The week of March 9-13, 30 student leaders of 22 nationalities around the globe came together in St. Louis for the first time in the school’s history. This gathering marked the first Global Student Leadership Summit, in honor of Webster’s recent centennial milestone.
At no cost for the students, Webster flew in representatives from its international campuses (Geneva, Leiden, London, Shanghai, Vienna, Ghana and Thailand) for a conference focusing on cultivating students into becoming global leaders. Students were accepted based on application, and their leadership skills vary from RAs to members of SGA or other student organizations.
The summit focused on cultivating global leadership skills for these students, which can be incorporated back at their home campuses. There was a workshop on determining leadership strengths and how they can be implemented with the student organizations they are a part of. There were also teambuilding activities, speakers and reflection groups at the end of each day to discuss ideas and learn about other cultures. In the evenings, students had downtime to explore St. Louis and get to know one another. Everyone stayed in the dorms at Eden Seminary across Lockwood.
For the final event, participants were given Webster’s newly updated master plan and tasked with creating proposals that incorporated a global element. They gave 10-minute presentations to the administration, recommending a leadership studies minor, which would be offered at all campuses. They discussed a program for staff to work at other campuses for semester or yearlong increments, among other global initiatives. The proposals encouraged students to brainstorm ways in which Webster can function as a worldwide institution.
When they arrived, all of these students were complete strangers. They had the opportunity to spend a week living together and focusing on how they could impact Webster’s future, creating a global network through the relationships they formed.
“I want to express my gratitude towards the reinvigorating experience that your gathering made possible this week,” said Lobsang Dhundup Sherpa Subirana, a student at the summit representing Thailand, “I depart nostalgically, having learnt extensively from all of your manners of viewing the world and of affecting positive changes amongst those within your reach.”
The proposals recommended that Webster continue having the summit every two years. After the summit, the students started an online group to share thoughts and ideas about their campus events and procedures, and to foster communication among campuses. One of the proposals recommended that Webster continue having the summit every two years. With the continuation of the summit, this could be an opportunity for students to realize the global impact they are capable of making.
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