Event Recap: Undergraduate Leadership Institute

On August 9th, the Futures Initiative hosted its Summer Leadership Institute for the 2017-2018 Futures Initiative Undergraduate Leadership Program, which was generously funded by the Teagle Foundation. Take a look at the full agenda of our workshop, and see the full photo set on Flickr.

The workshop started with a pre-recorded message from our Founding Director, Dr. Cathy N. Davidson, welcoming the incoming cohort of Leadership Fellows and offering insight into the important connections between leadership, mentorship, and self-growth. Then there was an introduction of the members of the Futures Initiative and coordinators of the Leadership Institute, Lauren Melendez, Mike Rifino, Frances Tran, and Kashema Hutchinson. Next, the Leadership Liaisons, who were a part of the program last year introduced themselves and shared their experiences from last year.

Then Mike launched into  a BINGO icebreaker activity, so the Leadership Fellows could learn about each other’s strengths and super powers. The Leaders worked together to fill in their cards with a name that corresponded to each BINGO space on their sheets. Karen Gonzalez was the BINGO winner!

Following BINGO, Mike facilitated a resource scavenger hunt, in which he played a New York Times video clip which focused on Vladimir de Jesus, a struggling art student in LaGuardia Community College student, who dreams of becoming an art teacher. The Leaders split up into their respective CUNY colleges and were asked to describe Vladimir’s situation and what resources would they provide based on the resources at their respective campuses. The resources and reactions toward Vladimir’s case was then discussed together.

Kashema had the group reflect about leadership qualities using quotes by Audre Lorde. Each table received a quote and its respective quality and we discussed what the quote represented and how we apply it in our lives. For example, the characteristic of having a voice and Audre Lorde quote: “When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcomed, but when we are silent we are still afraid.”

The next session was “The Impact of Leadership” presentation by Lauren, during which we collectively we discussed what it did and did not mean to be a leader and demystified some notions of leadership such as whether or not there  are natural born leaders. There was a lot of conversation about what defines a leader and what characterizes effective leadership. The group was also prompted to write down an experience when they used their leadership skills and what made it so significant.

After lunch, Jade Davis, Associate Director of Digital Learning Projects and Assessment of LaGuardia Community College facilitated a segment about public writing. This included exploring the meaning of public writing, the three different levels of public writing, and how to write for specific audiences. Following Jade’s talk, Futures Initiative Graduate Fellow Jessica Murray, gave the Leaders an overview on how to use WordPress for their posts on the CUNY Leadership Fellows blog, their personal blogs, and discussion forums on the Futures Initiative website. Topics included saving drafts, inserting images and other media, understanding creative license restrictions and attributing source materials.  

We wrapped up with looking ahead for the academic year and what were some of the main takeaways from the Institute.


The Futures Initiative
The Graduate Center, CUNY
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016-4309