A specialized curriculum for autism. No more food deserts. Free mental health care. Anti-bullying reform. Ending child homelessness. For six days in December, 60 aspiring student leaders developed skills to create a better world.
LeaderShape Institute, funded by UNCG’s Office of Leadership and Service-Learning (OLSL) and the Parent and Family Advisory Council, is a national immersive leadership program with a mission to “transform the world by increasing the number of people who lead with integrity and a healthy disregard for the impossible.”
“It’s a really empowering space for students to feel very supported, to have conversations they don’t normally have in class,” said Lindsey Woelker, OLSL’s associate director for leadership and one of the organizers of the institute.
It also provides faculty and staff an opportunity to get to know students in a unique way, outside of the classroom, Woelker added.
“We’re in it together – both teaching and developing students,” she said.
December 2017 was the fifth year UNCG offered the program, which is open to all undergraduate students. This year’s institute took place at YMCA Camp Weaver. The curriculum builds over the course of six days, with daily themes and sessions that explore defining leadership, emotional intelligence, inclusive leadership, communication, group decision-making, setting goals, living with integrity and putting vision into action.
Day seven, Woelker said, is considered the rest of your life.
“It’s a catalyst for students to recognize it’s not only important to dream about what could be, but to envision it and go after it and make it happen,” said April Marshall, OLSL’s assistant director for leader development.
This year, Woelker and Marshall brought in UNCG alumni to talk with students about life after graduation and community involvement.
Students who participate in LeaderShape often remain involved and more connected to campus, and join or start organizations, Woelker said.
“They feel some connection to the institution that wasn’t there before.”
Faculty and staff interested in facilitating at future LeaderShape institutes should contact April Marshall, email@example.com.
By Elizabeth L. Harrison
Photography provided by the Office of Leadership and Service-Learning