Thank you for your interest in SLI! Our 2020 conference is officially over, and we'd like to thank all of the presenters, attendees, and volunteers for participating. We look forward to engaging with you at SLI 2021!


SLI 2020 will be held virtually on Friday, October 16th!

Come and go as your schedule allows! Hosted by the Center for Leadership in partnership with: Student Diversity & Belonging, Fraternity & Sorority Life, New Student & Transition Programs, and University Housing. Download the schedule here

10:00AM - 11:10AM, Welcome & Student Keynote

  • Welcome to the 4th annual SLI! - Introductions and Acknowledgment of Land
  • Student Keynote Speakers: 
    • Marley Timmerman, University Housing
    • Alyssa Gonzalez, New Student & Transition Programs
    • Caprial Koe, Multicultural Center, Student Diversity & Belonging Student Assistant
    • Max David Wirth, Fraternity & Sorority Life
    • Megan Clodfelter, Center for Leadership    

11:10AM - 12:00PM, Break Out Session 1






Leadership + Decision Making = Success

with Dr. Marni Goldenberg, Professor in the Experience Industry Management Department


This interactive workshop will explore leadership and decision making through the examination of models and case studies. Be prepared to make some decisions!







Disability Justice 101 

with Bailey Hamblin and John Lee from the Disability Resource Center and Madeline Wales, Peer Leader in the Center for Leadership


A look at the history of the disability rights movement as it grew into the intersectional work of disability justice including a discussion on movement leaders and best practices for radical accessibility and inclusivity!




Rise Up!

with Marley Timmerman, University Housing


An interactive discussion on learning about leadership through experiencing failure and embracing the opportunities to lead towards success.




Be Our Guest 

with Chip Neuenschwander, Assistant Director of Clubs & Organizations


A former Disney University Trainer shares a behind-the-scenes look at how to make guests happy. We'll discuss Disney's approach to exceeding expectations and how you can apply these time-tested principles to improve interactions in your work and your life. Join us for a magical experience!




Student Leadership & Your Voting Rights 

with Dr. Michael Latner, Associate Professor of Political Science


This presentation explores the generational dynamics of voting rights and electoral reform in local, state and national politics, and opportunities for youth leadership driving systemic change.


12:10PM - 1:00PM, Break Out Session 2



Leading from an Intersectional Feminist Perspective 

with Dr. Brenda Helmbrecht, Professor and Director of Writing in the English Department


Leading from an intersectional feminist standpoint means letting empathy and an ethic of care help us build collaborative, meaningful professional and personal relationships. We become stronger leaders by fostering a culture of inclusion.




Exploring your Values in Leadership & Your Career 

with Krista Burke & Hannah Steen, Counselors in Career Services 


Join Career Services to explore how your values influence the ways you lead and can help you navigate your career journey.



One Step at a Time - Tiny Habits for Big Changes 

with Sarah Hawkins, Coordinator of Club Sports


Learn how to design tiny habits geared towards social justice that make a big difference for you and your community.





The Intersections of Neurodiversity and Social Justice 

with Madeline Wales, Peer Leader in the Center for Leadership, and Bailey Hamblin and John Lee from the Disability Resource Center 


Examining how social justice spaces can be more inclusive of folkx who are neurodiverse through education and awareness of issues neurodiverse folkx face.




How to Engage and Motivate Members in a Virtual Environment 

with Sanjana Gundala, Alyssa Liu, & Evelyn Chavez from the Society of Women Engineers 


The way we stay connected has drastically changed so join us for tips on how to engage members. 




1:00PM - 1:45PM, Break

1:45PM - 2:45PM, Keynote Webinar





Erica A. Stewart, City Council Member for the City of San Luis Obispo







3:10PM - 4:00PM, Break Out Session 3, Dialogue, Panel





Learners and Leaders: Asian American Womxn Redefining Leadership 

with Lilianne Tang, Coordinator of Multicultural Initiatives & Olivia Tran, Coordinator of Womxn & Gender  Equity Initiatives from Student Diversity & Belonging


In this session, students will analyze leadership as a process, exploring the possibilities and potential of leadership and leadership development when rooted through an intersectional lens, specifically addressing the ways race and gender impact experiences. We encourage participants to move towards a collaborative, community driven style of leadership that cultivates the dual experiences of being both Asian American and a woman. We hope for our session to highlight the ways that competitive and individualistic styles of leadership, often observed in organizational culture, uphold White supremacy and heteropatriarchy by assuming these styles as a defined norm.






Leadership Is Not Always Spoken 

with Tarnvir Dhaliwal, Peer Leader in the Center for Leadership & Ashlianne Sharma


“Being a leader is not limited to a singular state of connection. Through the arts, we have the ability to reach and impact countless lives. There is not only a single type of leader nor is there only a single way to lead and empower.”







Womxn of Color Dialogue 

with Cat Placencia, Learning Community Coordinator from University Housing


Join us in a dialogue surrounding the lived experiences of womxn of color and the way their identity impacts the way in which they lead.



White Folkx for Racial Justice Dialogue 

with Ryan Adserias, Diversity & Inclusion Outreach Specialist from the Office of University Diversity & Inclusion


Join us in a dialogue surrounding the lived experiences of white folks for racial justice and how their identity impacts the way in which they lead.  



BIPOC/ Black Folkx Dialogue 

with Jevon Edwards, Admissions Officer 


Join us in a dialogue surrounding the lived experiences of BIPOC/ Black folks and how their identity impacts the way in which they lead. 

4:00PM - 4:15PM, Closing


Cal Poly’s Student Leadership Institute is a one-day leadership conference focused on empowering students through providing educational experiences that support and challenge students to build and apply leadership skills to effect social change. The theme for SLI is “This is What a Leader Looks Like” and we will be highlighting all types of leaders across campus with a focus on expanding the notion of leadership while helping each student see the leader they have inside them. The Student Leadership Institute (SLI) is an open and free opportunity for all Cal Poly students to engage in leadership development opportunities and learn from and with their peers.

Cal Poly’s Student Leadership Institute is made possible by collaborations with some of the Center for Leaderships key campus partners - Cross Cultural Centers, Fraternity & Sorority Life, University Housing, and New Student & Transition Programs.



Student Leadership Institute (SLI) is an open access student leadership conference for the Cal Poly community. This is a great opportunity to learn something new or share your leadership journey or a skill you value with the campus community. Students are provided breakfast and lunch and will get to hear from an inspiring keynote speakers during the meals. The conference will allow emerging leaders to build essential skills while also allowing more engaged student leaders to network and develop skills to foster leadership in others. SLI is held on a Friday and students are encouraged to come as they can with their class schedule.

We want to challenge and inspire students with engaging sessions and have faculty, staff, alumni, students, and community partners present on an array of leadership topics. Past topics include conflict management, identity development, inclusive language, being an undoculeader, teambuilding, mentorship, and more. Additional some breakout sessions are focused around sharing space and have discussion about leadership with individuals who share similar experiences, identities, or passions.

Click here to see the schedule from SLI in October 2019.




During the first two years we offered SLI there was a day-two component on Saturday that was an application-only student leaders retreat. Students from across campus came together to tackle issues around campus climate. Students are provided breakfast and lunch and had the opportunity to learn from diversity leaders on campus. Students collaborated in small groups during the day to create and then present action plans - you can read about the 2018 and 2019 action plans here. Given feedback from our campus community, we have decided to move this student leaders retreat concept to be a collaboration with the Center for Service in Action's Change the Status Quo social justice leadership conference held every February. We are excited for this collaboration and hope you will join us for this great event to be an agent of change for our campus!

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