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A program on campus helping students to L.E.A.D. bravely

Photo via Bradley University

College life leaves a lot of students searching for a community. Students may want to get involved in volunteering locally, meet new people across disciplines or pad up their resume. Braves L.E.A.D. is a choice for students who want all of that, and more.

Braves L.E.A.D. is a two-tier program designed to teach students about their own leadership styles. A combination of experiential learning, seminars and campus events inspires students to be informed and engaged citizens of their community.

“I always say that I got a chance to articulate how I want to lead,” senior social media marketing major Asia Bair said.

The program is based on the social change model of leadership. This model was established in 1994 to view leadership as a purposeful, collaborative and values-based process.

Tier 1 is one semester long, followed by the optional year-long Tier 2. During Tier 1, students attend seminars, complete at least ten volunteer hours and attend at least two community engagement events. Tier 1 is currently recruiting, with an orientation meeting on Thursday, Feb. 9.

In the year-long Tier 2, students engage with their community through experiential learning processes and work alongside nonprofits.

Students are brought together to create passion projects to combat a social change issue. Past projects have included making Google ad campaigns for a children’s hospice center, creating tutoring programs for the Neighborhood House and planting community gardens. A current Braves L.E.A.D. project is working with the Minority Business Development Center (MBDC) to create marketing campaigns.

The MBDC is a nonprofit that provides certificate programs that leave people job-ready. Some programs include technology literacy, contractor development and entrepreneurship training.

“If you like it, go for it,” Bair said. “Don’t overthink it too much, working with a business is really not that bad.They’re looking for you because you have a skill that you would like to use to help them. They’re not looking for you to be perfect, they’re just looking for help.”

All students are welcome to join the program. L.E.A.D is a mixing pot of student culture and personal identity – from pre-med to photography, everyone is encouraged to learn how to lead.

“We kind of see everyone in Braves L.E.A.D, which is the point of the program,” Assistant Director of Leadership and Service Victoria Phair said. “It’s a program for everyone because we’re all here to be great leaders.”

The program recognizes the importance of personal identity in leadership and works towards intersectionality in activism and leadership.

“It’s a nice environment to be in. I think a lot of people are looking for something new on campus,” Bair said. “It’s a great way to get involved and you have a lot of value added. You definitely leave with something.”

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