Furman students generally tend to be very involved on campus in multiple organizations, and I think one of the best organizations is the Shucker Leadership Institute. Unfortunately, because the application process takes place the summer before a student’s freshman year, many students don’t find out about Shucker until after the fact. The Shucker Leadership Institute is a two-year program for freshmen and sophomores that helps students discover their strengths and passions, and how to utilize them to collaborate with others effectively and to be an effective leader. Furthermore, there is an emphasis on community service and community partnerships.
During the first semester, new fellows participate in weekly sessions to learn more about there strengths and leadership. In the second semester, fellows prepare for their sophomore Leadership Challenge Project (LCP), by selecting a “track” in which they will focus on one topic or issue in the community. The second year as a fellow is spent working in a smaller group with a mentor to use the lessons learned in the first year to complete their LCP. The second year is also highlighted by a trip to Disney World where fellows participate in the Disney Youth Education Program.
My LCP was to plan and execute a fundraiser for the non-profit organization Positive Impact for Kids, which was actually started by Shucker fellow Leanne Joyce. Positive Impact for Kids seeks to improve the experience for hospitalized children by providing them with distractions to meet their emotional and physical needs. These distractions including gaming consoles, iPads, and gift cards among many other things. Through this organization Leanne has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and impacted over 600,000 hospitalized children. With Leanne as our group mentor, we were planning a 5k on Furman’s campus to take place in the spring, but unfortunately that plan never came to fruition due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the fundraiser not happening yet, though, we became the Positive Impact for Kids Youth Advisory Board, and learned a lot about grant writing and sponsorships, among other things.
Overall, my Shucker experience has been very impactful and meaningful, and I have met a lot of great people along the way. I definitely encourage incoming freshmen to apply! For more information on the Shucker Leadership Institute, you can look here: https://www.furman.edu/shucker-leadership-development/shucker-leadership-institute/