Christian Association of Student Leaders Conference

June 1, 2021 Jaidyn Kamplain

Forty-five Hardin-Simmons students attended a conference hosted on campus called the Christian Association of Student Leaders (CASL) conference this year. Students from student life organizations were nominated by staff members of HSU and spent the weekend developing leadership skills with other students.

The CASL conference brings a different perspective to leadership with a focus on faith. This year’s keynote speaker was Dr. Jessica Rimmer, a Senior Consultant at GiANT Worldwide, a global content and leadership company.

“Dr. Rimmer speaks on the way that our faith impacts the way we lead, and how it allows us to assess ourselves so that we can pour into other people,” said Adrienne Morgan, HSU Student Success Specialist and one of the main planners of the event. “Approaching leadership with a faith perspective creates a very fitting conversation for our students, knowing that faith is what has brought us together.”

The CASL conference typically includes students at Hardin-Simmons, Howard Payne, Dallas Baptist, East Texas Baptist, Houston Baptist, and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. These small private schools collaborate annually to organize the CASL conference, taking turns hosting on their different campuses. This year, Hardin-Simmons had the opportunity to host the conference virtually.

CASL gives students the opportunity to learn from keynote speakers and attend breakout sessions that help them network with other students. This year HSU had to get creative. Due to COVID-19 precautions, Dr. Rimmer’s discussions and worship sessions were simulcast. Students were also given opportunities to discover how leadership teams on other Texas university campuses are growing their programs through Zoom roundtables.

“I think our CASL committee handled the changes to the best of their ability,” said Abby Pounds, junior communication sciences and disorders major. “It was hard not being able to be in person with everyone, but the online roundtables were just as beneficial.”

Abby leads in an abundance of ways on campus, from her work as an intern with HSU’s Baptist Student Ministry, Steering Committee, and PACK club. “This conference has equipped me with tools to communicate better with my teams and organizations,” stated Abby. “I walked away from the weekend feeling encouraged to challenge and support my team members as a leader.”

Despite the lasting effects of the pandemic, this year’s Christian Association of Student Leaders conference was encouraging for college students and university staff members across Texas.

“It’s been refreshing to see the way we’ve really held on to what our purpose is, maintain that, and do the best we can to support each other,” said Adrienne Morgan. “Sometimes people really need that reminder that they’re doing good things and this conference allows us to do that.”