The Honors Leadership Institute: A Staff Perspective
On October 19th, the Honors Program brought thirty-five students to the Warren Conference Center for the first Honors Program Leadership Institute! In spite of the heavy rain and traffic, the Honors students bravely made the trek to Ashland, Massachusetts. We enjoyed a hearty dinner of pizza and wings and then officially kicked off the weekend with a talk from Northeastern University Professor Bert Spector, who discussed the delicate balance between leadership and teamwork. Following a quick ice-breaker, Honors staff Kathryn Merril and Justin Silvestri led a leadership exercise designed to help students better understand their respective styles of leadership. Students then organized into groups according to their leadership styles and worked together to draft a poster of a planned ideal vacation. All types of vacations, from the tropical getaway to the outer space voyage, were presented, teaching us that all leaders work and prioritize differently. We wound down our evenings with board games and several spirited rounds of Mafia. Everyone then returned to their rooms and cabins to rest up for another activity-packed day.
Students and staff woke up bright and early for a delicious breakfast and, after a brief series of energizing exercises with facilitator Roy Charette, set out to the Ashland Ropes course. Honors students worked together to perform feats of balance and strength on tight ropes, overcome their fears on the giant swing, and overcome the daunting scaling wall. At the end of our time together, the students gathered once again at the Conference Center to discuss what they learned. We all recounted what we learned about ourselves and each other, passing a ball of string between ourselves to reveal the literal web of connections our community had forged together that weekend. The Honors staff proudly presented its students with diplomas celebrating their completion of the Honors Leadership Institute. We wait in eager anticipation to see what our future leaders will accomplish in the years to come!
-Justin Silvestri, Honors Program Academic Advisor