The weekend of Sept. 29-Oct. 1, a new tradition started at West Chester University.About 100 students gathered in the back of Sykes parking lot to be taken to a camp where they would spend the next two days getting to know each other’s capabilities as student leaders. This was the new student leadership retreat.
The weekend consisted of staying in cabins at Camp Saginaw and developing leadership skills through many interesting activities.
The students were broken up into different groups on Saturday and participated in different activities. One activity was an empowerment seminar which made students realize the impact they really have on their lives by being involved. It focused on working on what eachindividual wants to be remembered for and making the best of what is available.
Another activity was “Jacktivities,” where students participated in hands on learning games to help one another. After working in groups to complete tasks like spelling the word “cat” using someone’s body with four people and learning to communicate without words or hands, students had a chance to focus on what each person brings to the group as a team.
Student leaders who are active on campus now came to show the students how getting involved can make such a big difference. There was a panel of students involved in many things including the Residence Hall council, Student Activities Council, Student Government Association, and the Orientation Program. When the panel was asked about the best thing learned from the program, each member agreed that it was time management.
“I think the student leaders that presented were from a really wide cross section of the campus community and truly demonstrated that involvement is unique to everyone and that there is a place for everyone at WCU,” said Mary-Alice Ozechoski, Assistant Dean for Student Development.
The weekend, of course, consisted of many cooperative experiences, such as eating meals together and the Saturday night dance party. Students of all different races, sexes, and orientations got together to dance and have fun. “I think that the real power in the weekend was that students of all backgrounds came together and had a really positive experience,” said Ozechoski.
The retreat was sponsored by Dr. Adler, who grants programs that benefit the student success model. This weekend benefited the students in an amazing way.
Many students were happy to have gone, and many hope they can be on the panel of student leaders next year.
When Ozechoski was asked what the one thing she hoped students learned from the event, she said, “our new students would understand the many opportunities for involvement at WCU and choose to participate early in their college career.” Keep your eye out for information next fall for the Student leadership retreat and take advantage of the opportunity to not only get to know other students but to see what student involvement has to offer.
To see pictures and comments about the retreat, visit www.wcupa.edu/_SERVICES/stu.nsp.