Published or Revised February 03, 2017
Conference attendees included, from left, Tynaelen Braxton, Amanda Calvin, AASU President Kimberly Brown, Treasurer Hannah Garrett, and Secretary Kierra Miller.
Several members of Paris Junior College’s African-American Student Union soaked up leadership lessons recently in College Station. Participating in the 29th Annual Texas A&M University Southwestern Black Student Leadership Conference, Jan. 19-21, were AASU President Kimberly Brown, Treasurer Hannah Garrett, Secretary Kierra Miller, and members Tynaelen Braxton and Amanda Calvin.
Workshops were offered on innovative leadership, educational and professional programs covering financial planning, social and business etiquette, résumé building, career decisions and student dress-for-success, as well as how to achieve goals. Students also attended to a career and graduate school fair, Advanced Leadership Institute oratorical contest, and an alumni social.
“The trip was something I’ve never experienced before,” said Miller. “It’s good to see young, educated, black students come together and be involved with political activities and learn how to better themselves in the future so they can pass that down generation to generation. I was really surprised how cooperative everyone was and how many people were there. I was also surprised at how many like-minded people I met and I hope to stay in contact with them.”
“It was enlightening, troubling, and encouraging, all at the same time,” said Garrett. “Gender and cultural expectations mean we have a higher standard to meet just to get to the same place as other people. But we also heard that we are strong and can meet those challenges. We were encouraged to start our own businesses and be politically involved so we can be better represented. I took away that I need to be more engaged and encourage others to be as well - to volunteer or become a CEO, for instance, so we can help other people.”
In 1988, innovative collegians at Texas A&M University began a legacy now known as the Southwestern Black Student Leadership Conference (SBSLC). SBSLC was formed as a yearly forum where African-American students from across the country could assemble to engage in meaningful personal and professional development while addressing the problems and concerns that affected the Black community.
Now in its 29th year of existence, SBSLC carries on that legacy and unites nearly 1,000 student participants, advisors, workshop presenters, nationally renowned speakers, and a variety of corporations and graduate institutions each January.