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Old program resurrected at UW-River Falls

November 14, 2013

The Learn. Experience. Act. Develop. (LEAD) program is kicking off again after having been absent for the last two years due to a shift in roles and responsibilities from a staff transition.

LEAD is a program developed on campus by students, for students who are interested in exploring their leadership potential. By exploring their own strengths and concepts around leadership, these students are also involved in making a positive social change in their community either on or off campus. The program, which used to be a committee, has about 15 students involved.

Staff members Anna Hunter, student organizations and leadership coordinator within Student Life, and Amy Lloyd, service coordinator within Student Life, facilitate and oversee the program with their own student interns. There are more females then males, with usually only one or two men involved.

Hunter’s predecessor was supposed to take over the leadership role but it ended up not working out, and put the program on hold for the last two years, having been in full swing the previous three years before the transition.

“New students have the opportunity to use the leadership skills they are learning about in their weekly meetings, and their service skills and put both into action at the same time as a team,” Hunter said.

Once a month, LEAD works with BRIDGE, a non-profit organization located in Hudson, Wis., that provides community based life skills training, employment services and social/recreational programs for adults with disabilities.

As part of the service they do within the program, they lead the youth and adults from Bridge to different activities within UW-River Falls. One example is the Focus on U school television room. They show a behind-the-scenes look at the studio and how it all works for those who are interested in broadcasting. Each month the activity is something new, and it helps BRIDGE members be a part of a small college experience.

Hunter and Lloyd both explained how, before the program went on hold for a couple years, it helped first year students have more experience, setting their skills a part from other students who apply for internships and jobs. Many of the students within LEAD have had on-campus internships, or have gotten leadership positions on campus like being a Resident Assistant in the dorms.

The program won’t actually take in its full effect of meetings and service with BRIDGE until students come back for spring semester. The program is  designed for first-year students and, according to Lloyd, people leave the program changed at the end of the year.
“Seeing students connect and engage will be exciting,” Lloyd said. “I like to see their potential just flourish.”