CSGA fine tunes leadership skills at conference

CSGA fine tunes leadership skills at conference

SM Webster

Alex San Nicolas (left), the CSGA president, participates in the group prayer circle during training.

From Feb. 3-5, Chaminade’s Student Government island-hopped to Kauai to take part in the Ho `Opili Hou Leadership Conference. There we fine tuned our leadership skills through activities and networking with our ohana schools that had flown in from all the other islands.

There is always room for improvement, no matter what you do and this conference was a wake-up call in many aspects of our student government. Getting prepared for the upcoming election this spring, we felt we needed to be armed with as much knowledge as we could so we can pass it on to our student body this following year.

If you are a person who is constantly re-evaluating with your life — you are a leader. Taking the responsibility to figure out who you are and finding your balance, especially while concentrating on your studies, is essential. On one hand, the life of a college student is hard and finals, projects and presentations do not always calculate to being the best time of our lives.

But on the other hand, the opportunities are limitless in getting involved with the school to balance that factor and it is up to us to make the most of our resources available to us.

The conference was housed at the Kauai Beach Resort for all 14 schools in attendance. There we gathered to hear opening keynote speaker, Bernard P. Carvalho Jr., mayor of Kauai.

He was charismatic and I was not expecting to see the mayor speak to “just a group of students.” However, it was quite an honor. He instilled the idea that we were the next leaders, and that he was very passionate in how we were all involved with trying to make the world better from a college student’s level, and wanted us always to continue doing so.

I will always remember that moment when this hulking man in his florescent pink Hawaiian button-up, walked right by our group after his speech and shook hands with our House of Representative Chair, Kaipo Leopoldino. As he turned to walk away, I looked back to see Kaipo ‘shaking off’ his handshake, whispering quite loudly “He crushed it!”

It was easy getting to know other people from colleges there. No matter where you went the resort was crawling with students.

Teambuilding challenge courses provided hands-on learning experience for the leaders that tested our communication abilities, physical abilities, problem solving skills and trust for other individuals we had just met.

Each group seemed to work well together. Our group’s challenge was to cross an invisible river with planks of wood and at one point I was blindfolded and piggy-backed on a Maui Community College member, still crossing the river. We had a dedicated team, even if it was a make-believe scenario. We were determined and we were not even from the same school.

Self-awareness, self-confidence, acceptance, inner strength and cooperation, were key factors the hosts wanted the students to pull away with. When we all would collectively have a moment, our CSGA would discuss what we learned from our sessions. It was exciting to talk about, and we all had even more to look forward to after this refresher.

When you become so involved with your busy college life, we all tend to forget the emotional toll the speed of college life has on our well-being. This conference gave the CSGA a chance to finally step back, question who we were and figure out what improvements we could make on the school through the re-evaluation process of ourselves.

Long hours, staying up talking until at least four in the morning with other leaders, getting insight on how they run their student government and how they make changes within their community, was something I could never take from any other type of the conference. It was well planned, thought-out and definitely a great way to gain insight and connections. It was more than I could ask for and I appreciated every moment of it.

You get what you put into every situation. That is more of a life lesson.