FMU students attend conference in Ind.

Rebecca Cross, Managing Editor

Three Francis Marion University (FMU) business students traveled to Indianapolis, Ind., to attend a Beta Gamma Sigma Student Leadership Forum.

During the Nov. 6 – Nov. 9 university-sponsored trip, April Gainey, Eimon Heywood and Brittany Merck attended informational sessions, participated in team-building activities, met other students in the Beta Gamma Sigma honors society and did some sightseeing.

The three FMU students who attended the conference were chosen from those who are a part of the Beta Gamma Sigma honors society at FMU. Professor Hubert Setzler notified the students of their opportunity to attend the trip.

Senior accounting major Merck said that she is not naturally a people person, but she learned from being in a situation where she was stretched to interact with students from a variety of backgrounds.

“I enjoyed all of the activities, but my favorite highlight was getting to know other people,” Merck said.

There were 102 students in attendance at the conference. Since Beta Gamma Sigma is an international honors society, there were even students from other countries including Thailand, China and Germany.

Indianapolis 500 Motor Speedway President Doug Boles gave the students at the conference a personal tour of the speedway.

“The tour was quite impressive,” senior management major Heywood said. “I could relate to [Boles] and how he worked his way up.”

The students also attended an Indiana Pacers’ game. The Pacers’ basketball court, Indianapolis 500 and Colts’ football stadium were just a walk away from the hotel the students stayed at in downtown Indianapolis.

Senior finance major Gainey said that her favorite part of the forum was a session in which the Founder and Principal Communication Architect of Sage, Alyssa Preston inspired the students with her story of leaving a safe, well-paying job and opening her own business.

“That session is the part of the trip that helped me to grow the most,” Gainey said. “I believe it helped all of us realize it’s okay not to follow the path others have chosen for us.”

One evening the students took the Myers-Briggs personality test. Heywood said that he learned a lot about himself and how to build a strong, successful team from taking the test.

“The Myers-Briggs test helps in the short term and long term,” Heywood said. “It shows different strengths and weaknesses. Everyone can’t be in the same group for it to be successful. You need a variety of personality types.”

After returning from the trip, Gainey, Heywood and Merck discussed their experience with Professor Setzler and two other business students preparing to attend another Beta Gamma Sigma Student Leadership Forum in February. Seniors Cameron Packett and Gerard Entwisle will be traveling to San Diego, Calif., to attend the conference.

Merck said that she would encourage FMU students to go on university-sponsored trips. “Go and go with an open mind,” Merck said. “You never know what you’re going to get out of it…it could be life-changing.”