Leadership Institute 2016 – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Leadership Institute 2016

With a focus on critical dialogue and social justice, the Centennial Center for Leadership (CCL) will host the sixth annual Leadership Institute (LI) from Jan. 16 through 18. This year, LI will bring together more than 100 HWS students and Geneva High School juniors and seniors to develop and enhance their leadership skills as well as their understanding of community, global and entrepreneurial leadership.

“We hope that students not only learn new strategies from the workshops, but also that they learn from one another. Many are facing similar leadership challenges on campus and in the community and LI provides a chance for strategy sharing and building meaningful connections,” says Coordinator of Leadership Programs Kaylyn O’Brien ’12.

Leadership Institute will begin with a keynote address from Jonathan Berhanu, a Ph.D. candidate in educational policy studies and gender and women studies at the University of Wisconsin, who for more than a decade has studied the college readiness and preparedness of urban youth. In his address, Berhanu will explore the recent wave of student protests on college campuses, how students’ activism has transformed the landscape of American higher education, and the role of student activism in the current social and political climate.

Throughout the weekend, students will choose from more than 30 workshops with titles such as “What it Takes to Save a Life,” “The Muddle Reality of Alliances and Ally-Ship,” and “Using Theatre to Spark Transformation.” Workshops are led by HWS faculty, staff and students, as well as Geneva community members.

In small groups called “Home Groups,” each facilitated by an HWS student, Leadership Institute participants will reflect and debrief collectively about their conference experiences. This year, Home Group discussions will focus on critical dialogue, centering on engaging with important local, national and global issues through interpersonal interaction.

Leadership Institute co-coordinator Ryan Mullaney ’16 explains that small group discussions will give students the opportunity to reflect on the workshop sessions as well as to draw from their own backgrounds and experiences to question how they can fuel change on campus.

“I really want the Leadership Institute to be a place where students can get hyped for the semester and implement some of their ideas,” says Mullaney, who’s working with co-coordinator Lucia Cardone ’16. “We hope the workshop results in a network of student leaders who work to implement equity and justice within the institution and the community.” 

O’Brien says working with Geneva High School students is a significant aspect of the program. “At LI, Geneva and HWS students are brought together on a level playing field and are able to have meaningful conversations and learn from each other. The conference environment fosters connections amongst the student participants that often leads to future collaborations.”