Unconventional Leadership class hosts seventh annual team building conference

Nathalie Leung and Tate Sheehy

Students participated in student-led leadership conference HW Unconvention on Friday in the Chalmers Lounge. The conference was held for freshmen, sophomores and juniors and featured speakers, activities and catering from various food vendors.

The HW Unconvention is an annual event hosted by the Unconventional Leadership class at the school. The elective course taught by Dean of Students Jordan Church and President Rick Commons diverges from the traditional teaching style of using textbooks and readings, instead educating students about leadership through group activities and hands-on experiences.

Commons opened the event with a speech about the importance of student leadership, and Hotwire and Zillow Co-Founder Spencer Rascoff ’93 spoke about how strong leadership has shaped his career.

Attendees were then sorted into three groups that were each led by Unconventional Leadership students. One of the groups participated in a strategy game called “Escape from Paradise,” an activity where attendees had to create products from recyclables and pitch them to each other. Other teams participated in an activity that taught about stickiness principles, a concept taught in the Unconventional Leadership class on what makes ideas successful.

Junior Prefect Yoshimi Kimura ’23 said she enjoyed coordinating the event with her peers.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for not only the attendees but the people in the class who planned the event to experience what it was like to actually put on an event of this size,” Kimura said.

Gabe Levin ’23 said that the unorthodox nature of the event gave him a chance to improve as a leader.

“I learned that leadership is most effective when you help others achieve their greatest potential rather than forcing them to do a job,” Levin said. “Organizing and running the workshops in this event forced me to assume a position of guidance. In order for the program to be successful, I had to put myself out there and take risks.”

Sophia Rascoff ’23 said she grew as a leader while taking the Unconventional Leadership class this year and helping to organize the convention.

“The Unconventional Leadership elective is a great course which taught me to become much more confident in presenting to groups and organizing within a team,” Rascoff said. “The Unconvention was intended to share the skill sets we learned this year about leadership and teamwork, and I believe it was successful in that mission.”