Getting involved on Oakland University’s campus isn’t that hard. After all there are 325 student organizations on campus, according to Grizz Orgs as of early April 2017. There are quite a variety of interests that these organizations appeal to, but they all have one thing in common. They need leaders. They need presidents, secretaries, treasurers, and sometimes more.
So where does the OU Emerging Leaders Program come into all of this? Well the OU Emerging Leaders Program is not a club or student organization, but rather a program that teaches students the importance of leadership and gives the students the skills they need to be good leaders.
The program helps students develop useful skills and concepts that can be used to make them well rounded individuals. The leadership skills the students learn are applicable to many aspects of their lives including clubs in college, current jobs, and their future career paths.
The areas covered by the program this year included ethical leadership, servant leadership, purposeful leadership, empowering leadership practices, and being inclusive in practice and thought.
The program was designed by Marie VanBuskirk from University Recreation and Well-Being, and Facilitated by VanBuskirk and Emily DeLano from the Center for Student Activities (CSA) and Leadership.
The semester of events started off with a Welcome Reception and Emerging Leaders Kick-off. Now how many clubs have welcome receptions? Not many.
Kamara Bryant, from the Quicken Loans Family of Companies, and Glenn McIntosh, Vice President of Student Affairs at Oakland University, came together to kick off the semester with some inspiring words about leadership and some encouragement to network with all the speakers.
The impressive list of guest speakers this year included successful Oakland University alumni as well as the kick-off speakers, Kamara Bryant and Glenn McIntosh. Each speaker discussed a different topic and brought their own personal stories and experiences to share with the group. The students listened to each speaker as a group, but had the chance to participate in problem solving activities as well as network with each speaker before or after each event.
Bryan Barnett, Mayor of Rochester Hills, discussed ethical leadership with the students. Later on Nick Kristock, Philanthropist and founder of Fleece and Thank You, came to campus and spoke about servant leadership. Following Kristock was Napoleon Harrington, founder of Ambassador Counseling and public speaker, who talked about communicating through differences. The last guest speaker was Derek Dickow, founder of Steward Media, who discussed purposeful and empowering leadership. Each presenter shared personal life stories and experiences, challenging students to be purposeful leaders, and apply what they learned to their life and future aspirations.
This program was created after hearing many students aspire to be in leadership positions, but not having the words and knowledge to articulate the transferable skills and experiences to demonstrate they in fact are a leader. Through this program students learn that “leadership is really the process of working together with other people, while empowering others, having integrity, and being inclusive while you lead the team toward group goals ” stated Marie VanBuskirk, “Leadership is working with others for the common good of the team”.
The students learned that a leader wasn’t just a title but that being a leader is a process of working on inclusiveness, empowerment, and ethicality toward achieving the groups purpose.
Overall there were 129 applicants to the program, however only 40 were accepted into the program. There was an event each month that the students had to attend. 37 of those 40 students graduated from the program this year and were all congratulated at the CSA awards banquet this April.
To hear the perspective of the Emerging Leaders, and view their graduation assignment click here.
Pictured below are Marie VanBuskirk and Emily DeLano, who facilitated the program, at the CSA awards banquet.