The Office of Student Engagement and Leadership has arranged an upcoming event to teach students techniques for properly leading groups or clubs. 

The Student Organization Leadership Retreat, also known as SOLR, is a two-day annual event that gives students the resources and tools to help them feel more confident in their leadership skills. While student organization officers and club members are highly encouraged to participate, SOLR is an event that is open to all students free of charge. This year’s retreat is scheduled for Saturday, March 11, and Sunday, March 12.

The Student Organization Leadership Retreat chooses a theme every year that helps tie together the topics that will be discussed over the weekend. This year’s theme for SOLR, “What is Your Why,” challenges participants to look deeper into themselves and think about why and how they work.

SOLR’s theme for this year is geared toward helping students understand why they work a certain way and how they can better achieve their goals by working with a purpose. To assist with this theme, SOLR will have Simon Sinek as a keynote speaker. Sinek has given speeches and written books about the importance of finding a purpose in the way one works.

Heidie Lindsey, the Director of Student Engagement Leadership at UL Lafayette, explained the meaning behind this theme in more depth. 

“It’s just really examining your purpose and why you’re doing what you do,” Lindsey said. “Oftentimes we just kind of go with the flow. We just keep doing things as we think that’s what we’re supposed to do and we don’t really move with intention.” 

Lindsey works hard all year, with the help of a graduate assistant named Faryal Atif, to provide students with leadership events like SOLR.

Aside from the goals presented by the main theme, the Student Organization Leadership Retreat also aims to prepare students for cooperation and teamwork in an environment beyond college. SOLR wants students to succeed both in class and beyond in the workforce. SOLR also provides an opportunity for student leaders to meet and exchange ideas.

“We want students to feel more confident and feel more prepared to be a member and/or lead their organizations after they’ve attended this leadership retreat,” Lindsey said. “We want them to gain leadership skills that will help them beyond college.”

Atif further shared what specific topics students can expect from the retreat that will help them in leading the organizations they’re a part of.

“The retreat focuses on effectively leading student organizations. Topics include organization purpose, motivating members, empowering officers, resolving conflicts, branding and marketing, as well as personal growth,” Atif said

SOLR will be held off-campus at the LITE Center on Cajundome Boulevard. Activities for the retreat include keynotes, break-out sessions and small group discussions. 

All attendants will be given meals free of charge during both days of the retreat. In addition to the food, attendants of the entire event will receive a t-shirt and a journal as a participation gift.

The Student Organization Leadership Retreat has no sign-up fee and welcomes all interested participants regardless of club affiliation. Students interested in attending SOLR and learning important leadership skills have until midnight on Sunday, March 5, to register. Again, all students are welcome to register provided they have a desire to learn about effectively leading organizations and groups.