Eighteen Rollins first-years and sophomores attended the Emerging Leadership Institute (ELI) Oct. 22-23. From the very beginning, these emerging leaders were challenged with in-depth ideas and concepts about themselves and the world around them.
The first events of the weekend began on Saturday, with the participants and staff assisting with Help for the Homeless in downtown Orlando. While reflecting on the experience, Sanjay Rana ’14 said, “You are overwhelmed because there are so many [homeless people].” Anastasia Herbert ’14 commented that it was “hard to tell the difference between volunteers and people standing in line.” Everyone was surprised by the lack of stereotypical homeless people and the enormity of the task of trying to help these people escape their situation. The most jolting aspect of the experience was summed up by William Glass ’14: “They are just people.”
After the community service component, the immersion experience focused on three group sessions that would help develop the participants’ understanding of themselves and one another. One of the three sessions focused on values. Participants were asked to write their values on their “moral compasses” and attach those values to their shirts. They then answered how much they agreed or disagreed with many statements regarding those same values. Many were surprised to learn that they did not follow the values they believed in. Another session focused on team-building, involving group activities that allowed the participants to bond and see who stood out as natural leaders in different types of situations. The third session was led by the Rollins Improv Players and focused on communication and working together.
That evening, the participants were once again confronted with questions about leadership as well as their roles at Rollins and in the world around them. In the words of Raghabendra KC ’13, “Potential plus skills equals responsibility.” ELI participants were challenged to confront issues on the Rollins campus or in the central Florida area, and to make a difference in the world.
Everyone seemed to love the immersion experience. According to participant Amy Teixeira ’14, ELI was “an amazing learning experience whereby our skills were developed and our experiences were enhanced beyond all means.” Angela Stobaugh ’13 said that it “couldn’t have worked out better. The group dynamic really helped in the success.” Kyle Wilkerson ‘11, Director of ELI, stated, “I am absolutely incredibly proud of every one of you… You put all those worries to the side and made this weekend better than I ever expected.”
This new network of leaders is excited to return to campus and take up roles as leaders by inspiring their fellow classmates to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more. Thanks to ELI, these aspiring leaders are looking forward to leaving their mark on the world.
All the participants would like to thank photographer Mary Kate Dwyer; Facilitators Lucas Hernandez ‘13, Hardwicke, and Katie Powell ’11; Advisors Jerrid Kalakay and Meredith Hein; Assistant Director of Logistics Jesse Stern ’12; Assistant to the Directors KC; and Director Wilkerson.