Mary Seiner, Staff Writer
On Saturday Feb. 15 on the third floor of Cebula Hall, the Benedictine Leadership Summit (BLP) welcomed resident assistants (RA’s), aspiring RA’s, Norcia floor members, Benedictine scholars, and any others who wanted to learn more about leadership in a Benedictine context.
A breakfast of pastries, coffee, and tea was served at 9 a.m. After breakfast, Director of Campus Life Alexis Nelson, and Director of Campus Ministry Colleen Dunne, commenced the event by introducing the core principles of Saint Martin University’s Benedictine college experience: faith, reason, service, and community.
While Americans typically strive towards individualism and bettering oneself, the BLP Summit embraced the values of living within a community; where opportunity to serve others in a leadership role is highly encouraged.
Dunne presented on Benedictine tradition, Catholic social teaching (how one leads as a disciple of love and justice), leadership, and vocation in order to outline the intrinsic attributes that bolster a Benedictine leadership role. During her presentation, Dunne also showcased Pope Paul VI’s quote to supply students with a fundamental objective of becoming advocates for communal goodwill: “If you want peace, work for justice.”
A Benedictine leader participates in daily actions of mindfulness, possesses a lifelong commitment to learning and listening, and acts with responsibility. Guest speakers, Christine and George Beech, spoke about the importance of helping others, and how focusing on community issues will benefit oneself when building sustainable structures in an individual’s way of life. Beech articulated how an individual, when undertaking a social venture, should first desire to be self-sufficient in order to better help others. To solve an issue, one must have empathy towards that problem so as to recognize the extent of its enormity.
Students implemented what they learned from the Beeches’ presentation concerning problem solving and creative innovation through group case studies. Each group was urged to be creative in their problem solving and communicate with one another to achieve an end result.
The solution did not need to be revolutionary, as the “Innovation Labs” functioned primarily as group exercises in applying concepts from the earlier presentations. The groups separated into Harned and Cebula Hall classrooms for the first session of their Innovation Labs before Bon Appétit served a taco bar for lunch.
Hanna Hoffman, a senior Civil Engineering major, led an Innovation Lab: her group was in charge of evaluating the current issue of rainwater damage to King County streets. Dioni Roberson, a sophomore Environmental Science major in Hoffman’s group, assessed the case study with her group members for two separate sessions. Before they began tackling their case head-on, the group decided to center their thoughts around the question: “How do we solve the pressing issues on flooding and how do we plan to prevent this problem from happening again in the future?”
Roberson expressed her enthusiasm about the innovation labs, stating that her favorite part about the group activities was “being able to collaborate with people who have different sets of knowledge and backgrounds because everyone is creative in their own way.”
Roberson stated that the labs “helped show how complex the social cases are and how difficult it is to solve these problems because there are so many different ways to innovate solutions.”
The BLP Summit ended at 3 p.m. with students having gained teamwork and leadership skills that will benefit them beyond their college years.