Over spring break, ETSU’s Preview and Orientation Leader Organization attended the Southern Regional Orientation Workshop for a weekend of learning, teaching and networking with orientation leaders from all across the south.

SROW is a conference designed to help orientation leaders on college campuses from nine states learn leadership skills and share information with orientation organizations from other schools.

“I just feel like the convention was really empowering,” said POLO leader John Cole. “It helps everybody.”

Cole, Keyana Miller, Kaylan Lilley and Olivia Webb all felt they gained something from attending SROW.

“You can really grow as a person there and learn a lot of great skills to navigate college or after-college experiences,” said Lilley.

Cole said he spent the majority of his time at SROW attending seminars about diversity.

“I learned that you cannot judge a book by its cover at all, because you never know what a person is coming from,” said Cole. “Everyone is different.”

Webb said the conference helped her see things from a different perspective.

“Going to SROW and being exposed to hundreds of people made me take a step back and hear other people’s experiences,” said Webb.

Miller said she gained a big boost in her public speaking skills.

“I’ve never presented in front of absolute strangers in a place that was absolutely strange to me, and I had the opportunity to do that twice,” said Miller.

Lilley, Miller and Webb all had the opportunity to give presentations with other POLO leaders at SROW. Lilley was involved in a presentation on Risqué Business, the skit preformed by POLO leaders during freshman preview while Miller and Webb presented together on black student leadership.

“The more you have inclusion, diversity and representation in leaders on your campus, the more your incoming students will feel welcome,” said Webb. “There’s one of everybody, and you need a little bit of everyone to be represented to make students truly feel comfortable and to feel like campus is their home.”

POLO leaders were excited not only to be able to teach other schools about their program but also to find ways to better themselves.

“There is no harm in finding good things that other schools do and trying to implement them for ourselves,” said Miller. “That’s how people get better, and that’s how programs get better.”

Lilley said attending SROW also helped to increase school spirit.

“It’s a huge boost in school spirit because you see all these other schools and how excited they are, and you really thrive off of that energy,” said Lilley. “It really makes you appreciate your school and how important it is to have others love your school as much as you do.”

While each experience was unique, many POLO leaders agree that SROW has helped them become better leaders and a better organization.

“As a whole, POLO has really learned some awesome things to bring back to our program and ways to better it,” said Miller.