Home » ACM Student Leadership Summit Inspires Campus Leaders

ACM Student Leadership Summit Inspires Campus Leaders

ACM Student Leadership Summit Inspires Campus Leaders March 27, 2024

Above: During the 2024 ACM Student Leadership Summit, 21 ACM undergraduates connected with peers across member campuses, learned from alumni and community leaders, and built professional networks. 

The Associated Colleges of the Midwest hosted its second Student Leadership Summit, a weekend-long experiential learning program focused on leadership development, strengthening cultural and emotional intelligence, and career preparation. The program supports the strategic action area Develop and Cultivate Leaders of ACM’s strategic plan. The event took place February 9 and 10, 2024, in downtown Chicago. Established or up-and-coming student leaders were selected to participate by their college or university. 

Rafael Cervantes Jr.

During the Summit, more than twenty students collaborated with their peers across ACM member schools, built relationships and networks, and learned from community leaders across the consortium and the Chicago metropolitan area. Students were accompanied by professional staff from their campuses, who participated in portions of the Summit as well as concurrent discussions about student life and leadership. “This experience allowed me to connect with other student leaders around the Midwest and gain valuable knowledge on approaching leadership in diverse fields,” said Rafael Cervantes Jr., a business management major and student athlete at Beloit College. “I am extremely grateful to have been able to experience this, and I know the skills I gained throughout the Student Leadership Summit will be valuable as I continue to grow as a leader.” 

The Summit was facilitated in partnership with Common Purpose, a global not-for-profit organization committed to developing leaders who can cross-institutional, cultural, and social boundaries. ACM President Lisa Jasinski welcomed participants on Friday, February 9, and Meghan Ozaroski, an alumna of Coe College and Director of Global Collaboration at the Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs, shared her perspective on how a liberal arts education prepares students to thrive in their postgraduate careers. Students then connected over dinner with local leaders, including alumni from ACM colleges, who shared insights from their leadership journeys. 

The following day, students explored perspectives on leadership, what it means to be a leader on campus, and what they need to learn to fulfill their potential. This included conversations with leaders from a variety of industries, including non-profits organizations and civic government, about how they work across boundaries and practice cultural intelligence to shape change in Chicago. 

Tiyandza Mngomezulu

“Throughout the program, we honed essential leadership skills directly applicable to our roles on campus,” said Tiyandza Mngomezulu, who is pursuing a self-designed major in international development economics and a theatre major at Lake Forest College. “From effective communication to strategic decision-making, the Summit equipped us with practical approaches to drive positive change in our communities.” Mngomezulu described the exposure to the perspectives of different leaders as a highlight of the program. “Hearing their stories and learning from their experiences broadened my understanding of leadership and reinforced the importance of inclusivity and empathy in effective leadership.”  

On the second day, Frankie Shipman-Amuwo, Managing Deputy Commissioner of Programs at the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services, and Nubia Willman, Chief Programs Officer at Latinos Progresando, spoke on a panel about how to engage diverse stakeholders. Stevie Valles, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Chicago Votes, shared insights about authentic leadership. 

At the close of the event, students reflected on how to take what they learned throughout the Summit to make a positive difference on their home campuses. “ACM is so proud to create spaces for student leaders across our member institutions to come together, closely examine their personal leadership styles, and broaden their perspectives by learning from professionals working across sectors,” said ACM President Lisa Jasinski. “I know that I would have benefited greatly from a program like this when I was an undergraduate. Now more than ever, the world needs passionate leaders who can bridge the divide and work across difference.” 

Share this page