Reading week will become ‘leading week’ for 65 York students

York University has seized the opportunity to train a new generation of student leaders and is enlisting the help of an award-winning leadership program to do so.

For the first time, the LeaderShape Institute is coming to Canada and York University is thrilled to be the one bringing them here, said Frank Cappadocia, director of York’s Centre for Student Community & Leadership Development. “Bringing an award-winning program like LeaderShape to Canada is a dream come true,” he said. “This is an incredible opportunity for York University and our students.”

Right: York delegates at LeaderShape 2007 in Champaign, Ill. From left, Hamid Osman, YFS president, Krisna Saravanamuttu, FASC president, Stephanie Law, Winters College Council president, Kiran Singh, york is U community outreach director, and Jeremy Greenberg, student leadership coordinator

This February, 65 York students will gather in Orillia, Ont., to attend the LeaderShape Institute for an intensive, six-day educational experience designed to expand and enhance their leadership capacities. The Illinois-based, non-profit organization promotes values such as integrity, diversity and creativity, and encourages participants to develop “a healthy disregard for the impossible”.

During Reading Week, Feb. 10-15, the students will engage in discussions, workshops and practical experiences led by the trained facilitators. The curriculum emphasizes concepts such as “building community”, “the value of one, the power of all” and “challenging what is and looking to what could be”. Throughout the week, each student will work to define a personal vision for changing or contributing to the world in a positive way, and developing a “breakthrough blueprint” that details a plan for achieving that vision.

Twenty-four members of the Student Representative Roundtable (SRR), an advisory forum to York’s Office of the VP Students, will be invited to attend, as well as the two student representatives on York’s Board of Governors and two student Chairs of University Senate. Each college, Faculty and central student government will also be provided with one additional spot for a student member selected by that organization’s board.

Left: Students at LeaderShape 2007 work through an exercise

Twenty-two positions will be open to the entire York student community and priority will be given to students in second or third year, who are in good academic standing and are actively contributing to the York community.

All interested students (including the SRR reps and the additional spots from each college, Faculty and central student government) must submit an application by Jan. 11 to be eligible.

Applicants are asked to apply online at the LeaderShape Web site.

The upcoming February session with York students will be just the third international session in LeaderShape’s 22-year history.

“We are thrilled to have York University as one of our campus partners this coming year,” said Paul Pyrz, president, LeaderShape, Inc. “Considering this will be our first session of The LeaderShape Institute in Canada, York will have a special place in LeaderShape’s history of helping young adults lead with integrity.”

LeaderShape alumni include Google co-founder Larry Page, quarterback Brian Griese of the NFL’s Chicago Bears, and Hamid Osman, president of the York Federation of Students and Chair of the York Student Centre Corporation.

Story submitted to YFile by Jeremy Greenberg, student leadership coordinator in York’s Centre for Student Community & Leadership Development.