By, PEYTON MAULSBY
There are plenty of leadership programs at Drake, inside and outside of the classroom. Many of us think we know what leadership means, but these programs definitely take a unique approach on how to build those leadership skills up. Kristin Economos, the director of Student Leadership Programs outside of the classroom, about the different programs she oversees and what the benefits are of each individual program.
The first program is the Emerging Leaders Model, or ELM for short. This is a seven-week workshop series for first-years that teaches them how to have habits, routines and relationships that are worth following. Also was able to speak with Leigh Carlson, a current member of ELM, to ask her what she thought of this program so far.
“To my surprise, the program is not just interacting with people,” Carlson said. “Actually, it’s very little about interacting with people and just the structure of leadership. More so, it’s about gaining a better sense of self and being your best self. And I think it’s wonderful because you cannot lead other people and you cannot direct other people if you are not at your best.”
The second program is Adams Academy, which was the first program created under this umbrella. The Adams Academy is a semester-long, intensive leadership experience for sophomores, juniors and seniors. The idea is that once you’ve developed strategies and skills in ELM to be at your best self, then you can be at a place where you can successfully lead other people. So this program is more of what you’d expect from a leadership program, but through a different lens because of the foundations of treating yourself well first.
This umbrella, the Donald V. Adams Leadership Institute, or DVALI for short, also covers three events every year. Every semester, Drake hosts a Sussman Leadership Conference, which most recently took place this past Saturday (February 23), that hosts a speaker with a new leadership perspective for all Drake students to hear from and learn from.
DVALI also hosts two other events in the spring semester. One is the Florence Meyers Wallace Lunch, which is an opportunity for student leaders to meet with Board of Trustees members in April. The second is the Adams Leadership Convocation, which recognizes and celebrates the achievements of student leaders on campus.
“I think leadership is something that a lot of people still think about in terms of positional power—so ‘I’m only gonna need to be a leader if I’m gonna be a boss or supervise people’,”Economos said. “But I think that one of the most important things that you can gain as a college student is the self-awareness and the social skills to be an influence to the people that you’re around, to make them feel known and valued and heard and to work well with them to get positive change to happen and get things done.I think that when you look at leadership that way, everybody not only has the ability to be a leader, but everybody has, really, the requirement to be a leader.”