By Rebecca Stratton, UK Public Relations
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Friday 13, 2015) — The University of Kentucky produces and encourages leadership among its students, who are encouraged to find their niche and strive toward making a difference. The Leadership Development Program, a competitive program offered for freshmen, equips students with skills needed to become future campus and community leaders.
The UK Student Government Leadership Development Program (LDP) is dedicated to building future leaders. Participants of this program have the opportunity to work with various campus organizations, network with student leaders and administrators and learn how to become a leader on campus and throughout the Lexington community.
LDP offers its members many benefits. The program exposes students to different, as well as similar, mindsets and viewpoints therefore bridging the gaps between various diversities, majors and backgrounds. These various viewpoints help in allowing them to become acclimated early on during their freshman year and create a sense of community. The program also exposes members to different parts of campus, shows them leadership, connects them with Lexington area, teaches them how to start their own student organizations and connects them with other students at UK, opening up new perspectives and teaching them how UK fits into the greater Lexington community.
“Coming to UK and being from Lexington, I thought that as soon as I got on campus I would know everyone and be sure of what I wanted to do and where I wanted to get involved,” said 2015 LDP student Alex Francke. “I couldn’t have been more wrong as I was overwhelmed with not only the vast numbers of people, but the unique organizations present on campus as well. LDP has been so beneficial in helping me to see diversity across not only the student body, but across our myriad of student organizations as well.”
LDP students attend bi-weekly workshops, averaging eight workshops each semester. During these workshops, students learn to lead others, themselves and the community. A wide variety of workshops are offered to guide each student so they can better understand and drive toward their passions while working together in a collaborative environment.
Jenna Hollinden, SGA vice president, plans and facilitates each workshop with the assistance of her LDP coordinator, Gammon Fain. The planning of the workshops takes place during the summer and holiday breaks.
This semester, LDP students have taken part in a question and answer session with President Eli and Dr. Mary Lynne Capilouto, heard from a panel of seniors who were once involved in LDP, took part and placed first in the Wrap Up America fort building competition, attended the SGA Fall Forum and participated in a diversity workshop where they collaborated with one another by expressing similar and different values to spark lesser conversed issues, such as sexual assault.
Upcoming events for LDP include a connector campus workshop, which will discuss different problems on campus, a trip to Keeneland and a holiday party with the Kentucky Children’s Hospital among others.
Hollinden, with the help of other LDP leaders, strategically plans each workshop, taking into consideration what will be of utmost benefit to the students within the program. Each workshop is carefully decided upon in regard to how it will enhance each student, creating dominant, inclusive leaders.
“The leaders of LDP work hard to make sure we get a taste of some of the most impactful student organizations on campus because it gives each of us an inside look at what it’s like to be a part of these powerful movements and groups,” Francke said.
To assess the needs of the students in LDP and better plan for future workshops, a pre-assessment is presented to students at the beginning of the year to better understand what students are expecting to gain from the program. At the end of each workshop, a post-evaluation is completed by each student.
This year, 247 eager freshmen applied to this competitive program. The number of applicants this year is 50 more than last year, proving the competitiveness of acceptance to LDP is drastically increasing each year.
The total 247 applications were reviewed and scored during a blind application process. During this blind applications process, each application was scored three different times by three different people.
From the blind applications process, 110 applicants were selected. These 110 chosen were then invited to partake in a final interview that consisted of a speed-dating type conversation as well as an individual interview. Forty students interviewed were then awarded with acceptance to LDP.
“The Leadership Development Program prepares members to be active servant leaders in their respective communities,” said Hollinden. “It has been an absolute privilege seeing the freshmen grow in the few short months they have been a part of the program. They are challenged in their thoughts, words and actions to lead themselves, others and all members of the campus community. I look forward to seeing them grow throughout the rest of the program.”
Members of the 2015 LDP class are:
MEDIA CONTACT: Rebecca Stratton, firstname.lastname@example.org, (859) 323-2395