Campus Leaders Share 5 Lessons on Confidence, Activism, and AllyshipJuly 14, 2017
In October 2016, 10 campus leaders began a leadership journey that led them to plan and execute campus activism projects, collaborate with the AAUW national office on issues that matter to college women, and serve as peer leaders at the 2017 National Conference of College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL). As their responsibilities with AAUW come to a close, they reflect on their top five takeaways from their experience on the National Student Advisory Council (SAC).
1. You can learn valuable leadership skills from your peers.
“As women we are often unrealistically pressured to be good at everything. Being on the SAC helped me appreciate my strengths and made me realize I could accomplish anything with a group where my weaknesses are someone else’s strengths.”
— Linh Anh Cat
University of California, Irvine
“The biggest lesson I’m taking away from my experience on the SAC is that everyone has a different definition of leadership and not one leadership style is better than another. On the SAC, we all came from different backgrounds and it was important that we had to learn everyone’s leadership style. No two are ever the same.”
— Julia Alford
University at Albany, SUNY
2. Building lasting and meaningful friendships is a skill.
“[My favorite thing about being on the SAC was] working with and bonding with the other women on the board. I’ve met some of the best friends I could ever ask for.”
— Sanah Jivani
University of Texas, San Antonio
“It was truly inspiring to work with women from across the country who want to bring about change as fervently as you do.”
— Brooke Lopez
University of Texas, Dallas
3. Opening your mind is the first step to making a change.
“I can’t put into words how much I have learned about the problems women face outside of my own identities. After being a part of SAC, I’ve been enlightened on new issues I never knew existed. Because of that, I can be more aware and a better activist for all women.”
— Sabrina Ridenour
West Virginia University
“I knew quite a bit about numerous [policy] issues prior to [joining the SAC], but I learned a lot of hard facts and how to better get my point across in a debate or conversation.”
— Dania Baraka
Wayne State University
4. One voice can make a difference.
“I became a better activist because I was energized by the other SAC members. Activism can be exhausting, and it is so easy to burn out or feel like your ideas aren’t making a difference. The SAC made me more confident to really take an activist role online, on campus, and in the public. I learned never to doubt my voice, to be more confident in my organizing, and to constantly learn to be a better ally.”
— Sarah Best
University of Pittsburgh
5. By working to empower others, you also empower yourself.
“I learned more about AAUW research. As someone who is a very fact-based thinker, I love having strong arguments, research, numbers, and expert opinions to back me up.”
— Sapphire Andersen, president-elect of the AAUW Omaha (NE) Branch
University of Nebraska, Omaha
“With the support of brilliant staff at AAUW national I managed to empower students on my campus with tons of information.”
— Saleha Azmi
Bowling Green State University
This blog was written by AAUW Campus Initiatives and Leadership Programs Intern Theresa Hice Johnson.
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