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- BLI announces a new Access Opportunity
- Barger Leadership Institute is moving!
- BLI Announces New Partnership with The London Idea
- Former Jet Blue CEO donates $10 million to Barger Leadership Institute
- BLI Hires a New Assistant Director
- BLI to Co-Host ‘Extreme by Design’ Film Screening, Discussion
- BLI awards Small Grant for Halfway Hijabi event
- BLI Launches New Capstone Experience
- BLI Launches New Fellows Program Structure
- Keep Calm and Lead On
- BLI Fellow Wins Wolverine Tank Pitch Contest
- BLI Congratulates Mya Haynes
- BLI Alumni Receive 2015-2016 Fulbright Honor
- The 2018 London Ideas Project is Announced
- Congrats to BLI partner Sandra Levitsky for being awarded the Golden Apple!
- Congrats to BLI Fellow and Peer Facilitator Elisabeth Benham
- Tales of Leadership: The Advanced Fellows Journey
- Welcome to the 2018 Capstone Cohort!
- BLI welcomes new director!
- BLI Across the Pond
- BLI Hosts Voting Guru Nancy Thomas
- Ram Mahalingam's award winning film to be screened at two film festivals.
- The Capstone Experience with the Migrant Education Initiative
- The Mindful Leader - Becoming an Engaged Leader
- A Weekend of Mindful Leadership
- Introducing the 2019 Capstone Teams
- The Peer Facilitator Experience
- Dinners with...
- BLI Students Start Small and Dream Big in Detroit
- From Freshman to Senior Year -- Four Years of Leadership Learning
- BLI Speaker Series: Food For Thought
- BLI Director, Ram Mahalingam featured in the Record
- Capstone Bootcamp 2019
- In a Distracted World, Solitude is Practice for Tomorrow’s Leaders
- A Conversation on Mindfulness, Bias and Racial Justice — a podcast with Ram Mahalingam
- The Mindful Leaders Retreat — Laying a Foundation
- Being a good leader is knowing when to practice gratitude
- Channeling Mindfulness
- Compassionate Leadership: Creating a Just, Inclusive and Mindful Society with Mirabai Bush
- Dinners With...
- Announcing Capstone 2020 Teams!
- Meet our 2020 Leadership Lab Teams!
- Leading Mindfully
- A Senior's Reflection on Peer Facilitating
- Expect Challenges
- Reflecting Back and Looking Forward
- From Leadership Lab, to Peer Facilitator, to Program Assistant
- Project Healthy Schools Global
- Learning to be an Effective Leader
- Leading Life with Dignity: A Challenge of Our Time
- Pause, Reflect, and Create
- What's Happening in the Lab?
- Capstone 3D Virtual Gallery
- Announcing the Break Away Podcast!
- BLI Advanced Fellow featured in M-LEAD's Leadership Lens Series!
- Two BLI Advanced Fellows Receive the Renowned MLK Spirit Award
- Stand Against Asian Violence
- BLI Hosts Alumni Panel
- Announcing the BLI's 2021 Capstone Cohort
- BLI Offers COVID-19 Hardship Grants
- ALA 175: Foundations in Leadership
- The Peer Facilitator Leadership Experience
- What's Happening in the Lab
- Capstone Boot Camp 2021
- Mindful Leader Reflection
- Learning to Lead with Compassion: A Mindful Leadership Retreat
- Okanagan Charter
- Foundations in Leadership, a Peer Facilitator Perspective
- Heart-Centered Leadership with Rebecca Irby
- Announcing the 2022 Leadership Certificate Cohort!
- Welcome the 2021-22 Mindful Leader Fellowship cohort!
- BLI Peace Leadership Retreat in Detroit
- BLI director awarded the Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award
- Seithur Sanitation Initiative receives the MLK Spirit Award
- The Michigan Difference Student Leadership Awards
- Feedback is Love
- Deepening the Foundations for Equity and Renewal
- Creating Leaders – Being a Peer Facilitator at the BLI
- M-LEAD Leadership Lens Feature: Kaitlyn Colyer
- M-LEAD Leadership Lens Feature: Mya Harris
- What's Happening in the Lab
- The Leadership Certificate at the University of Michigan: Cohort 1
- Color of Care Reflection
- Mindful Leader Retreat Recap
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When I accepted my nomination to join the Barger Leadership Institute the beginning of my freshman year, I didn’t know what I was getting into. My high school experience was filled with leadership development opportunities, from student government to the debate team, so I was expecting BLI to fall along the same lines.
Instead, I entered one of the most welcoming and productive environments of my college experience. From initial social events in the BLI office at Ruthven to my Leadership Lab in Winter 2016, I felt empowered in a space that helped foster my leadership skills and use it for initiatives I was passionate about. I enjoyed meeting fellow students from all over campus and learning different perspectives. I appreciated the ability to apply my skills in a practical way.
Therefore, as soon as my own Leadership Lab experience ended in April 2016, I jumped at the opportunity to give back and become a peer facilitator. For the next year, I saw other students approach the BLI with that same passion and desire to make a difference and advance their skills. I observed my peers engage with the BLI habits and recognize areas where they already shone. I enjoyed giving constructive feedback and watch thoughtful projects come to fruition.
I felt great being able to help fellow students get as much out of BLI as I did, but by the end of my sophomore year, I wanted to give back to the organization itself. And, so I applied for and became a Program Assistant starting in the fall of 2017. This is where I really shined and was able to give back to the BLI.
Being a PA these past two years has been an incredibly rewarding experience. PAs are in a unique position where we serve as liaisons between the professional staff of the BLI and the students themselves. Our roles are integral to the functioning of BLI, making sure that members are given opportunities to enhance their personal and professional skills, work on their passion projects, and network with one another. We also make sure to continuously convey to BLI staff ideas that can make the organization grow.
PAs’ roles include event planning, community engagement and outreach, recruitment, grants and funding support, and program operations--but the most important role [in my completely unbiased opinion (I’m kidding)] is handling marketing and communications, or my own position as a program assistant.
The marketing and communications PAs send out weekly emails to all BLI members with our events and programming, manage our Facebook and Instagram accounts, edit the website and our Student Voices blog, and create flyers. In my past two years with the role, we’ve taken many steps to ensure that every BLI member, from every step in the BLI process, is able to learn information about the program and stay aware of what’s happening. I’ve come to recognize the most optimal ways to reach people, whether it’s through flashy gifs, punny subject lines, or personalized messages.
As a peer facilitator, I’ve been able to help students work on their passion projects. As a program assistant, though, I’ve been able to point students to every single resource in the BLI. I hope that through all our marketing efforts, we’ve been able to reach students from all over campus. I hope that we’ve been able to convey just how incredible this organization is.
And now, just three weeks shy of graduating, I feel confident that I’ve accomplished my goal of empowering my peers. I have learned so many practical skills from this role that I can apply in professional settings after graduation, including interpersonal communications, social media and website design, time management, and working on multiple time-sensitive projects at once. But most importantly, I’ve gained a family here in the BLI that has inspired me so much to lead. Because leadership is learned.
I wouldn’t be the person I am today without this program.