Doing right by our students
With a dedicated leadership center, Bradley has been ahead of the curve in offering ways to make students better leaders.
By GAYLE ERWIN McDOWELL ’77
KATIE McGINN ’08 MA ’11 and sophomores Andrew Mills, Kelsi Johnson, and Allen Ghareeb discuss the Bradley Fellows fall retreat. Fellows is one of numerous programs administered by Bradley’s leadership center.
Visit bradley.edu/studentleadership to learn about other leadership and volunteer opportunities for Bradley students.
Visit socialchangemodel.org for more information about the most popular college student leadership model in the U.S.
The leadership landscape has broadened on the Hilltop since the Lewis J. Burger Center for Student Leadership and Public Service, named after an extraordinary Peoria volunteer, opened in 1996. Some programs begin freshman year while others are geared toward graduating seniors.
“We want to do right by our students,” remarks LJB Center director KATIE McGINN ’08 MA ’11. “The leadership and service programming we coordinate is student-driven; it directly reflects their interests and meets their needs.”
One of the center’s most visible programs, the Leadership and Service Fellows, began when the LJB Center opened. Fifteen freshmen are selected as Bradley Fellows from a pool of applicants each year, for a total of nearly 60 Fellows on campus.
“It is a unique program. The Fellows are required to perform 40 hours of service each semester and 25 hours during the summer,” McGinn reports. Fellows are awarded $1,000 scholarships annually, and attend a three-day orientation before other students move in.
Thirty-five freshman women get a jump start in learning about leadership by choosing the Leadership Lifestyles Floor, a living option at Bradley since 2007.
Another successful program, BUILD, is a three-tiered program based on the social change model of leadership. For three semesters, participants meet weekly for six weeks. “It allows students to network with other leaders,” says McGinn, noting the importance of collaboration among campus leaders. The final six-week session helps campus leaders transition into community and professional leadership.
McGinn credits Bradley with developing her own leadership skills. As an undergraduate, she participated in LINCS, the Center’s senior capstone leadership group. Before returning to Bradley to earn a master’s degree in Leadership in Human Service Administration, she spent a year traveling to 21 campuses as a leadership consultant for Sigma Kappa.
Her latest idea, Service on Saturday, was piloted last April and will be a monthly student-led program this school year. McGinn realized that students want to volunteer, but don’t want to go alone and may not have transportation. “We hoped for 30 students, but had 76 participate in April,” she says, adding that 100 percent of the participants indicated they felt they “had made a difference” with their efforts. Students chose from four volunteer jobs on a Saturday morning and then returned to campus for lunch.
A new student group, SERVE, will coordinate Service on Saturday and other volunteer opportunities. A chapter of Students Today Leaders Forever (STLF) was also launched on campus last spring. The alternative spring break trips planned by STLF groups are called Pay It Forward Tours. The new Bradley group expects to offer a trip for Spring Break 2012.