By Alicia Gillman

On Friday, November 6, 2015, 202 students from 18 different colleges from across Michigan’s Lower Peninsula came together at the University of Michigan-Flint for the Active Students Leadership Conference (ALSC) sponsored by Michigan Campus Compact.  Students from the University of Michigan-Flint, Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, Madonna University, Saginaw State University, Lansing Community College, Central Michigan University, and Mott Community College worked to plan the Active Leaders Student Conference from May through November so that it was truly “for students, by students”.

The theme of the 2015 ALSC was learning how to “live and lead change” in our communities and beyond. The workshops available featured community service, service learning, and civic engagement. Participants had the opportunity to improve leadership skills, partake in personal and professional development opportunities, and learn about ways to improve service opportunities on their respective campuses. Furthermore, the conference gave students, faculty and staff from across the state an opportunity to network and provide a foundation for further collaboration.

Mr. JaNel Jamerson, Director of the Flint and Genesee Literacy Network and native of Flint served as the keynote speaker for the Active Leaders Student Conference.  Mr. Jamerson is committed to leading programmatic and systemic change through the development of literacy in Flint and Genesee County. During his keynote address, Jamerson discussed how participants can evoke change in their communities and left participants feeling empowered to make a difference.

To close out the conference, participants completed five service projects to benefit Carriage Town Ministries, a local homeless shelter in downtown Flint. Though participants only had about 45 minutes to complete the projects, they were able to yield nearly twenty no-sew blankets, over a hundred decorated lunch bags and holiday cards, several boxes of cut t-shirts to be used for residents to make t-shirt rugs, and over two hundred mini first aid kits containing Band-Aids and alcohol prep pads. These items will be utilized throughout the upcoming holiday and winter season by Carriage Town Ministries’ clients.

If you are interested learning more about how you can make an impact in the Flint community during your time at UM-Flint visit our Alternative Breaks page. Visit 2016 Active Leader Student Conference for information about next year’s conference.