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Student Leadership at Heart of SOLD Conference

Annual Event to Feature Speakers, Workshops and Oratorical Competition


By Mike Emery

Each year, leaders emerge from University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) classrooms ready to address challenges in their respective communities and industries.

While these Gators gain invaluable leadership skills within their respective majors, UHD offers other resources focused on honing their skills – including the annual SOLD Conference.

For the fourth consecutive year, UHD will host the SOLD (or Student Organization Leadership Development) Conference, which offers students interactive workshops and professional insights from keynote speakers. This year’s event runs from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Jan. 18, and students are encouraged to register in advance. The conference’s keynote speaker is Dr. Abigail Koenig, UHD lecturer in communication studies. A schedule of events is available on the conference’s website.

With the theme, “The Learner, The Leader, The Legacy,” the 2019 SOLD Conference will help students tap into their hidden strengths as leaders and develop an understanding of how to establish and maintain a legacy of leadership.

“Students will learn what it means to be a leader and how to identify the skills necessary to inspire others,” said Percy Jackson, assistant director of Student Activities and the principal coordinator of the SOLD Conference. “They also will discover how to apply their strengths as leaders to achieve both personal and professional goals.”

This year’s conference will feature its first oratorical competition, which will test students’ writing and speaking skills. Participants will address the questions, “What drives you to be a leader and how are you creating your legacy?”

“This is an exciting new component of the conference that will showcase communication as an effective leadership trait,” Jackson said. “Many UHD students have never participated in an oratorical competition, so it will definitely challenge them to think about the topic and express their responses clearly and creatively.”

Although the event precedes Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the conference will be connected with GatorServe – UHD’s Day of Service that kicks off at 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 21. On this date, UHD volunteers (including SOLD attendees) will assist with community clean-up projects in the Fifth Ward.

The SOLD Conference is presented by Student Activities with support from university departments including the Office of Financial Aid and the Career Development Center.

“Students can expect to receive a wealth of knowledge at this event,” Jackson said. “In addition to learning new skills, they can connect with one another and really learn even more about themselves. So many of our students are natural leaders, and the SOLD Conference will help them realize that.”

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.