Otterbein University's strong emphasis on the leadership process allows students to participate in a variety of programs, one being the Van Sant Leadership Program.
Students can obtain a special certificate through the Van Sant Leadership Program, which offers workshops, retreats and service opportunities for students to build their leadership abilities. The certificate provides students with skills to be confident leaders who can take action and affect positive, long-term change in their communities and workplace.
“I chose to become a Van Sant fellow because this program offers so many opportunities to become involved on campus,” said sophomore Julia Gillin. “It also is a great way to expand your network and learn valuable leadership skills."
In order to finish the program, students must attend eight workshops, six of which must be core and two of which must be elective. Students can also attend four workshops and one academic leadership course to complete the program. They must also complete 10 hours of community service, which can be done on or off-campus, giving students flexibility. Additionally, they must also participate in an organization for one semester, in which they must be in a leadership position.
Micia Clemmons, a program coordinator at the Center for Community Engagement (CCE), says that creating this program has taught her that leadership is a living ideal that evolves through time and that there is always something new to learn and explore.
Clemmons said students who complete the program are recognized with a certificate and cord at the Celebration of Service and Leadership.
“There are many leadership opportunities provided at Otterbein and the Van Sant Program is a platform for students to develop their leadership skills and connect it back to the organizations that they serve," Clemmons said.
The benefit of this program is that workshops are offered each semester and do not have to be finished in any particular order. Attending workshops does not require enrollment in the leadership certificate. The program can be completed in one semester or over the course of a student's Otterbein career, making it more convenient for students who do not have the time to do it all at once.
“I have been able to meet so many amazing people through this program and I also am thankful for it taking me out of my comfort zone and allowing me to apply leadership skills on various occasions," Gillin said.