This month, four Hobart and William Smith students tackled climate change and sustainable development in the International Leadership Association’s virtual leadership competition.
Camila Goclowski ’22, William Koepp ’23, Emma MacShara ’22 and Allison Jordan ’21 competed alongside their peers in the “International Student Case Competition: Students Leading for Impact,” which asked participants to develop an executive summary and presentation in response to one of six contemporary social challenges.
“Their task was difficult — framing a complex social issue, relating contemporary leadership theory to the solution and then offering recommendations,” explains Director of the Centennial Center Amy Forbes, who coached the HWS team ahead of the competition.
After honing their leadership skills and researching effective climate solutions, the team found “that due to the widespread nature of climate action, we would be able to draw upon the other sustainable development goals, such as quality education and good health and well-being, and how these other goals are impacted/related to climate action,” they explain. “Our changing environment and what we need to do to act on climate change is a pressing issue in our society, so we feel that bringing light to the true reach of the problem is important.”
The students entered the competition with an understanding of “different leadership styles and how they can be applied to the issue of climate action, as well as the skills to think about the full scope of a problem and the various different angles to consider when looking at a big problem,” the team says.
Throughout the process of preparing for the competition, Forbes “gave us constructive feedback, helped us work through ideas, and was always available to answer any questions we had,” the team explains. “Our involvement in the HWS LEADS Program truly helped prepare us for this intensive experience. The Centennial Center was not only responsible for providing this opportunity for us, but was instrumental in preparing us as deep-thinkers and emerging leaders to come together as one team, to work collaboratively with one another, and put together a really strong final product to submit for the Case Competition.”
“I’m really proud of this group of students,” says Forbes. “They range in experience from one just entering our HWS Leads certificate program to one who has already finished. Each eagerly volunteered, which allowed us to enter the competition. I think HWS should be really proud of this team for their hard work, research efforts, capacity to apply leadership concepts and then bring all the elements together as a team. They represented us well at this international event.”