Sophomore Leadership Experience: Bringing it Back to CMC
By CJ Novogradac ‘19
Every year the Kravis Leadership Institute leads a group of sophomores at Claremont McKenna College (CMC) on the Sophomore Leadership Experience (SLE). The purpose of the trip is to inform students on different leadership theories and build a strong connection within the group that will hopefully enhance the overall community of CMC when the students return.
Over the course of three days the students learned what makes a good leader, worked together in small groups, and created pitches that will enhance CMC. On the first day, students were split up into small groups and listened to leadership theory lectures and shared examples of successful leadership from their personal experiences.
The second day was focused on team building. Students participated in a high ropes course and a low ropes course. The high ropes course focused on personally challenging each individual, while the low ropes course focused on creating a strong relationship between the group members.
On the third and final day students were asked to use what they had learned over the past couple days to help improve the community at CMC. So, the groups split up to create a pitch for CMC. One such pitch was promoting a community table at Collins dining hall to incentivize students to step out of their bubble and meet new students.
The CMC students who attended SLE described the trip as productive. SLE helped students bond with each other, while also enhancing each individual student’s leadership skills. Weronika Konwent ’17, a facilitator on the trip, noted that the goal of the trip was to hopefully, “create community in the sophomore class.” This message trickled down to the sophomores in attendance. Lauren Mounts ’18 stated that the overall goal of the trip was to, “improve the CMC community and come together as a class.”
Not only did the trip enhance the productivity of the group, the experience also helped the individual student. When asked what did she take away from the leadership experience, Lauren noted, “I became more aware of my strengths and weaknesses because they became apparent during the team activities.”
Overall, the Sophomore Leadership Experience as a whole was a success because it facilitated student’s leadership development at the individual level, while also successfully creating a bond among the sophomores who attended, one that will hopefully enrich the CMC community as a whole as they arrive back to campus.