A Virtual LEAD Year, In Review
The 2020-2021 academic year has been a major shift from normalcy. However, Freshmen LEAD adapted to the circumstances with intentional planning and a quick shift to virtual meetings on MS Teams. Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Freshmen LEAD strives to uphold and provide the major values of relational leadership for selected first-year students at UofL. The students in the program are very ambitious individuals and we have tried to help facilitate interactions between them in our virtual meetings. We also gave the LEADers several unique experiences throughout the year to enrich their ideas of leadership.
We changed the program structure to focus the fall semester solely on mentorship. The 24 students in the program were each paired up with a student leader on campus and developed a strong relationship with this person through multiple meetings. Many of the students still keep up with their mentors, even well into the spring semester. We also brought in a diversity speaker to talk about privilege and difficult dialogue, which the students really appreciated.
In the spring semester, the LEADers planned out service events that they would theoretically create. The students split into 8 focus groups that corresponded to ELSB committees and programs. Through this process, the students were able to create more personal connections with their fellow group members and learn about proper event planning. We also had some fantastic speakers come in, such as former Representative Charles Booker who discussed growing up in a socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhood in Louisville and how he got involved in politics.
Overall, this has been a semester of immense change and growth. While it has been different, we persevered and are very proud of the efforts our students have made. We hope they will continue making change on and off campus with everything they do!
Aditya Mehta is the Freshmen LEAD Service Director.
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Freshmen LEAD embodies service and leadership to engage incoming first year students with the campus and Louisville community.
Programming: Logan Bibby
Service: Veronica Lam