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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Leadership fair draws interested students

A chance to become a strong leader and to become more involved at Western drew students in and encouraged them to stay.

The Karen W. Morse Institute for Leadership hosted its first annual Fall Leadership Fair Tuesday, Oct. 11, in the Viking Union. At the event, students gathered to network and learn more about leadership opportunities across campus.

Karen W. Morse Institute for Leadership Administrative Assistant Courtney Baxter helped put the event together.

“We just wanted to spread the news about leadership opportunities on campus. Not only news about how you can minor in leadership through the Art Institute and also study abroad through the Art Institute, but we also realized we wanted a mini Associated Students Info Fair focused on leadership opportunities,” Baxter said.

Over 15 organizations were represented at the fair, Baxter said.

The Karen W. Morse Institute for Leadership is named after Karen W. Morse who served as Western’s President from August 1993 to August 2008 and was the first woman president at Western. The institute is primarily focused on student leadership education and practice encompassing the entire student experience, including curriculum, extra-curricular activities and student life from matriculation to graduation, according to its website.

Director of the Karen W. Morse Institute Karen Stout said the evening had been designed around 43 students who received a $1,500 scholarship from the Western Leadership Scholar Program.

“We are trying to get students from everywhere on campus, we have such a diverse student body that we are trying to get a diverse representation of that student body here.”

Lead Student Ambassador Jessica Lucas

The event was also focused to reach out to the other 160 or so students who applied for the scholarship but did not receive it, given there is only a certain amount of money to give out, Stout said.

“That is part of our goal tonight, to help get students interested and engaged in leadership opportunities and then thinking forward in their time at Western and how they can continue to be involved,” Stout said.

The Fall Leadership Fair was an opportunity for the organizations that attended to make more connection to students and get more individuals involved with programs.

One of the organizations in attendance was the Student Ambassadors of the Western Foundation at Western.

The Student Ambassadors are a group of students who represent the student body of Western at events to promote stewardship between the university and university donors, according to the organization’s Facebook page.

Jessica Lucas is a Lead Student Ambassador representing the organization at the fair.

“As the Student Ambassadors, we are looking to represent the student body at Western. We are looking to get our name out there so that different students know about the program that we have and the kind of connections we are trying to make outside of the university,” Lucas said. “We are trying to get students from everywhere on campus, we have such a diverse student body that we are trying to get a diverse representation of that student body here.”

The institute hopes to hold the event annually with an additional fair potentially being held in the spring, Stout said.

“Western students are leaders at heart. Part of what brings students here is this tagline of active minds changing lives, and that came about because our students are leaders,” Stout said. “We want to really facilitate and foster that development in students. There are a whole variety of us here, myself, Joanne Demark from the Leaders Engaged in Action program whose jobs are designed to do that. Any way that we can be helpful, we would love to do that.”

The AS Club Activities Office, also known as the Club Hub, was also in attendance. The Club Hub allows students the opportunity to make the most of their college experience by getting involved in organizations that speak to their interests, goals and ambitions, according to its website.

AS Club Business Director Mikhail Jackson finds clubs are a great way to get involved in leadership opportunities.

“The club system is great because that is what our university is all about. Creating and bridging gaps between people and creating safe communities, so this a great opportunity for that,” Jackson said.

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