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Lydia Zerr, freshman in political science, fills out a leadership worksheet at the Emerging Leadership Academy on Feb. 6. Alyssa Tyler

Campus Activities hosts ‘Emerging Leaders Academy’

Lydia Zerr, freshman in political science, fills out a leadership worksheet at the Emerging Leadership Academy on Feb. 6. Alyssa Tyler

Leadership is a skill many students want to acquire during their time at a university, so the Campus Activities Center (CAC) provided a unique leadership training opportunity for members of its student organizations.

The event, entitled “Emerging Leaders Academy” (ELA), was held on Feb. 6 in the ballrooms of the Overman Student Center starting at 1 p.m. Starting as a large group in the ballrooms, participants were treated to a variety of snacks courtesy of Sodexo and engaged in a variety of ice-breaker activities. The participants were then divided into groups of approximately ten individuals and sent into breakout sessions.

“’Emerging Leaders Academy is an event that (Campus Activities) holds every year for leaders on campus and students who are wanting to step into leadership roles,” said Dezirae Hamrick, graduate assistant for Campus Activities and leader of one of the breakout sessions. “(The academy) helps build skills and abilities within leadership. It helps students experience growth in terms of leadership.”

During the breakout sessions, students were led through a variety of activities meant to encourage various leadership skills and exemplify common problems that come from group dynamics. The students also gained insights about their personal leadership styles and some potential reasoning for certain behaviors within their organizations.

“It was a lot of fun facilitating,” Hamrick said. “I haven’t had a lot of experiences facilitating large groups, so I really enjoyed that. I love opportunities that embolden and empower others, that help them grow and reach their potential. I was an undergraduate student at Pitt State, so as a graduate assistant it was fun to pour some time into fellow students to help them grow.”

Through an activity with a repurposed broom handle dubbed a “helium stick,” five-to-six of the students stood in a line and attempted to lower the handle to the floor with only one finger apiece. The challenge proved difficult for the groups, as any differences in the height of peoples’ fingers could send the handle careening higher and higher into the air. Another activity featured at the conference involved the division of the room into two sides: officer or leader. The participants were then given a series of statements and tasked with choosing the word that best exemplified the statement. Lastly, students were given a leadership summary sheet to fill out as they reconvened in the student center ballrooms, where they watched a TEDx Talk by Drew Dudley entitled “Leading with Lollipops.”

“We’ve made leadership about changing the world, and there is no world,” Dudley said in the video. “There’s only six billion understandings of (the world), and if you change one person’s understanding of it, one person’s understanding that people care about them, one person’s understanding about how powerful an agent of change they can be in this world, you’ve changed the whole thing. If we can redefine leadership like that, we can change everything.”

Campus Activities will be hosting one of Pittsburg State’s oldest traditions, Apple Day, on March 7 at 3 p.m. in the Overman Student Center ballrooms. Students should follow the organization’s page on Gorilla Engage for more information.

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