December 5, 2020

SGA starts conference to help underrepresented high schoolers

On Jan. 23, 2021, Webster’s Student Government Association will hold the St. Louis Youth in Leadership Conference for area high schoolers. The event will include workshops and a keynote speaker.

2020 has been a whirlwind of canceled events and missed opportunities. Webster’s Student Government Association (SGA) is here to change that–and not just for Webster students.

SGA is holding the St. Louis Youth in Leadership Conference for local high school students from underprivileged backgrounds on Jan. 23, 2021. The conference is to teach these local students about the positions and opportunities in leadership available to them in college. Webster student leaders will be running workshops alongside a yet-to-be-announced keynote speaker, explaining why marginalized students deserve leadership positions.

SGA president Sarah Hill, who is organizing the event, has a personal reason why this conference is important. 

“I’m a low-income and first-generation college student,” Hill said. “I have had the privilege of being in a lot of spaces to develop my leadership and I know that everyone deserves that.”

But this event is not just for first-generation students. The mission statement of the conference reads, “[it] is to encourage, equip, and empower high school student leaders from marginalized, underrepresented, and underserved backgrounds in the St. Louis area.”

Hill and her fellow organizers recognize the importance of such an event. 

“I’m really excited to make space for BIPOC folks to share their experiences with primarily students of color,” Hill said. “ I’m excited to create these spaces and maybe make some future spaces for these student leaders”

In order to get local, marginalized students involved, SGA has teamed up with Webster’s Admissions Office in order to reach out to St. Louis high schools. The goal is to help promote Webster and the opportunities available here while also uplifting students.

SGA still needs a bit more help from Webster students though. Because the event will be led by student leaders, SGA needs more volunteers to put on workshops at the conference.

“These will be a mixture of practical things and philosophical,” Hill said. “This is an opportunity for student leaders to understand intersectionality and what you have to give. It’s up to student leaders what they feel like they want to share.”

In order to pitch a workshop, students interested should head to the SGA website and scroll down to the proposal link under the St. Louis Youth in Leadership Conference subheading.

Through these student-led workshops and keynote speaker, Hill is excited to bring an opportunity to local students who may feel like they have not had a place as a leader before. There is a possibility that these workshops can become a monthly thing down the line too.

“I’m excited for these student leaders who maybe have faced significant challenges in their leadership to come to this conference and hopefully see themselves represented,” Hill said. “We know the talent is there. We know there’s some amazing students. I’m just excited to create a space for them to come and learn and be encouraged and supported.”

Workshop proposals are due by Nov. 30. More information on the conference is available on SGA’s website.

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