Campus life creates new EphVenture

This August, a new program sponsored by the Office of Campus Life called Leading Minds will join WOOLF, BRIDGES, Where am I?!, Exploring the Arts and teamEph as a “mid-orientation” EphVenture for incoming first-year students.

All first-years are expected to participate in one EphVentures program of their choosing during First Days during the first week of September. Each of the programs provides a unique introduction – whether through hiking or dance classes – to the College and its surroundings.

Leading Minds, which will focus on the examination and development of leadership skills, styles and applications, will give 20 first-years, guided by two upperclassmen, “an opportunity to learn and explore together their values and ethics, to develop a personal philosophy of leadership, and to discover what leadership really means,” according to the program description presented at a faculty meeting last week.
The curriculum will be based on the “social change model of leadership development,” which emphasizes collaboration, self-knowledge and instigation of change for the betterment of the community or institution, and will include workshops on values and ethics, presentation skills, body language, “leadership vs. management” and situational leadership.

The program will also include activities such as community service projects, lunch with senior staff and key administrators, a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment, a ropes course and paintball.
“Leadership is such a vast topic, and there are so many different aspects and theories to consider,” said Tim Leonard, student activities coordinator at Campus Life and head administrator of Leading Minds. “It’s important that the students discover what leadership is to them.”

Leading Minds is sponsored and organized by Campus Life, with Leonard and student coordinator Schuyler Hall ’10 at the program’s helm. “This will be Campus Life’s first time offering an EphVentures program,” said Doug Schiazza, director of Campus Life. “We’ve been encouraged for about three years by other EphVenture advisors to join in, and we’re excited about offering this program to new first-year students.”
The idea for a leadership-based EphVenture originated several years ago with Katie Kamieniecki, former Campus Life coordinator, but was never quite able to get off the ground.

“When we first presented the pilot to the EphVentures committee, they were a bit cautious because leadership is really filtered throughout all of the five EphVentures programs,” Leonard said. “There was a question as to whether an entire program should be devoted solely to leadership when all of our programs need a leadership component.”

Last fall, however, Campus Life finally decided to move forward with the program, partly because of a numbers crunch. Last year, roughly 320 students were interested in participating in WOOLF while the program’s capacity is approximately 300, so the four other EphVentures programs had no choice but to go beyond their capacities to pick up the 20 student difference.

This, along with President Schapiro’s decision to admit more students to the Class of 2013, “created a greater demand to accommodate the students without having to squeeze them in and stretch the programs to their limits,” Leonard said. “Also, as it stands now, Campus Life isn’t too heavily involved in First Days. We want to get our name out there and invite students to engage us and use our resources.”

“We are still right in the middle of developing Leading Minds – we just named it last week,” Leonard said. “However, the program we’ve come up with is solid, and we are really excited about it. It’s going to be a wonderful experience for everyone.”