Student Leadership Conference Focuses on "Succeeding Against All Odds"

Friday, January 28, 2011

On Feb. 18 and 19, Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community & Technical College will host a Student Leadership Conference with the theme “Succeeding Against All Odds.”

Designed for high school students, college students, student organization and club leaders, Greek life officers and members, Student Government members, Freshman Counselors, residence hall advisors and prospective leaders, the event is sponsored by the Office of Student Affairs, Student Government and Residence Life.

The $35 registration fee includes interactive sessions, action-oriented and impactful speakers, all meals, refreshments and door prizes. Registration is free for FSU and Pierpont students. For more information or to register, contact Jane Delbrook in the Office of Student Affairs at (304) 367-4215 or The registration deadline is Feb. 12.

The conference will focus on offering strategies designed to increase students’ chances of success, regardless of obstacles they may face along the way. In addition to providing tools for personal leadership development, the conference will highlight skills and suggestions for intervening on behalf of others when they are engaging in risky behaviors.

Registration begins Friday, Feb. 18, at 6 p.m. Keynote speaker Jamie Tworkowski will present remarks at 7 p.m. in Colebank Hall gym. (Tworkowski’s presentation is open to the public at no charge as part of the Celebration of Ideas Lecture Series.)

Tworkowski is the founder of To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA), a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.

TWLOHA began in 2006 as Tworkowski’s attempt to help a friend and tell a story. He posted a blog on MySpace and began selling T-shirts as a way to pay for his friend’s treatment. Sparked by the support of bands such as Switchfoot, Anberlin and Paramore, the T-shirts quickly became something of a phenomenon within the music realm. Three years later, TWLOHA now has the largest online audience of any non-profit on MySpace and Facebook, with over 700,000 followers. The TWLOHA team has responded to over 150,000 messages from more than 100 countries, in addition to investing $700,000 directly to treatment and recovery.

Tworkowski has been interviewed by the NBC Nightly News, CNN, MTV, Rolling Stone and SPIN Magazine, and his TWLOHA blog is one of the most-read blogs on MySpace. Tworkowski speaks frequently, bringing a message of hope and community to audiences at universities and concerts throughout the U.S. and as far away as Australia and the United Kingdom.

From 9 to 11 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 18, there will be a Mardi Gras Party in the Falcon Center third floor conference rooms. The party will include a DJ, dancing, refreshments, contests and games, T-shirts and prizes.

Registration and breakfast begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 19. Beginning at 9:30 a.m., Nancy Parks, Director of Assessment for Pierpont, will present a welcome and “Raised by Wolves?! Set Yourself Apart from the Pack.”

From 10 to 11 a.m., Jayne A. Hitchcock, President of Working to Halt Online Abuse (WHOA), will talk about “Cyberstalking/Harassing.” Her own experience with cyberstalking garnered national headlines and led her to become a noted cybercrime and security expert. Hitchcock offers advice on how to protect yourself, your family and your computer online.

Throughout the afternoon, workshops will be offered on the following topics: career and classroom etiquette tips, career and personal goal setting, diversity, leadership through professional and academic development, Monster’s Making It County Money Management Skills, responsible social media behaviors, True Colors personality identification, recognizing depression and suicide prevention and self-defense training.

Offered from 1 to 3:50 p.m., the Training for Intervention Procedures (TIPS) Workshop is designed to help students make sound choices when faced with difficult decisions about alcohol use. TIPS gives people the knowledge and confidence they need to recognize potential alcohol-related problems and intervene. Registration for this workshop is limited to 20 people, and participants must pre-register. Successful completion of the workshop and post-workshop multiple choice test will certify the student as a competent intervener on behalf of peers who abuse alcohol.

The conference will have a wrap-up with certificates and door prizes in Colebank Hall gym at 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19.

Sign language interpreters and other accommodations for those with disabilities are available by request by contacting (304) 367-4686 or no later than Feb. 11. Sign language interpreting for the keynote speakers on the evening of Feb. 18 and the morning of Feb. 19 will be provided.