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Leadership and Service Center

A presentation session at SLDC

Student Leadership and Diversity Conference

This one-day regional conference features more than 30 educational sessions and keynote speakers which explore issues in diversity and student leadership. Held in the spring, the conference is open to students and staff from institutions across the Southeast.

SLDC 2019 will be held Feb. 2, 2019

Get a copy of the 2019 SLDC program [pdf]

Learn leadership to make an impact.

The Student Leadership and Diversity Conference (SLDC) is an opportunity for students and staff from institutions across the Southeast to network and explore important issues in diversity and student leadership. With access to more than 30 educational sessions and keynote speakers, SLDC trains and educates participants in:

  • Essential leadership skills for a diverse society
  • Developing a leadership identity
  • Creating initiatives and methods to foster sustainable positive change
  • Maximizing their student leadership experience

All conference activities are held in the Russell House University Union on the University of South Carolina campus in Columbia, SC.


Who Should Attend?

On average, about 500 students, faculty and staff members at universities, colleges and technical schools in the southeast region join their peers at SLDC each year. SLDC is especially beneficial for student leaders in:

  • Student organizations and student government
  • Residence hall governments
  • Greek organizations
  • Programming boards
  • Student media groups
  • Diversity outreach/education groups

Plan your Day

Conference Schedule

February 2, 2019

8:30 – 9:25 a.m.
Russell House University Union Lobby (2nd Floor)

8:30 – 9:25 a.m.
Continental Breakfast
Russell House University Union Ballroom

9:30 – 10:40 a.m.
Opening Session and Keynote
Russell House University Union Ballroom

10:50 – 11:45 a.m.
Educational Session I

11:55 a.m. – 12:50 p.m.
Educational Session II

12:55 – 1:40 p.m.
Lunch and Interactive Session I

1:50 – 2:35 p.m.
Lunch and Interactive Session II

2:45 – 3:35 p.m.
Educational Session III

3:35 – 4 p.m.
Closing Session
Russell House University Union Ballroom

Session Descriptions
Session Block 1

Friends don’t lie: Lessons from Stranger Things
Russell House Theatre
David Rosenbaum, Piedmont Technical College
Cameron Bearden, GEL Laboratories
This presentation will use Netflix's “Stranger Things” to examine themes in leadership, activism, diversity and teamwork. These and other topics will be presented and discussed in terms of how they relate to students in school and also post-grad, having entered the professional world. The co-presenters bring extensive experience from both academic and business backgrounds, giving the session a unique and powerful perspective.

Self-advocacy and mental health
Room 203
Marissa Russo, University of South Carolina
Emilia DeMarco, University of South Carolina
With mental health issues at the forefront of discussions on college campuses and nationwide, this presentation is aimed at equipping you with the tools you need to self-assess, self-evaluate, and self-advocate. Stop pressing pause on taking initiative and come learn the importance of pressing play on taking charge of working on your own self-care. We will utilize current TV shows to complete case studies in which your favorite characters are facing difficulties in seeking resources for themselves.

Insecure: Surviving The Professional World as a
Person of Color
Room 205
Shay Malone, University of South Carolina
Shawna Edmond, University of South Carolina
Nelda Bailey, University of South Carolina
To be a black professional is often to be alone and comes with its own set of challenges. Beyond outright stereotyping to discrimination, which many still face, there are psychological costs to being one of just a few black faces in a predominantly white environment. From the lens of the HBO series Insecure, USC Black Professionals will discuss how to navigate different work environments including imposter syndrome, racial generalization (speaking for the group), managing emotions, and professional relationships within the office. They will also share advice and answer questions.

Culture-ish: the real-life sitcom
Leadership and Service Center
Aleksandra Ninova-Parris, Kennesaw State University
Brandon Jackson, Kennesaw State University
Who doesn't love a good sitcom? As much as “Black-ish,” “Friends,” “The Office,” and others are entertaining, they all share a common theme. They are based on the mundane mishaps of misunderstanding. Using the models of cultural theorists Milton Bennett and Darla K. Deardorff, our presenters will help you discover a pathway to cross-cultural understanding. Grab your popcorn, because Culture-ish is on next!

Beyond the VOICE: Understanding your own advising and support skills (Advisor track)
Witten Room (301)
QuiAnne' Holmes, Clemson University
Kim Carter, Clemson University
Have you ever seen “The Voice?” Did you know students are often times auditioning for our services, time or attention? It is important that as student affairs professionals, we continue to refocus our advising and supporting skills to the needs of the individual student. Join this discussion-based workshop as we use “The Voice” as an interactive tool to reflect on best practices and personalized advising and supporting skills.

This is (authentically) Us
Room 302
Courtney Sanford, Duke University
Vulnerability is a word that makes people squirm. To be vulnerable is to be countercultural. Our culture teaches that we must be effortlessly perfect. The delusion of perfection creates leaders who are critical of others and unwilling to reflect on themselves. This creates a work environment where staff cannot offer constructive feedback, and where leaders cannot admit mistakes. The practice of vulnerability offers a path toward authenticity and trust in leadership. How can vulnerability help all to grow and flourish?

The best vs. the beast: The boss
Room 303
Rafiya Pope, Aramark
In order to “Be What’s Next”, you must first master “Be-ing What’s Now”. This must be done to accurately assess where you are so you can determine if the momentum needs to accelerate or the trajectory needs to change based on where you are looking to land. My Success Model- Cart^2Wheel of Success will help you better navigate your way to being the best version of you. It is my firm belief that this success model is a great tool because it brings tangibles to something that is inherently an abstract concept- one’s personality. Communication, Collaboration, Action, Accountability, Results, Respectful Recognition, Teaching and Timeliness are all measurable processes that can secure your place as The Best Boss or assist you in your endeavor to be great wherever you may land.

Inclusion equation
Room 304
Franklin Ellis Jr., Coastal Carolina University
This presentation will explore an operational framework to creating a culture of inclusion on university campuses as well as within clubs and organizations. The inclusion equation uses concepts of diversity and inclusion to demonstrate how Yosso's cultural wealth model can be used to empower persons of systemically non-dominant identities as well as be catalysts for change. You don't have to be good at math to learn how to implement this equation!

No one belongs here more than you: On women of color and imposter syndrome
Room 305
Maria Martinez, Wake Forest University
Research shows that women of color consistently downplay their leadership potential, and deem successes as luck or situational effort (Clance, & Imes, 1978). In this interactive dialogue and workshop, we will learn what imposter syndrome is, its causes, and what we can do to challenge and overcome those feelings of "not being enough."

A seat at the table: Empowering for positive impact
ODK Room (315)
Dr. Anna Edwards, University of South Carolina
Taylor Wright, University of South Carolina
The Netflix series "Dear White People," follows several black college students as they encounter issues around modern American race relations on campus and within communities. They take action, confront issues and use humor as a way to encourage difficult conversations that are needed among students today. Join Taylor and Anna as they explore the conversation about working together around all tables to make a difference for positive change and impact.

Emotional intelligence, “The Office,” and you
Senate Chambers (322)
Tabitha Epperson, University of South Carolina
You may know your IQ score or a rough estimate, but do you know your EQi score (emotional intelligence)? Sometimes called "street smarts,” the skills measured in this assessment have important ramifications for your leadership style and how you live your life. Through examples from “The Office,” we will explore what makes up an EQi score, take a short assessment, and discuss how you can actually change your EQi score over time.

Session Block 2

Pro-black doesn't mean anti-white: Why all lives cannot matter right now
Russell House Theatre
T-keyah Cunningham, Columbia College
This is an interactive presentation that utilizes topics and clips from popular shows to promote conversation around the idea of "pro-black means anti-white." It will also promote understanding, encourage unity, and prompt pushes for communication and equity among all.

Not just a social issue
Room 203
Lacie Rhoden, University of South Carolina
Carly Zerr, University of South Carolina
A social issue is not just a social issue ... it’s people. Session participants will identify examples of dominant narrative, gain tools to cross-analyze intent vs. the impact of words and actions, learn how to use person-first language, and explore how identities and privileges are perceived in a service setting through dialogue and activities.

"You miss 100% of the experiences you don't articulate. - Wayne Gretzky" -Michael Scott - this presentation
Room 205
Billy Quinlan, University of South Carolina
Haven Spanyer, University of South Carolina
Sometimes it is a challenge to explain what skills and abilities you have developed throughout your college experience. By attending this session, students will reflect on experiences to identify the transferable skills they acquired, receive tips on how to articulate them in a marketable fashion, and craft their own samples explaining the value of their experiences beyond the classroom. This process will give you the tools to use those skills to meet your organization's and your own goals.

Advisor campus trends discussion (Advisor track)
Leadership and Service Center
Dr. Anna Edwards, University of South Carolina
Dr. Ambra Hiott, University of South Carolina
Join other advisors at this session to network and discuss campus trends and how to best advise student leaders through challenging times. Topics will include risk management, creativity and innovation, and critical questions to spur dialogue across differences. Session participants are encouraged to bring their own “lessons learned” to contribute to the conversation. This session will be facilitated by Anna Edwards, Associate Vice President for Student Life and Ambra Hiott, Director of the Leadership and Service Center.”

Leaving “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood:” Navigating conflict on campus and in society
Witten Room (301)
Mike Dial, University of South Carolina
Lauren Epps, University of South Carolina
To paraphrase, conflict happens! As leaders on campus and in the community we must all learn to effectively manage conflict. This session will utilize a series of interactive activities and discussion to help participants identify and explore the predominant ways in which they respond to conflict and learn healthy ways to engage in difficult conversations with peers, followers, faculty, significant others and family.

Solve the mystery and be what's next!
Room 302
Justin Rose, Winthrop University
Patricia Riley, Winthrop University
Looking for a mystery? In this interactive breakout session, we will look back at some of our childhood heroes: “Scooby Doo and the Mystery Gang.” They didn't have any superpowers, but what they did have was a desire to help others and be resilient in the face of obstacles, overcoming their fear. Join us in this session as we debunk the mystery and work to understand that ordinary people can do extraordinary things.

Discovering your leadership origin story
Room 303
Tyrome Philson, Clemson University
Participants will have the opportunity to create their very own superhero origin story using Chickering's Student Development Theory. This exercise will challenge participants to examine ideas about who they are, who has helped guide their way, how they feel called to serve, what roadblocks are in their way, and how their leadership fits within a team.

Appreciation 101: A crash course in making your group dynamics work!
Room 304
Franklin Ellis Jr., Coastal Carolina University
If communication is an issue in your group, club or organization then this is the presentation for you. You will learn about the five languages of appreciation and how to speak fluently to all of them to aid in improving communication in your group. You will also explore the four horsemen of miscommunication and how to avoid them to strengthen group cohesion.

Diverse-ish: Beyond the buzz words
Room 305
Lyric Swinton, University of South Carolina
Megan Colascione, University of South Carolina
This session is a workshop geared toward defining diversity, inclusion, and equity and understanding the difference between the terms. We will examine the portrayal of women and minorities in the media and popular culture as well as unpack our own personal stereotypes and learn to live beyond them.

Stand up: Exploring humor and comedy's role in social justice
ODK Room (315)
Blake Weiss, University of South Carolina
Comedy and humor are major components to the fabric of society. Like many aspects of society, comedy adapts to meet the needs of people. However, comedy also has a way of critiquing social issues before it is socially acceptable to do so. Because of this, it is worth examining the role comedy can play in advancing social justice. Attendees of this presentation will better understand the usefulness of comedy in bringing people together for change and a good laugh.

The Yes-And: How Sabrina Teaches us to Embrace our Intersectionality
Senate Chambers (322)
Jacqueline Chiari, Presbyterian College
Zoe Montague, Presbyterian College
We live in ~chilling~ times where we often feel pressured to choose one identity over others, especially when some of those identities seem to be at odds with one another. Come on an adventure with two intersectional ladies, hear their stories and learn how to create your own and embrace all the special powers that come with it. SPOILER ALERT: While we will do our best not to give away big surprises, some smaller plot points may inevitably be revealed.

Lunch and Interactive Sessions

Lunch and Interactive Session I: 12:55 – 1:40 p.m.
Lunch and Interactive Session II: 1:50 – 2:35 p.m.

Please look on your conference nametag for your group number. From 12:55 – 1:40 p.m., Group 1 will attend lunch in the Russell House University Union Ballroom, Group 2 will choose from the interactive sessions listed here. From 1:50 – 2:35 p.m., the groups will switch places and Group 1 will attend the interactive sessions, Group 2 will attend lunch in the Russell House University Union Ballroom.

The Good Place
Russell House Theatre
April Scott, University of South Carolina
This session will help participants learn mindfulness and stress management strategies to help them lead a more fulfilling life and improve overall well-being.

Are you a Leadership Warrior Ninja?
Leadership and Service Center
Patricia Riley, Winthrop University
Are you a leadership ninja? Can you adapt to an unknown challenge? Are you cheering on and building up the next generation of leaders? Join this session as we work through the leadership obstacle course to find out what it means to be adaptable and truly encourage others. Come learn how to be a leadership ninja warrior and beat the wall.

Brain Boost
Meet outside of the Leadership and Service Center
Justina Siuba, University of South Carolina
Incorporating mindfulness into your day-to-day practices can leave you feeling recharged and ready to tackle the semester ahead. Come learn about mindfulness and how it can enhance your well-being through a walk around campus.

The Wall
Room 302
Laura Arriaza, University of Lynchburg
Laura Comino, University of Lynchburg
Jade Jefferson, University of Lynchburg
“The Wall” is an interactive and educational experience that examines negative stereotypes about various groups of people. Participants will work in groups to identify the negative stereotypes associated with certain groups and then individually to dispel them. Participants will learn how to be advocates for themselves as well as those who are different by using their leadership positions to eradicate stereotyping and thus discrimination from their campuses and communities.

Jump! Working through fear to reach your full potential!
Room 303
Tadean Page, Winthrop University
Franklin D. Roosevelt stated, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
We all have fears, but there is a key to conquering those fears. That key is jumping! This hands-on, interactive workshop will equip you with the tools and motivation needed to work through fears and challenges individually and within your organization(s) to reach success and truly become #fearless. Ready. Set. Jump!

Icebreakers 101
Room 304
Stephanie Suarez, University of South Carolina
Don't understand why you should do an icebreaker? This session will teach participants a series of 5-10 minute icebreakers designed to give attendees a set of options to use with groups they are a part of to foster greater connections among.

Diversity Bingo
Room 305
Amelia Wilks, University of South Carolina
A great activity for any audience, Diversity Bingo will help participants understand how much (or how little) diversity they are working with in a given group. This session will outline how to create a bingo board and best practices for how to facilitate the activity in your community.

Circles of My Multicultural Self
ODK Room (315)
Office of Multicultural Student Affairs Peer Educators, University of South Carolina
When teaching about diversity and inclusion, the first step is always to have participants examine their own identities. Enter Circles of My Multicultural Self, an internal and external approach to exploring identity. During this session, participants will learn the strategies for how to facilitate this activity and tie it to larger presentations and themes.

Session Block 3

Survey Says… Common Pitfalls of Student Leaders and How to Address Them
Russell House Theatre
Lauren Olson, University of South Carolina
Lucy Caples, University of South Carolina
Lauren & Lucy have both been and oversee student employees and student leaders They have worked with students in a variety of capacities and at various points on their leadership journeys. Through their experiences, they have seen a multitude of student leaders succeed and struggle, and have asked their colleagues where our student leaders are falling short. Through discussion and example sharing, let them teach you how not to be “THAT leader.”

Getting In Our Own Way: The Degradation of Student Organizations
Room 203
Johnny Brownlee II, Author & Speaker: One Man Many Talents
Across the nation our student organizations are struggling and student governments are struggling. Many seem to be on their last leg, past their prime, etc. Organizations don’t have the activism and sacrifice of students from the 60’s and 70’s, drive of the 80’s, urgency of the 90’s or money and participation of organizations form the early 2000’s. We seek to see if it’s a generational issue, leadership issue or are other factors the problem. We examine 6 sinister problems that are costing student organizations funding, stability, sustainability, etc. We’re often taught how to be good leaders, but never how to run good organizations, revive them or save them from peril.

Living and leading from the heart
Room 205
Megan Colascione, University of South Carolina
Caleb Morris, University of South Carolina
Did you know there are 18 inches between your head and your heart? In a world that constantly tells you to "lead with your head, not your heart," we are here to take a stand! Come join us as we navigate inch by inch the importance of heart-led leadership and the traits that produce extraordinary leadership and results.

Fostering healthy female relationships
Leadership and Service Center
Alyssa Rollins, University of South Carolina
Dayna Wolfe, University of South Carolina
What does "empowered women empower women" actually mean, and how does it look in practice? Using movies such as “Bridesmaids” and “Mean Girls,” as well as examples from participants' own lives, we will explore the contrasting characteristics of healthy, positive relationships between women versus unhealthy ones. Participants will leave with tangible ways to foster balanced and supportive friendships and combat unhealthy tendencies.

“Dear White People:” Creating transformative change through dialogue at a predominantly white institution (Advisor Track)
Witten Room (301)
Deborah Allen, Furman University
Emilee O'Brien, Furman University
This session will highlight pedagogical and institutional framework of the Dins Dialogue model. A diverse group of students at Furman University have begun to facilitate a series of workshops on identity and privilege, implicit bias, microaggressions and triggers and community engagement. Reaching over one tenth of the student body, Dins Dialogues facilitators have created spaces for reflection, learning across differences, and exposure to social justice themes.

Black Panther through the lens of black and Latinx Greek life – our Wakanda
Room 302
Nashia Whittenburg, North Carolina State University
Crystal Cruz, North Carolina State University
Wakanda fought to maintain an identity and it's leaders protected that identity through seclusion. Wakandans realized they could keep the essence of who they were and share their advancements globally. How can we as members of our organizations actualize and live "Being What's Next" and share our talents with those around us? We can remain vigilant to self-care, advocacy and live as positive change agents.

Community uplift and escapism in contemporary society
Room 303
She-Nice Hicks, University of South Carolina
Dr. Jabari Bodrick, University of South Carolina
Students from low-income backgrounds are at a point in their lives where they have gained the resources to succeed. Most will transition away from their communities. Helping said communities take a step forward does not mean stepping back. Through analysis of the Netflix original, "Roxanne Roxanne," we will open a conversation identifying institutional inequalities, the concept of escapism, the ethics of giving back, and each student's role in sustaining generational wealth, health and safety.

“The Office” - season 2, episode 21: Conflict Resolution
Room 304
Madison Stephens, University of South Carolina
In an effort to de-stigmatize conflict, participants will understand the purpose of conflict, identify the intrinsic and external causes of conflict avoidance, and gain skills and confidence to facilitate difficult conversations within various contexts. Through facilitated dialogue, participants will analyze the conflicts that arise at Dunder Mifflin Paper Company and how they relate to emergent leadership in a diverse society.

Establishing your personal and professional brand through blogging
Room 305
Skylar Pritchard, University of South Carolina
The blogging community has the world abuzz and it's time for you to join in on the excitement! Through this session, you can take your college experiences and passions to the next level by establishing your own personal and professional brand through the creation of a blog. We will discuss various personal and professional niches in the blogging world, how you can add to them, and the methods for marketing your blog on your professional resume for future employment and engagement opportunities.

From “Scandal” to “Grey's Anatomy:” Be more than a genre
ODK Room (315)
Ross Lordo, USC School of Medicine - Greenville
As a medical student who spent more time during undergrad in Student Government meetings than a research lab, finding a connection between everything was difficult. Understanding the importance of diverse leadership experiences can be challenging, but you might find you have gained more skills than you initially thought! Leave knowing how you are more than a genre and how your unique leadership journey can better prepare you for any graduate school or job interview.

Strength’s based leadership: Leaning into your authentic self
Senate Chambers (322)
Sandy Greene, University of South Carolina
Anna Fontaine, University of South Carolina
Students often view leadership as a big, scary, unattainable thing. But every student has a unique set of strengths, skills, characteristics, and perspectives, that can help them to be successful and empowering leaders. This session will help participants identify their strengths and by doing so gain a better understanding of the immense impact they can have on others.

What is the cost to attend?

Your registration includes a continental breakfast, lunch, conference padfolio and other materials you'll need for the day. 

Early bird registration - Now through Dec. 18, 2018

  • USC-Columbia Cost: $25
  • Non-USC Cost: $35

Regular registration - Dec. 19, 2018 -Jan. 17, 2019

  • USC-Columbia Cost: $35
  • Non-USC Cost: $45
How can I pay?

Payment may be made via credit card online during the registration process.

For individuals registering groups, payment by check may be also selected as an option during the registration process.

Are hotels close by?

Yes, there are a number of excellent hotels in the area. Some even offer a special rate if you're visiting the campus, so be sure to ask when you call for reservations.

Accommodations » 

Is parking available nearby?

SLDC takes place in the Russell House University Union, located at 1400 Greene St. in Columbia, SC. Car and van parking for the conference is available in the Bull Street Garage located behind the Russell House. Visitors should enter through Gate 3. Buses may drop conference participants off in front of the Russell House and can then park in the Barnwell Street lots.

What's the event schedule?

The event will occur from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will include a keynote speaker, multiple educational sessions, breakfast, and lunch. The full conference schedule will be released closer to the day of the event.


What if I need to cancel?

The SLDC cancellation and change policy is as follows:

Through Dec. 18 – Full refund for cancellation of spots; registrant changes allowed.

Dec. 19 through Jan. 17 – 50% refund for cancellation of spots; registrant changes allowed.

Jan. 18 through Jan. 25 – No refund for cancellation of spots; registrant changes allowed.

Jan. 26 through Feb. 2 – No refunds; all registrant information locked in.



View the 2018 SLDC program.

Need ideas for your presentation application? Look at what was presented last year!