Past Conferences

Fall 2020 Student Leadership Conference

Putting the ACT in Activism!

Friday, November 13, 2020
3pm - 7pm PT
Virtual Conference via Zoom

That's a wrap!

Thank you to all who were able to engage in this year's Student Leadership Conference. The virtual conference brought together more than 300 people from across the world - literally, to explore topics in leadership development and activism. Take a look at our recap video to see what this year's conference was all about. 

About the Conference

Given the rise of events occurring globally and in our local communities, we are reminded of the many ways we can take action against injustice. This means educating ourselves and our community on the role we play in our own liberation. As many of us are left with the question “what can I do?”, the Student Leadership Conference aims to serve us as future leaders in their journey into activism.

This year’s theme, “Putting the ACT in Activism” explores the different paths of social change that will equip student leaders with the tools, experiences, and motivation to contribute to the common good within their community. We aim to build the capacity of student leaders to address community-identified priorities and desires. It’s time to rise and take action. Join our First Virtual Student Leadership Conference to learn how you can “put the act in activism”. 

Conference Schedule

All listed times are in Pacific Time (PT).

3:00pm - 3:15pm  Conference Opening LIVE Webinar
3:15pm - 4:00pm Moderated Keynote Discussion LIVE Webinar
4:00pm - 4:50pm Program Session 1 Zoom
5:00pm - 5:50pm Program Session 2 Zoom
6:00pm - 6:15pm Conference Closing LIVE Webinar
6:15pm - 7:00pm Networking Zoom


Keynote Speaker: Julian Dowell

Julian Dowell's photo

Julian Dowell is a 20-year-old born in Baltimore City and raised in Wheaton, Maryland since the age of 8. Returning frequently to his hometown, he strives to leave an impact in every room he enters and with every person he has the privilege of engaging with. From a young age, he has recognized the importance of providing the voiceless with a platform, and after seeing the stark inequalities between Baltimore City and Baltimore County, it was apparent that indifference to injustice just wasn't an option for him. As a third-year African-American Studies major at Georgetown University, Julian plans to apply the knowledge and systemic analysis he has received to fight against hegemony in its various forms.

Julian wouldn't have been able to find his activist voice without all of the fantastic individuals who impacted his social, emotional, and intellectual development. When his mother bought him Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow back in 2014, he committed to challenging the Criminal Injustice System. After reading The New Jim Crow, Julian sought to put what he had learned into practice. At the age of 14, he became the youngest intern of the NAACP Washington Bureau, participating and facilitating student movements for justice. For example, developing a social justice critical competency curriculum for all DC Public High Schools, as well as leveraging Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality as a Tool for Social Justice.

Currently, Julian is the founder of Arkitekt X, an Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality studio that strives to center diverse perspectives in order to create powerful AR and VR experiences. Arkitekt X wanted to take the time to shine a light on Breonna Taylor, before her name had been commodified by the mainstream, and create an AR mural to highlight her radiance. The firm is currently developing a range of experiences centered around marginalized peoples displayed year-round.

Fall 2019 Conference Recap

"Power In a Voice"

Saturday, November 9
11:00am - 3:00pm
McLaren Complex

About the Theme

We live in a world comprised of various cultures, perspectives and beliefs yet are still expected to live by certain social norms*. While social norms may be widely accepted, they also have the power to suppress cultures, perspectives, and beliefs. This power only grows stronger as individuals remain silent. This is why it is important to stand up for what you believe in. 

This year’s conference theme, “Power in a Voice”, explores the roles of power, identity, and advocacy to equip individuals with tools, experiences, and motivation to use their voices. After all, it only takes one leader to make an impact in the world.

*Social norms are accepted behaviors that individuals are expected to conform to.

Conference Schedule

Time Location Description
10:30am - 11:00am McLaren Complex Check-in
10:30am - 11:15am McLaren Complex Brunch
11:00am - 11:30am McLaren Complex Opening Activities
11:30am - 12:30pm McLaren Complex Keynote Address: Mariah Parker
12:45pm - 1:25pm Fromm Hall Breakout Session 1
1:35pm - 2:15pm Fromm Hall Breakout Session 2 
12:45pm - 2:15pm  Kalmanovitz Hall Institute Sessions
2:30pm - 2:45pm McLaren Complex Closing Activities
2:45pm - 3:15pm McLaren Complex Advocacy Dessert Reception


Fall 2019 Registration Information 

The Student Leadership Conference is FREE for all USF students (undergraduate & graduate) as well as staff and faculty. To attend the conference, you must complete the online registration process. Review the timeline below to ensure you do not miss your chance to participate in this year's conference!

Online registration opens: Monday, October 21 at 8:00am
Online registration closes: Thursday, October 31 at 11:59pm
Late registration closes: Tuesday, November 5 at 11:59am 

Keynote Speaker: Mariah Parker

Mariah Parker is part of a new wave of young women of color entering politics. She made headlines last summer after being sworn in as an Athens-Clarke County Commissioner, at age 26, with her hand on a copy of The Autobiography of Malcolm X held by her mother. Photos of her taking the oath went viral, highlighting the growing numbers of millennial Black women making their voices heard in local politics nationwide.

Mariah is also openly queer, a hip hop artist (her stage name is Linqua Franqa), a PhD candidate in linguistics at the University of Georgia, and community organizer dedicated to transformative politics and civic engagement. As County Commissioner, she is focusing on creating economic stability and racial justice as well as criminal justice reform and raising the minimum wage.

Between the release of a critically-acclaimed debut album and her tight election to the county commission, Parker has garnered the attention of CNN, The New York Times, Teen Vogue, National Public Radio, Al Jazeera, The Nation, Afropunk, The Root, The Bitter Southerner, Performer Magazine and others for her outspoken commitment to racial and economic justice and her electrifying live performances and presentations, which call audiences to self-reflection and critical action in their lives and their communities.