Last week, 300 new leaders walked across the UNC Greensboro Auditorium stage after completing 5,150 hours of community service over the Spring 2018 semester.

“I am continually impressed by the dedication and commitment of our students, not only to their personal growth and development, but also to our community,” said Lindsey Woelker, associate director for leadership in the Office of Leadership and Service-Learning (OLSL).

On April 26, OLSL held its annual Medallion Ceremony for all students who successfully completed the requirements for Bronze, Silver or Gold levels of its Leadership Challenge. Students in the Silver Challenge presented their leadership journeys on colorful and informative tri-fold boards while students completing the Gold challenge shared their experiences on stage through video and voiceovers.

The Leadership Challenge Program engages students in leadership education, training and development through service opportunities on and off campus. The goal of the program is to prepare students to serve as lifelong citizen-leaders in the global community.

Students begin the challenges at the Bronze level, where they refine their personal leadership philosophy through participation in workshops, service initiatives, learning resources and group leadership coaching. Once the Bronze level is completed, students practice their leadership philosophy and reflect on their understanding of leadership at the Silver level. At this level, students receive one-on-one coaching, work on personal growth and learn how their actions impact themselves and their communities. Students pursuing the final Gold level identify a need in the community and work with a cause or organization of their choice in a leadership service-learning project.

“The community engagement and active citizenship that our Challengers display is truly inspiring,” Woelker said. “It’s an honor to work with this program.”

The Greensboro Police Department, Girl Scouts of the Piedmont, Backpack Beginnings, the Center for New North Carolinians, Greensboro Public Library and Horsepower Therapeutic Learning Center are just a few of the agencies and organizations students served this semester.

Rhema Hedgpeth, a junior from Red Oak, North Carolina, majoring in therapeutic recreation, received her Silver medallion at the ceremony. At the Silver Expo, Hedgpeth demonstrated three focus areas in her presentation: citizen leadership, positive change and engaging others. She plans to continue her education in graduate school with a master’s in occupational therapy.

“I want to use the abilities I’ve been given to stand up for others, create positive memories and foster positive relationships.”

 

Story by Elizabeth L. Harrison, University Communications
Photography by Betsy Blake