Catalyst is a one-day program that was hosted by the Community Service Office on Satuday, Oct. 27, in Lamberton Hall. The program was aimed to serve as a condesned version of LeaderShape, thus allowing for greater student flexibility in attending the event. (Courtesy of Christina Jordan)

Catalyst 2018 hones student leadership potential


The Community Service Office launched Catalyst, a one-day leadership program, on Oct. 27 in Lamberton Hall.

Similar to LeaderShape — the parent organization that offers a week-long retreat to students over winter break — Catalyst provided an opportunity for students to find their own leadership potential and develop paths to become catalysts for change, not only for others but for themselves as well.

While LeaderShape was originally run through the Office of Student Leadership Development, the CSO now organizes both LeaderShape and Catalyst.

“Not everyone has a week sometimes, or can’t come back from winter break early,” said Isabel Amaya, ’19, a CSO student coordinator. “So it’s a great opportunity to still get that exposure and experience with what LeaderShape offers.”

Christina Jordan, the assistant director of the CSO and program coordinator for Catalyst, said her hope was that students take what they learned and apply it with the knowledge they gained.

“Catalyst is learning about what impact you have on the world,” Jordan said. “You get to sit down and think about your vision and what you want to see happen, and what steps you’re taking to do that.”

Throughout the day, students and faculty from different groups and organizations came together to share their values and ideas. They participated in group conversations in which they discussed how they could craft their roles as leaders and apply it to their own groups.

Participants asked themselves thought-provoking questions, such as “am I on the right path?” and “who do I want to be?” to envision their futures as leaders.

Kendall Prime, ’22,  identified strengths she can use as a Posse Scholar leading an upcoming PossePlus Retreat for Lehigh student leaders.  

“We explored the realms of leadership that we most identify with, and were able to point out how we would use it on campus,” Prime said. “Catalyst really emphasized focusing on your strengths, and it helped me reflect on what I can do to be the best leader I can be.”

Now that Prime is more mindful, she said she intends to use her skills and apply them to in many settings across different groups on campus.

“There is no service without leadership, there is no leadership without service,” Jordan said. “They are intertwined philosophically.”

Offering a maximum of 60 spots this year, Jordan and Amaya hope Catalyst receives more exposure in the future and expects it to gain popularity over time.

“There’s a component of global leadership involved in both programs, but you can’t have an impact on others until you are aware of how you are as a leader,” Amaya said.

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