First Year Leadership Experience focuses on personal growth, networking

By Nick Kondyles | 10/18/17 10:07pm

GVL / Courtesy - Laker Leadership Programs First Year Leadership Experience courtesy from Monday, Feb. 6, 2016.

On Monday, Oct. 16, Grand Valley State University’s First Year Leadership Experience (FYLE) team focused on individuals' "true colors" by giving students a personality test to determine their leadership strengths. 

FYLE is a six-week program orchestrated and executed by the GVSU Office of Student Life. The first two sessions focused on personal growth. The facilitators had students engage in self-discovery by taking the Carl Jung personality test and followed up with a discussion about what different characteristics could provide for respective leadership roles. 

The group of participating students met for the second session at 6:30 p.m. in Room 2263 of the Kirkhof Center. The FYLE sessions primarily target first-year and transfer students who are new to the university and looking to learn more about leadership positions. 

“There are multiple sectors of planning (in the Office of Student Life), and leadership is one of those sectors,” said Patricia Durell, intern for the Office of Student Life and FYLE coordinator. “We do events like 'StrengthsFinder' and other leadership events at Grand Valley.”

The remaining sessions will be held weekly in the Kirkhof Center on Mondays from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 

“Personality is often tied to leadership style,” said Mikaela Padgen, intern for the Office of Student Life and FYLE coordinator. “It’s a way of showing them who they are as a leader. Then we talk a lot about values and diversity in leadership.”

The leadership team hopes that through this experience participants will discover differences in leadership styles, encounter diverse backgrounds and learn to take their networking to the next step. Their goal is to create a fun, inclusive and upbeat atmosphere that feels welcoming to students. 

The office has brought GVTV, Spotlight Productions, the Laker Traditions team and Study Abroad Offices together so that students can choose from a broad range of options for involvement once training is complete. 

“This endorses the idea that anybody can be a leader,” Padgen said. “It’s not about outgoing personalities or people who have positions. This is for anyone who wants to grow and see their basic strengths, and (it) ensures good networking for them.”  

FYLE is planning to continue to provide interactive, student-based events for the remainder of the fall semester. They plan to put on a "strengths series," and their Venderbush Leadership Reception will be held in the Pere Marquette Room of the Kirkhof Center Tuesday, Nov. 21, at 2:30 p.m. 

Four community leaders will be present, including Marvis Herring, WOOD TV8 news personality. Students are introduced to the events by getting to know their resident assistants and through emails and flyers. 

“You have the power to use what you’ve learned at Grand Valley for the greater community,” Padgen said. “These sessions are a way for students to get off on the right foot with experiencing leadership at Grand Valley and finding self-awareness.”   

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