The second year of the Student Leadership Development Program (SLDP) has come to a close with over 350 students having participated, even more than last year, proving that despite the strike and accelerated academic schedule, York’s student leaders are dedicated individuals who continue to take an active interest in their personal development and engagement.
The SLDP attributes its success to the positive word-of-mouth advertising it has received from student participants. “Many of the alumni from last year’s program have been referring their friends or returning to finish up the various requirements for the letters of recognition — we were receiving inquiries about it as early as last September,” says Courtney Mallam, leadership programs assistant at the Centre for Student Community & Leadership Development.
Designed for students, by students, the SLDP was initially created by identifying core areas for student development. Facilitated by York experts, each workshop is about 90 minutes in length and free for students. This year, the number of students who attended Vice-President Students Robert Tiffin’s recognition ceremony doubled from last year, with 43 students participating in nine or more sessions during the winter semester.
“Students told us that these sessions couldn’t be lectures – they wanted them to be dynamic and highly interactive – and we’ve done our best to maintain the unconstrained atmosphere that was set in the inaugural year,” says Frank Cappadocia, director of Student Community & Leadership Development.
Based on this feedback, sessions were initially established around a variety of leadership topics, including communication, ethics, diversity, goal setting and public speaking.
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Student leaders Piotr Rak (left) and Ada Vrana at Tiffin’s recognition ceremony
“The [classes] had instructors that I felt I would like to do further studies with, regardless of my chosen major. I felt that they are the cornerstone of leadership. The facilitators were really easy to speak to and were approachable. In fact, there are not enough good things I could say about them,” says one student evaluation.
The six new workshops added this year have been equally well received, with foundational workshop Leadership 101 being the best attended of the series. Other popular new topics include stress management, conflict resolution, mentorship, creating a mission statement and networking for student leaders
The SLDP will begin again in late September. Organizers hope to expand it further by offering more content depth for those attendees wishing to continue their learning, as well as attracting more new participants.