From the Nov. 13 Denisonian

Leadersips: Leadership made casual

The LeaderSips series is a new opportunity on campus for students to learn how they can improve and fine tune their management skills while exploring what leadership means. The program is designed to be short and casual while teaching students practical skills that can be used in campus organizations.
Leadersips was formed because the Leadership Fellows identified a need in the student body to have more leadership programs be more accessible for more students. The Leadership Fellows are a select group of students serving the Campus Leadership & Involvement Center by assisting in the planning of major leadership programs and creating new leadership-related workshops, like Leadersips.
Currently, the Campus Leadership & Involvement Center, in partnership with the Leadership Fellows, offer a variety of leadership workshops and institutes. Most of these programs are long time commitments that take place on the weekend.
“Because we make so many of our programs on Saturday morning/afternoons, are we neglecting a large portion of the student body?” asked Lauren Tyger, a junior Leadership Fellow sociology/ anthropology major from Mt. Pleasant, Penn.  
Not every student has the time to commitment to a whole weekend or day of leadership learning and so Leadersips is the answer to this problem.
“We also wanted to make sure that we offered some sessions that were a shorter time commitment and not over the weekend, with a specific emphasis on management skill sets.” said Natalie Pariano, Director of Campus Leadership & Involvement.
Their goal is to offer short how-to sessions to help students make effective changes in their organizations.
These mini doses of leaderships were created to reach those who could not commit to spending an entire weekend or week during winter break to explore leadership.
Through Leadersips, students can learn practical management skills. Most of the sessions of LeaderSips are based on those practical things and often have a specific Denison focus. It also offers variety in our schedule, short sessions during the academic week. Thus far, they have held sessions on facilitating icebreakers, navigating OrgSync and the Campus Organization Handbook, planning events, keeping a positive attitude, and creating a mission statement.

The topics change each week and are very diverse.

“The commonality in all LeaderSips is that what you learn at a session can be practically applied as soon as you leave, whether you learn how to write an effective mission for your organization, how to break the ice, or the tips and tricks to planning an effective event” said Megan McCormick a sophomore communication and french double major from Hinsdale, Ill.

Like any campus club or event, it can take a while to catch on.

“We have had lower attendance compared to our longer programs, however individuals who attend have gained a lot from the sessions, and we are hopeful that more people will attend as word spreads.” said Rachel Reed, a Leadership Fellow psychology major with a neuroscience concentration from Worthington, Ohio.

Reed and Luchen Peng created Leadersips, with the help of the Leadership Fellows advisor, Natalie Pariano. Together they came up with session topics and organized Leadership Fellows to facilitate the sessions.
A problem the Leadership Fellows have observed is that right after the leadership event (such as DU Lead, Motivating the Middle, etc) students feel motivated.
“But they forget that motivation. Leadersips helps with long term motivation.” Peng, a sophomore from China said.
She said that the different topics each week are all very focused and help students learn different practical skills each time. Unlike other leadership programs, Leadersips is completely Denison focused.
While the quantity of participants hasn’t been outstanding, the quality of discussion has.
“I feel it has been very successful in that the quality of conversations has been excellent. The Leadership Fellows have developed all of the content for these sessions (with the exception of one created by CLIC) and I have been very impressed with their campus knowledge and understanding, along with their desire to help their fellow students.” said Pariano.
The Leadership Fellows each have been attending at least two of the programs as participants, and then each Fellow facilitates at least one of the programs.
Tyger is facilitating one of the upcoming sessions called “What’s your Red Rubber Ball?”
“It’s a really fun and interactive presentation based on the book by Kevin Carroll.  ‘What’s Your Red Rubber Ball?’ will be about identifying your true passion, and how that can help motivate you in everything that you do.” she said.  This session will be on Tuesday, December 4th.
Leadership is often taught in a formal large group setting so the coffee shop atmosphere of the Bandersnatch provides a unique place for leadership learning to occur.  
“I have really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of the Bandersnatch, and the fact that we can have meaningful dialogue in that space.” Tyger said, “It’s nice to take a break during the craziness of the week to refocus and see how we can be better Denisonians, and stay true to our values, while learning practical skills for our student orgs.”
Sam Heyman, a junior english major spanish minor queer studies concentration Leadership Fellow from Nashville, Tenn. views Leadersips as a casual yet informative way for students to take away practical skills.
“I think that it is a really cool idea for Leadership Fellows to get out there and benefit students and our community” he said.  
Heyman said it is designed to be a shorter but effective program for student leaders who don’t have time for a four hour time commitment and don’t want to fill out an application.
Leadersips will most likely continue next semester, said Peng.
“We will look at the feedback we’ve received and we might change the time or promote it better” she said.
The Leadership Fellows are looking for ideas that students would like to learn about for future Leadersips sessions. E-mail leadershipfellows@denison.edu with any suggestions.

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