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Wednesday, September 10, 2003
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Students hone skills at LeaderShape conference

 Nearly 50 Ohio University students honed their leadership skills during a recent six-day LeaderShape Institute at Burr Oak Resort and Conference Center. The institute was co-sponsored by Student Affairs and Alumni Affairs, along with each of the undergraduate colleges, Intercollegiate Athletics, the Office of the President, private donors and Pepsi.

"Much of the session involved helping each participant develop a vision that's bold and compelling," said Ohio University student Brandis Thornton, on-site coordinator. "We ask students to find what they're passionate about and what they would seek if there were no limitations. Whether it's a vision for them individually or for their group, we want them to develop a vision so big that it's scary."

Helping leaders become more effective in their roles benefits student organizations campus-wide and the entire campus community.

"Student leaders can benefit from collaboration, and this was a great opportunity to brainstorm with other student leaders," said participant Tara Stuckey, student trustee on the University's Board of Trustees. "Organizations all have the same challenges of looking to make an impact and motivating others to accomplish goals."

"I'd like to leave Ohio University knowing that I made a difference. This was an excellent way to solidify my own leadership style and develop my vision for what I see the university becoming," Stuckey said.

The institute focused on both personal and interpersonal growth, and the students were involved in activities that encouraged the development of teamwork and self-reflection.

Much of the institute involved helping the students identify their personal leadership style and work to strengthen areas that will make them more effective.

LeaderShape participants"It's an eye-opening experience in that it makes you look at yourself as a leader, follower, human being and how you relate to others," JoNelle Ricks said. "It helped me tap into my passion which, in terms of an organization, is helping others realize their goals and create a passion within them."

"The great thing about this experience is the opportunity to self-reflect, be introspective and take inventory of my life. I've been able to focus on how what I've done in the past has impacted what I'm doing now and what I want to do with my life," said Ricks, who is involved with the Black Student Communication Caucus and the Black Student Cultural Programming Board, among other activities.

For Dustin Wood, a student trustee on the University's Board of Trustees and member of Student Senate, said, "I've learned how to connect and bridge the gap with other individuals. Through LeaderShape, I've learned about myself and more about teamwork."

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