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The 57th annual National Leadership Forum on campus began Sunday, June 2. This program, open to high school students in grades 9-12, provides students with opportunities to develop leadership skills, examine foreign policy, study social issues, and learn about the traditions and ideals upon which this country was established.

Yesterday afternoon, I attended a session on social media led by Assistant Professor of Communication Jim Miller. With my extreme fascination in all forms of social media, I was very interested in what issues would be discussed in this setting and how teenagers would respond.

In a packed classroom full of determined student leaders, Miller challenged participants to use social media for social good. Attendants discussed examples of using social media for both good and bad. I was impressed with many students’ ability to identify positive and negative social media methods.

In addition to revealing shocking statistics about the world’s social media usage, Miller shared stories of positive and negative situations that have happened as a result of social media. Many students spoke up in class, displaying their knowledge of the realistic dangers of using social media inappropriately and how to identify misuse. They were also able to provide examples of ways in which people and organizations have utilized it for social good.

At the end of each session, Miller challenged the group to go out and answer the question “How can teens make a difference in the world?” using Vine, a mobile app that allows users to create six-second video clips, and the hashtag #NLF13. After the session, I went and looked at a few. To see some of the student-created Vine videos, visit Twitter and search #NFL13. You’ll be surprised at some of the things these bright students can create. This session is just one of the many classes students are able to attend and learn how be the leaders they are.

Hannah Beall Owens, news director

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