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Discovering the Leader Within
The Blue Hen Leadership Program is making its mark on campus and beyond.
It’s only a year old and already the Blue Hen Leadership Program (BHLP) is making its mark on campus and beyond. Aspiring student leaders are using their talents, knowledge and abilities to transform themselves, the University community and soon, the world.
“Our goal is to help students develop a leadership profile,” said Susan Luchey, associate director of student centers for student leadership development. “We expose them to leadership theory and help them develop a knowledge base and skills, which they can apply on campus, and more importantly in the long run, in the workplace and in their communities.”
Luchey believes that all students have the potential to be leaders, whether they take part in two-hour workshop, a student-run project, a campus-wide event or a leadership conference. “Obviously there was a huge need for this,” Luchey said. “More than 500 students are taking part in some type of leadership activity this year, more than doubling last year’s participation.”
BHLP workshops are open to all students and cover such topics as valued based leadership, personal finance, public speaking, group dynamics, communication skills, time management, civility, and social change. Projects with broader impact include a campus Community Service Day and an Annual Leadership Conference. Keynote speakers at this year’s conference, expected to draw more than 200 students, include Harry Swayne, the Baltimore Raven’s director of player engagement, and Michael Skolnik, Russell Simmons’ political director. Parents Fund Council members Joe Petito, PWC principal, and Francis Jelensperger, Parsons Transportation Group vice president will be presenting workshops as part a the spring leadership semester series.
Another major component of BHLP is Quest, the three-and-a-half-day summer leadership program for incoming freshmen that includes a one-day outdoor adventure component. It’s an opportunity for first-year students to get an early start on the journey of self-discovery and personal leadership development, which gives them the confidence to engage and succeed in college life. So far, it’s working, said Luchey.
“One hundred percent of Quest participants are now active in something on campus, whether it’s a student organization, Greek life, NCAA athletics, residence hall council, or club sports,” said Luchey. “And 75 percent are on their way to leadership certification.”
Much of what BHLP offers would not happen without support from the Parents Fund. “I would love to have parents’ participation,” Luchey said. This involvement can come in the form of presenting a workshop, speaking at the conference, or making a donation to the Parents Fund. “Parents’ support is a big part of why our program is growing.”