Two University of Southern Queensland student representatives recently attended the National Student Leadership Forum conference in Canberra, labelling the experience “one of the most inspiring and challenging experiences of our lives.”
Stephanie Piper and Allysha Jensen-Swift, both students at USQ’s Toowoomba campus, said they had a fantastic time at the four-day program which aims to discuss the significance faith and values have in leadership.
The forum included a day spent in Parliament House and keynote addresses from the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, as well as other keynote addresses from inspiring men and women who have each faced unique challenges.
Miss Piper, a McGregor College resident, said the experience was thoroughly enriching and gave the pair a new perspective on life.
‘Each individual guest speaker had some fantastic life experiences and many pearls of wisdom to share,’ Miss Piper said.
‘As well as hearing from Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott, the speakers included Lynne Saunders who has fostered over 200 children over 24 years and Jane Tewson, the founder of Red Nose Days.
‘Hearing from the life experiences of all these successful people was fantastic and it seems there are many reoccurring themes from people from all walks of life.’
The students also had a chance to speak with other attendees and share their life experiences, inspirations, failures and successes in small group sessions.
‘At first, it was very confronting to share such a personal account with strangers,’ Miss Piper said.
‘However we ended up finding we all shared many of the same struggles and the feedback was something I will be able to keep in my thoughts for the future.
‘It is rare to share such things with each other and an invaluable experience to listen.’
The students’ attendance was fully funded by the office of Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas and further support was provided by the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students and Communities).
USQ Residential Life Manager Katharine Bigby said the University’s Residential Colleges fully encouraged residents to participate in student leadership activities and places great importance on developing opportunities within the Colleges to generate USQ leaders.
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