Lehigh’s Club Leader Institute (CLI) held its first-ever retreat over the weekend of Sept. 8. A group of 30 club leaders spent the weekend in the Poconos to work on personal leadership development.
Serafina Genise, assistant director of Clubs & Organizations, is spearheading this new program. She said she is looking forward to this cohort of students being the first to go through CLI and see what they learn about themselves and the program.
Genise said they sent out an invite to all student club leaders on campus. This year, the retreat consisted of a wide range of leaders from organizations including the Black Student Union, Student Senate, Circle of Sisters, Cheese Club, Women’s Network and Beekeeping Club.
Genise said the goal of the weekend was to have the students develop one project they want to implement in their organization that will help further its mission and values.
Genise said, ideally, students will learn new skills that they can integrate into their everyday lives to continue to push themselves as leaders.
“We hope that they are going to understand their own individual process of leadership development, get insight on their own leadership styles and how that plays out in real life situations,” said Genise.
Genise said the weekend is also about club leaders connecting with each other to help make a more significant impact on campus.
Student Senate member Alyssa Milrod, ‘23, said she was excited to meet students from other organizations and hear about their goals and initiatives.
“It is really cool that (club leaders) are able to interact with each other and also for groups you are not a part of to see what they are all about and realize they share your same values,” Milrod said.
Genise said there was an overwhelming amount of excitement from the Office of Student Engagement for what the weekend would bring to these student leaders.
Prior to the retreat, Milrod anticipated a fun weekend away where she would be able to get to make unique memories.
“I hope to take away a weekend that was really fun and different from the rest of my weekends at Lehigh, as well as really get to know the senate and give guidance to new senators and understand what our unique mission is for the year,” she said.
Sabrina Carroll, a graduate assistant for Student Engagement, said CLI is a great way for these student leaders to start out the year on a strong note.
“It’s really important for club leaders to be a part of the CLI because they are such an integral part of this campus,” Carroll said. “Club leaders really serve as pathways between the student body and opportunities for connection and involvement. I don’t think that is a role to be taken lightly — it is really important that club leaders have an opportunity to maximize their skill sets and have a chance to be creative and innovative in their club spaces.”
Carroll said she hopes the students will have the chance to look inward on their leadership skills and develop both personally and as a group in a comforting, uninterrupted environment.
Carroll and Genise said they are excited to see how this retreat will evolve in the upcoming years.