On the 15th of February, I was graciously invited to the first service chair visioning conference, an student led opportunity to gather all the GC, Local and Global service leaders and discuss the future of service. It was the first-of-its-kind and from my standpoint I thought it was a really positive experience. Despite not really being a service chair in any one of my 3 services, I held an important position in all of them. I also held a view on not only 3 services but also all three different types of service; global, local, and college. This made me a useful contributor to this discussion. I was originally just invited because the student service head, Anushka Chugh, invited me along, but I ended up representing my global service, SurfAid, as our head had other commitments.
Fully student-led the conference ran from 3PM all the way through till 6PM, and engaging conversation and useful contribution was seen all the way through. After a few ice breaking activities, we had discussion of different issues on the areas of service. These would include things such as, admission process and selection for service activities, motivation within services, and future service projects. The bulk of the discussion was on how we chose students for service and how we keep a motivated and eager team of bright and thoughtful students who actually want to make a change within our community and the greater world. A problem we face now is that we have students that are required to do service yet don’t really want to. This leads to them just showing up and leaving without actively participating or feeling any feeling towards the concern whatsoever. There were conflicting views on what we should do, and solutions ranged all the way from interviews to an admission process to referral programs. I personally didn’t have a side, but I did contribute to challenge strong views. For example I critiqued the ideas of a strict admission process, as it would make service less accessible and more of a competitive endeavour that only some succeed in becoming. A side I supported was the idea of a service year book which held the service achievements of the year, to show parents and students that the service efforts were getting somewhere. Not only would this motivate students on working harder but also it’s a nice keep sake for future years.
Something I really enjoyed about this conference was the fact that likeminded people came together to talk about a important issues that affected us all. Everyone in the room was engaged, participating and had good thoughts. This was something I really had never before, as usually there are always people who don’t want to be there and/or don’t participate and/or don’t take things seriously. But at this was so different as everyone was thoughtful and respectful of everyones ideas and thoughts. It was just a great environment to be in and I hope I have an opportunity like this sometime in the future again.
Learning outcomes and reflection questions topics included:
- Big picture (Goals, Action and Learning)
- LO 1 AWARENESS (Increased awareness of strengths and areas for growth)
- LO 2 CHALLENGE (Undertaken new challenges)/NEW SKILLS (Developing new skills)
- LO3 INITIATIVE (Planning and initiated activities)
- LO 4 COMMITMENT (Showing perseverance, resilience and commitment in activities)
- LO 5 COLLABORATION (Working together to achieve an outcome)
- LO 6 GLOBAL VALUE (Engaging with issues of global importance)
- LO 7 ETHICS (Considering the ethical implications of actions)