Call for student applicants and sponsors for the LeaderShape 2016 Institute

From Oct. 23 to 28, 60 York students will have the experience of a lifetime when they attend the awarding-winning LeaderShape Institute at the Delta hotel in Guelph, Ontario.

The LeaderShape Institute, which has a reputation as being one of the best leadership experiences at York University, was originally established in 1986 in Chicago. It was first hosted at York University in 2008, and York U students participating in LeaderShape Institutes since then have learned the meaning of what it means to lead “with a healthy disregard for the impossible”.

Students who attended the 2015 institute
Student participants at the 2015 LeaderShape Institute

“We at the Student Leadership Program within the Student Success Centre believe that LeaderShape Institute is a cornerstone to our vision: An engaged York community who challenge pre-conceived notions of leadership to become everyday leader,” said Saba Rafiq, who is coordinating the LeaderShape Institute at York U.

“The LeaderShape Institute is recognized as a leading program in student leadership development in North America and we’ve witnessed first-hand its tremendous impact on York students,” said Rafiq. “Students explore not only what they want to do, but who they want to be. Dynamic, challenging, and exciting, the week is intended to produce a breakthrough in the leadership capacity of participants — benefitting them individually, as well as their respective communities and the organizations they will go on to lead and serve in the future. We have continuously received exceptionally positive feedback about the program from the students, as well as from the staff and faculty facilitators.”

Read what former participants have to say about their six-day journey at the York LeaderShape Institute:

“LeaderShape is an amazing way to develop your leadership skills, realize personal goals, and make connections with amazing people. Being in a room with 59 other student leaders is empowering on its own,” said York International Development Studies undergraduate student Heather Dirckze. “You can look around and everyone in the room has something you can learn from them. It was an incredible experience being surrounded by like-minded people who all wanted to make a change.”

Fellow LeaderShape alumnus and Student Ambassador Yerro Gassama adds, “I had heard that it is a life changing experience prior to attending LeaderShape, and didn’t really believe that statement. Now, after attending the institute, there is really no other way to describe it.”

“LeaderShape cannot be described in words. This experience was unexpected for me, and I am so happy that I made the decision to attend. You cannot put a price on an experience such as this. The journey that you take as a person, the growth that you experience internally and the bond created with those around you, was an experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life,” said York U Professional Writing student Steph Kovacs.

The LeaderShape Institute is made possible by the collaborative support of student groups, University departments and alumni. It serves as a tangible example of the Division of Students’ vision “Partners in Student Success.” Past participants have gone on to assume senior leadership roles across the University whether it be in their respective college councils, in peer mentoring groups and as active alumni.

“We want you to promote the program to the excellent students in your area who you think could benefit from attending the program. Members of your peer mentor group, work-study students and other passionate students would be ideal candidates. We’re seeking multiple nominations since we understand that not all participants who are nominated will be available to attend,” said Rafiq.

The link to the application can be found at The deadline to apply is Friday, Sept. 30.

The Student Community & Leadership Development (SCLD) has funding to cover a limited number of participants. The goal is to have 60 students attend the institute, with representation from all areas of student leadership at the University. In alignment with the University’s commitment to student engagement and the student experience, there is a call for sponsors who could assist one or more students, in full or in part. Should you wish to sponsor participants’ registration fees ($1000 each) in whole or in part, and/or to nominate student leaders, contact Saba Rafiq, by to srafiq@yorku,ca  or by calling ext. 20816. All sponsors of the program will receive acknowledgement on the Leadership website, on the York Leadership Facebook Page, in as well as in print and online materials.