LeaderShape Institute Provides Inspiration

HNU students Sydnee Leveston and Abi Lirio recently attended the LeaderShape Institute at Dominican University, a six-day leadership program for college students with an emphasis on ethics. The summer session took place in June and included 50 participants from numerous Bay Area colleges.

“LeaderShape Institute is an interactive, energizing, and unique experience that builds leadership skills no other program can match,” said HNU Experience Coordinator Andrea Melrose Guimaraes. “It is six days of non-stop self-discovery and learning from practical experiences that build your leadership concepts and abilities.”

LeaderShape is a national organization that aims to provide life-changing experiences to its participants. Launched in 1986, the LeaderShape Institute was designed to improve leadership on university campuses. Two years later LeaderShape, Inc. was formed as a nonprofit to manage the institute. The organization partnered with the University of Michigan College of Engineering in 1992—the first of numerous nationwide institutional partnerships.

The theme of the LeaderShape Institute at Dominican University was “The Value of One, The Power of All.” Students participated in a variety of team- and character-building activities.

“Some of the activities required us to trust each other as well as solve problems together to build a supportive group setting, some required us to be uncomfortable and vulnerable, and others were individual projects that required us to really focus on what we were passionate about,” said Leveston, a multimedia arts and communications major. “But they all forced us to really take a look at ourselves and see how we contribute to a community through our interaction with others.”

One of the activities Leveston and other attendees took part in was called Breakthrough Blueprint. Participants were asked to identify communities, causes, and movements that they are passionate about and develop a plan to create positive change relating to these passions. Once a solid plan was created, participants visualized this change by creating headlines for future newspapers, as if their plans had already been implemented.

Leveston said this activity was incredibly inspiring and provided her with a motivational push. The institute, she added, gave her a “healthy regard for the impossible.”

“The lessons that I learned there and the experience I had are things that I will value for the rest of my life,” she said. “LeaderShape teaches you that being a leader isn’t merely holding a position or having some sort of special status, it’s about wanting to bring about positive change.” ​

Student Affairs sponsored Leveston and Lirio’s participation in the institute. Previous HNU participants include Tierney Burris, Destany Charles, Joshua Hammer, and Ronisha Parker.

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