February 28th, 2015.
A big day in Central Michigan University (CMU) and Leadership Institute (LI) history.
It was Competition Day for the incoming freshman class for the Leader Advancement Scholar (LAS) recipients of 2015.
Central Michigan University has the best college Leadership program in the country and I think it is time that we start giving some recognition where recognition is due.
Prior to this day of dignity, many current LAS students tweeted out some advice to the competitors for the next day:
The day began bright and early as students gave tours to prospective students and parents of the school, showcasing the dorm rooms of current LAS students. This was when I was looking through the peep hole in my door as people toured by. Creepy or curious? I’ll leave that up for you to decide.
Next came a provided lunch, in an infamous college cafeteria, where the incoming students and parents were able to mingle with current CMU/LI students, asking many valuable questions and simply engaging in conversation.
Around noon-thirty Dan Gaken, the director of the Leadership Institute, gave his annual speech asking people to raise their hand if they’ve ever head/believe that “You are the leaders of tomorrow,” simply to tell them sarcastically to put their hands down because they are the leaders of TODAY.
The LI also hosted a panel of representatives that we subject to questions from the audience. A current LAS freshman, the father of the current LAS freshman, an LAS graduate, an individual heavily involved in the LI but not an LAS recipient, and a CMU alumnus were all very helpful to provide insight to all aspects of the LI and the benefits of the Leader Advancement Scholarship.
The competitors were then divided up to the actual competition part of the day. This consisted of various engaging activities to gauge their teamwork abilities and individual leadership skills in action, facilitated by current CMU/LAS students.
The competition portion also consisted of an informal interview conducted by current CMU students involved with the LI. The competitors were being interviewed, but they were also encouraged by Dan Gaken in his opening speech to “interview us too.” Ask why we chose CMU, what we’ve gotten out of the LAS program, and whatever else they would find beneficial.
After all the fun and games came a time to relax, eat good food, and engage in even better conversation. As if the day was not awesome enough for the participants and facilitators and parents, there was a chocolate fountain along with other varieties of food to serve as icing on the cake.
This part of the day was as beneficial for me as I’m sure it was for prospective students. It was a chance for me to talk to the competitors, ask them how they thought the day went, their favorite part(s), and other various questions to simply get to know them better! They were also able to ask us a variety of the questions they had – ranging from LAS, to adapting to college as a whole.
If you happen to find yourself on Twitter looking up the #LAS2015 hashtag, you might stumble across some tweets embedding this whole “mentee” thing. So let me take a second to further describe what an awesome thing this truly is.
So as a current LAS freshman, I have a mentor in the sophomore class above me. My mentor would refer to me as her mentee (could be male or female). My mentor also has a mentor, making them my grand-mentor, and making me their grand-mentee. So on and so forth, creating in itself family tree. Here is my family tree, an example of how complex it can get, but remaining true to the Lilo & Stitch quote that as a FAMILY, no-one gets left behind: http://popplet.com/app/#/988149
This mentoring process has proved very beneficial for me and many, many others. As an LAS recipient, our freshman year we are required to all live in Barnes Hall. My mentor decided to live in Barnes a second year and is truly a useful resource for me to have! Getting me acclimated with campus, showing me CMU’s greenhouse on campus and has even becoming my yoga partner! Even before coming to CMU my mentor was even able to answer numerous random questions that I had simply as an incoming college student.
Today’s competitors contained my classes future mentees. This was a way for us to better get to know the incoming class and possibly meet our possible future mentee. (this portion had no influence on the incoming students acceptance as a Leader Advancement Scholar although some were evidentially and acceptingly more excited than imaginable)
As the competitors laid all they had out on the table for the LI to evaluate. They gave all that they could to get them to where they wanted to be. They were simply now playing the waiting game (wishfully waiting to get the personal phone call from Dan Gaken.) All of the participants were deserving, and regardless of the outcome they should be proud of themselves for making it this far (did you see the applicant pool in the first embedded tweet?)
After a long day for us and for them, I decided to shot them some inspiration to hopefully calm their nerves:
Here are a couple of the tweets from the competitors that I think are important and worth sharing:
Competition day is mostly student run, and we especially owe credit to three individual students: Jennifer Drum, David Walter, and Evie Lorimer. Additionally, a SPECIAL thanks to Dan Gaken, Jesi Parker, and LL Cool J (Jeremy) for all the hard work, time, and love that they put into the Leadership Institute. Also a special shout of to all of the CMU/LI/LAS students who all helped today (tour guides, activity facilitators, interview process people, conversationalists, etc.) for giving up your time to make this experience unique, memorable, and special for so many.
Leadership is Central,
Central graduates Leaders,
〈 featured image: a picture taken prior to a room being filled with so much potential: people ready to change the world tomorrow, but already doing so today, also known as: leaders 〉