops are presented by students.

The keynote speakers this year will be alumni Robin Cunningham and Jerry Walker. Both were also members of the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

Walker was voted Big East Defensive Player of the Year in his junior season, and he scored 1,075 points in three years. He toured Europe with several teams after leaving Seton Hall.

In 1996, he founded Team Walker a non-profit organization that serves the young people of Jersey City.

According to Clifford, his message to young people is that regardless of their backgrounds or social situations, they can be successful if they can be diligent about learning and demonstrating basic Life Skills including communication, leadership and citizenship.

Cunningham served as the director of academic support services for student-athletes at Seton Hall between 1984 and 2003. She has been recognized with several awards for her work with student-athletes, such as the President’s Award for Outstanding Service to Students in 1996.

In 2005, Cunningham was honored as the university’s Woman of the Year and in 2008 she was named the Seton Hall University Alumni Association’s Humanitarian of the Year. She was also the first female inducted into the Seton Hall Athletic Hall of Fame.

Currently, Cunningham is dividing her time as a mentor in Freshman Studies and Director of the Seton Summer Scholars program and providing Life Skills workshops for student-athletes.

According to Clifford, peer advisors, representatives from each Greek organization, and the Treasurer from every SGA organization is required to attend. Presidents of organizations are also recommended to attend.

“I feel this conference is a great opportunity for all student leaders to network with each other, find out what other clubs and organizations are working on, what ideas and programs can be collaborated together, and to increase their leadership skills from public speaking, to preparing presentations and mediating issues within a group,” Clifford said.

Caitlin Jannucci, a junior, will be attending the SHLI for the third time this year as a peer advisor.

She said that she thinks the conference is valuable to students in order “to teach you about what your expectations should be as a leader.”

“There are so many people, RA’s, PA’s, anyone who has a position on campus and everyone’s position is different,” Jannucci said. “All the programs are geared to everyone’s leadership activities. So it’s interesting to learn, as a PA, how many other things go into running a campus.”

Clifford said that she is personally looking forward to hearing the keynote speakers.

“I hope that students who attend will be able to take their message of giving back to the community and be able to relate to them,” Clifford said. “Both of our keynote speakers used the skills and leadership they learned as involved student leaders and applied it to their success in lives after SHU.”

Students can register for the SHLI online until Saturday. SHLI is open to all students and is free to attend. Breakfast and lunch are included, as well as a participant gift and raffle prizes at the closing.

Brittany Biesiada can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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