Women student leaders unite

From June 5 to 7, Bellevue College’s Organization of Women Leaders and members of the Associated Student Government attended the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders at the University of Maryland. The purpose of the conference is to provide a transformative experience and to prepare women students to be the next generation of leaders. The conference includes over 50 leadership building workshops on topics such as sustainable management skills, empowering women in office, leadership styles, networking and communication, feminist unity and much more. In addition to the many workshops, attendees also had the opportunity to hear from featured guest speakers Chelsea Clinton of the Clinton Foundation and Deanna Zandt, a leader in media technology. The workshops and lectures allowed students to learn about a variety of topics regarding leadership and helped them create connections with other women leaders.
Each year, nearly 1,000 students from all over the world gather at the conference to exchange ideas, network and learn from each other. This was the second year that Bellevue College students have attended. Teresa McClane-Jaswal, assistant director of the Center for Career Connections & Women’s Center at BC explained the success of last year’s conference, and how much OWL and ASG both gained from the experience. “We brought a lot back to the campus as far as activities […] on pay equity, feminism and helping students find what their role is.”
This year’s women’s history month events and activities were inspired by what students learned at the conference last year. For example, the presentation and discussion for Feminist Coming Out Day in March was based on events discussed at last year’s NCCWSL, focusing on the history of first and second wave feminism and how to define the third wave. The conference provided inspiration and momentum to OWL last year and is expected to continue to have similar effects this year and in the future. More students attended the conference this year and the OWL has grown larger and more active than in previous years. McClane-Jaswal emphasized how important the conference was to female student leaders in ASG and OWL and how it taught them to “be proactive in how they can address issues for themselves, to be good advocates for themselves, but also to help other students on campus with being good advocates.”
Maria Jimenez, ASG campus life and events representative-elect, attended the conference for the first time this year. She was very excited to bring back new ideas and “to incorporate new things I’ve learned from these strong women and be able to pass that on to […] students at BC.” Jimenez is interested in “seeing what perspectives other women have in leadership” and empowering women both in ASG and throughout campus.
Students interested in becoming involved with OWL or in attending next year’s conference can contact Teresa McClane-Jaswal or attend club meetings which are held on Thursdays from 10:30 to 11:30 in room C225.