The national program helps students build a sense of community on campus.
Amanda Considine (left) and Maria Dovshek.
Two Student Government Association members are looking forward to the new academic year after attending a “life-changing” national conference this summer.
Sophomores Amanda Considine and Maria Dovshek, also University Honors Program students, attended the Institute for Leadership Education and Development (I-LEAD) national conference at the University of Vermont from July 21-26.
I-LEAD is ACUI’s (Association of College Unions International) premier student program. It helps students build a sense of community on campus through team-building strategies and exercises.
“Sharing our leadership journeys was very meaningful and the reason why everyone became so close-knit,” said Dovshek, the corresponding secretary of SGA who is majoring in communication studies with a minor in event planning. “This reinforced to me the importance of listening to other people’s points of view, even in making decisions that we feel will benefit everyone.”
Both Cal U leaders said I-LEAD gave them the tools to become more effective and perceptive leaders.
“They did not simply tell us to watch them, take notes and this is how you go back to your campus and lead,” said Considine, SGA’s financial secretary and a double major in business administration and psychology.
“Instead, they challenged us to dig deep within ourselves and discover what we value individually and how that influences us as leaders.
“Now it’s our job to take the lessons we learned and use them in making the best decisions for the students at Cal U.”
Dovshek said the conference also emphasized self-improvement and will help her academically. She highlighted a memorable quote: “I am focusing on myself, for the sake of others.”
“That stuck with me because even though I am undecided now as to what I am going to do after graduating, I know that I want to work with people and help others,” she said. “This experience will always be something that stays with me, and I am grateful for the opportunity.”
The conference included a day of service to the community. Dovshek worked to create walking paths at the Rock Point recreation, conservation and education center. Considine gleaned crops for local homeless shelters.
“There I was in beautiful, sunny Vermont harvesting crops on a 400-acre mountain for those in need,” said Considine. “This was, without a doubt, the most extraordinary and rewarding service I’ve ever participated in.”
Two scholarships helped offset expenses: Dovshek received an ACUI Region VII Student Leadership Scholarship; Considine received the Alan K. James Scholarship, which is awarded to a member of SGA.
“I will be forever grateful for receiving the scholarship and look forward to meeting him,” Considine said of James, a retired Cal U Student Affairs administrator. “Amanda and I had a life-changing experience, and I can only hope more Cal U students continue to get this same opportunity.”