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National leadership program comes to Grand Valley

  • A photo of Marisa Kahnt and her cluster family.
  • Group photo of all participants, organizers and volunteers.

Posted on May 17, 2017

Marisa Kahnt said connecting with fellow student leaders for a week in May during a leadership program was a "truly inspiring experience."

Kahnt, a liberal studies major from Macomb, and 56 students from a variety of majors and student organizations participated in Grand Valley's first LeaderShape Institute, held May 4-9 on the Allendale Campus. 

The institute, organized by the Dean of Students Office, is a national, intensive leadership development program for young adults. Students were nominated by faculty and staff members, then they applied to participate.  

"I enjoyed the support I felt for and from my community at Grand Valley. We have such amazing leaders on our campus and to be able to connect with them on a deeper level was truly inspiring," said Kahnt, vice president of Phi Mu Fraternity and leadership development intern for the Office of Student Life. 

During the six-day program, event volunteers and participants stayed in the Holton-Hooker Living Center. Staff members served as small group facilitators and graduate students in the College Student Affairs Leadership program helped with event logistics. 

Elizabeth Doyle, coordinator of Retention and Special Projects in the Dean of Students Office, said a highlight of the institute was the Guest Leader Forum, where leaders and alumni shared their personal philosophies of leadership, risk taking, ethics, integrity and the meaning of success. Leaders included Jesse Bernal, vice president for Inclusion and Equity, and Stacy Stout, assistant to the city manager of the City of Grand Rapids. 

Doyle, a 2007 Grand Valley alumna, is a graduate of the institute. "I'm thrilled to now be in a role where I'm able to provide opportunities to enhance student success and contribute to the growth of the Laker Effect," she said.