First Years Dive into Leadership with Emerge Retreat

By Viola Brown, Staff Writer

First years being welcomed by OSI Graduate Intern Mark Campbell at the Emerge into Leadership Retreat this past weekend. (Photo provided by the Office of Stdudent Involvement)

Kalamazoo College started a new program for first year students entitled “Emerge into Leadership.” A group of 11 students attended with the goal of developing and strengthening their leadership skills, and to meet other emerging leaders on campus.

The program was a weekend retreat that took place from Nov. 15-17 at the Sherman Lake YMCA in Augusta, Michigan.

Students learned how to identify and utilize personal strengths, learn about campus life, and training to help students understand themselves and develop communications skills that will help them in leadership roles during their time here at K.

“This program has been in the works for a while. This class is kind of like the guinea pigs,” said Kate Yancho, Assistant Director of Student Involvement.

“A lot of time went into planning the programs, so that students would stay engaged and learn. We spent a lot of time picking the location and decided that Sherman Lake would be perfect because of the lake and facilities available,” said Mark Campbell III, a graduate student intern in the Office of Student Involvement.

Cambell and Sara Yasbel, a fellow intern, and Brian Dietz, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Student Involvement, were the driving forces and masterminds of this program.

Through activities such as a high ropes course, True Colors Personality Test, Leadership Style Test, and a balloon tower challenge, students learn about self-awareness, discovering their leadership styles and how to work together in a group.

Students also learned about time-management and made lists to find out what is important to them and how that influences their decision making process. On Friday night, there was a networking dinner with leaders of different student organizations, so first years had the opportunity to make connections and learn more about the different organizations from their upperclassmen leaders.

Overall, the weekend was seen as a big success by those involved. “I thought this weekend was going to be boring and a lot of lectures, but it was actually very engaging,” said participant Andrew Kim ’17.
“I learned a lot of new things about myself and did things outside of my comfort zone,” added Tyler Allen ’17, who also participated in the weekend.