During spring break, 50 students from across the U-M community came together to learn about leadership at the Michigan LeaderShape® Institute. A counter-narrative to the warm, beachy vacations that many expect from spring break, students journeyed north to Camp Michigania in Boyne City, Michigan and engaged in self-discovery, learning, and activities that built leadership concepts and abilities.
“To be honest, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I first signed up,” said Nick Viviano, Sanger program specialist and LeaderShape® facilitator. “But I was excited to dive into leadership material with mission-driven students.” As a facilitator, Viviano met with 9 students in a small-group setting throughout the retreat to debrief conversations and personalize the content discussed during whole-group education sessions and activities.
Open to both graduate and undergraduate students, participants were given the opportunity to identify their passions and values, develop a vision, and create a tangible blueprint for action once they arrived back on campus. “The vision creation process was my favorite part of the retreat,” said Nick.
To begin the process, participants were prompted with two broad questions: What do I care about? and What do I want to create? Through self-assessment tools, feedback sessions, and simulations that challenged perspectives on power and privilege, students were able to translate their passions into manageable goals, delineated action plans, and tailored definitions for success. “Towards the end of the retreat, there was one giant feedback session, where every student displayed a poster of their vision and the future they sought to create. As students offered their feedback via post-it notes, I was excited, inspired and moved by the potential of what could be,” added Viviano. “Authentic, vision-driven leadership is powerful. With a clear end goal in mind, students are better equipped to tune out unhelpful noise, say ‘no’ to paths that don’t serve their purpose, and move forward with intention.”
The Sanger Leadership Center is a proud sponsor of the Michigan LeaderShape® Institute.