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Leadership programs on campus teach students valuable skills

Leaders aren’t born — they’re made, and Colorado State University students interested in improving their leadership skills have a number of options available to them.

Students can participate in Rams Engaging In Active Leadership workshops, LeaderShape, the President’s Leadership Program or a leadership minor.


Any student who is interested is able to attend the REAL workshops, which are available Mondays and Thursdays at SLiCE 212 in the Lory Student Center. The REAL workshops include classes like “What is Leadership?”, “Ethics at the End of the World” and “Situational Leadership.”

Another option for students is the six day conferences held by LeaderShape, a national organization dedicated to helping students improve themselves as leaders. According to their website, some of the topics covered by these retreats are identities, the importance of self-awareness and how to improve yourself as a leader.

PLP offers students a comprehensive education in leadership for college credit. Established in 1989, PLP started as a one-credit first semester course to the 14 credit leadership development program it is today, according to Emily Ambrose, program coordinator for PLP.

Students take PLP classes in a similar fashion to how they would take traditional classes.

“We look at leadership on the personal level and then the group level,” Ambrose said. “We have a fall and a spring course you commit to.”

Leadership As Life, a two credit PLP class, allows students to apply what they learned in the classroom to real-world experiences, including internships with non-profits or business organizations and networking events.

The objective of PLP is to educate and refine student abilities in personal development, values, ethics, organizational behavior, leadership theory, styles and practices, according to the website.

Students who take all three PLP classes are able to minor in Leadership, such as CSU senior Mckenzie Kimball, who is a natural resources recreation and tourism major with a minor in leadership. Kimbal got involved with PLP soon after arriving at CSU.

“When I was applying to CSU, I was doing a bunch of scholarship applications and in one of my scholarship interviews, one of the people on the committee was a former director of PLP,” Kimball said. “She was like, ‘You sound like a great applicant. You should look into this program. You should apply for it.’ I went and tried (PLP) and loved it.”


Kimball said the first years of the program were about self-exploration, examining personal values and how they play out in leadership.

Audrey Meyer, a CSU junior with an international studies major who recently started taking PLP classes, learned about program by checking out the CSU website.

“I just kind of looked it up online. … I was really interested in leadership,” Meyer said.

Meyer said the PLP environment is much more accommodating than most classroom environments.

“I really was weird about coming to CSU because it’s so big, but you get a really intimate setting in your (PLP) classroom,” Meyer said. “So it’s really nice to have that small community.”

Meyer said she would recommend PLP to all students.

“If you’re not in PLP, you’re missing out,” Meyer said.

Collegian Reporter Matt Gindin can be reached at or on Twitter @mgindin1.

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