READING, Pa. -- Penn State Berks will host the 50th annual Penn State Student Leadership Conference from Aug. 5 to 7. This conference will include some special guest speakers, including Penn State President Eric J. Barron, who will give the keynote address, and Matt Roloff, of the TLC Network television show, "Little People, Big World."
The Summer Leadership Conference is a three-day event that brings Penn State student representatives together from across the commonwealth. Participants attend workshops aimed at enhancing their leadership, citizenship and networking skills. Students also participate in community service and some recreational activities during the conference, while showcasing their Penn State pride.
The University founded the Student Leadership Conference in 1964. In celebration of this milestone anniversary, typically associated with gold, the conference theme is "Solid Gold Leadership." Through educational sessions and group activities, Penn State students will learn how they can become "solid gold leaders." In addition, some of the educational presentations will challenge students to consider the past, present, and future as they pertain to lessons of leadership.
Berks Chancellor R. Keith Hillkirk will welcome the students and give opening remarks at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 5, in the Perkins Student Center Auditorium, followed by a lecture given by Matt Roloff, who will speak on overcoming obstacles and achieving success.
Roloff has viewed the social stigmas and physical limitations of being a dwarf not as obstacles but as opportunities, helping him thrive in a world that is not always welcoming. He has crafted ways to work around those challenges and move forward to achieve his goals. Roloff operates a successful family farm, has authored two books, was a top salesman for Fortune 500 companies, and currently owns a manufacturing company specializing in mobility equipment designed for little people.
Students will enjoy an entertaining and informative presentation on the book titled, "The PITA Principle: How to Work With (and Avoid Becoming) a Pain in the Ass," by author Bob Orndorff, associate director of employer relations and counseling at Penn State. Through entertaining scenarios and real-life situations, The PITA Principle describes the different kinds of PITAs and how to cope with each. Students will learn techniques for working with different personality types and identify ways to improve upon various self-identified PITA characteristics through a cognitive-behavioral approach to change.
One of the highlights of this conference is the annual Pride Dinner at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6, at the Reading Crowne Plaza. President Barron will serve as keynote speaker for this event. Also in attendance will be Chancellor Hillkirk, Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims, Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses Madlyn L. Hanes.
On Thursday, students will hear from Jeff Fazio, author of “50 States of Leadership,” who will speak on his 50-state 5K journey that began when a colleague of his, Dee, who has muscular dystrophy, asked him to think of her when he ran an upcoming race. The book highlights leadership lessons that Fazio learned as he traversed the U.S. in honor of Dee and others who aren't able to run. Fazio is director of student life, multicultural programs and judicial affairs at Harrisburg Area Community College.
For more information, contact Kelly Ann Ryan, assistant director of campus life, at 610-396-6367 or KUR15@psu.edu.