Passport to Leadership

Who better to design a student leadership program than a student leader? Arianna Figueroa, a senior sociology/anthropology major, is the student architect behind Passport to Leadership, a new program in Student Life.

Working with Anna Gonzalez, dean of students, Figueroa created the program to help undergraduates make meaning of their leadership development at Lewis & Clark and translate it to future endeavors.

Passport to Leadership launched during the 2014–15 academic year. It grew out of a desire to make the leadership skills students were already gaining through their work in clubs and classes more tangible. “We wanted to give students ways to think critically about leadership, put it into practice, and engage with other members of the Lewis & Clark community,” explains Figueroa.

The program is in the form of a series of workshops inspired by the core competencies in the Student Life division: leadership, diversity, career, and wellness. Participants attend a minimum of seven workshops related to these topics over the course of an academic year, tracking their progress through the program with a passport. Upon successfully completing the program, participants receive a notation on their transcript and a certificate and honor cord at graduation. They also attend an awards ceremony and banquet to celebrate their accomplishments.

Last fall's program facilitators included (from left) Rocky Campbell BA '00, director of the Career Center; Asha Jordan, head women's bas... Last fall's program facilitators included (from left) Rocky Campbell BA ’00, director of the Career Center; Asha Jordan, head women's basketball coach; Harold McNaron, director of Student Leadership and Service; and Angela Buck, area director.

Each interactive workshop is led by a program facilitator, who demonstrates a unique way of applying leadership to life on and off campus. This fall’s facilitators include the head women’s basketball coach, the ASLC president, the Career Center director, the associate dean of student engagement, and Figueroa herself. Workshops cover a variety of topics, such as “Communicating and Leading Across Cultures,” “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility,” and “Safe Space vs. Brave Space.”

And the student reaction? Overwhelmingly positive. More than 100 students are participating in this year’s program. “It’s giving students a chance to reflect and engage with their own experiences and to understand they don’t need an official title to be a leader,” says Figueroa. As Passport to Leadership grows, more and more Pioneers stand to benefit from it, demonstrating the effect that one strong leader, like Figueroa, can have on her community.

—by Sarah Bucknovitz CAS’17