During Fall 2017, the BLI launched a new class specially designed to train peer facilitators in the Leadership Lab. This class continues to be offered as a training and professional development opportunity for new and continuing peer facilitators. Student Leaders complete this half semester training course to become Peer Facilitators who lead ALA 170, the BLI's Leadership Lab.
Through role playing, group exercises, self-reflection, and group and instructor feedback sessions, peer facilitators learn the skills necessary to successfully lead ALA 170. Additionally, students will learn team management skills while coaching students taking the Leadership Lab, and practice group facilitation. Experiences leading their peers in the Leadership Lab help these peer facilitators be more successful in their work on campus, in their community, and in the world.
Here are deeper looks into the experience of the BLI Peer Facilitators --
Being a Peer Facilitator has had a drastic effect on my leadership experience. In high school, I was the captain of multiple teams, was part of student council and in leadership classes, but I learned more in the training for the lab than all of those combined. The training covered everything from Identity and Diversity training to presentation and conflict resolution skills. My favorite training was the day that we were involved in an improv clinic, where they had us play silly games where we had to finish each others sentences, act out scenes and think on our feet. I loved this session so much because it just seemed like fun and games at the moment but it came in handy multiple times through the lab itself. I was better able to adapt to new situations and obstacles that were thrown at me while teaching.
The best part of being a peer facilitator is the lab itself. I have taught the class three semesters now and have loved it every single time. Getting the privilege to mentor teams and watch the projects develop is a pleasure beyond words. Teaching the class has created an interesting dynamic, as I began teaching the class as a freshmen. There are multiple seniors who take the class, so it has increased my confidence, showing me what I am truly capable of. It has also pushed me to help conflict solve across diverse team perspectives and develop problem solving skills. The class itself is amazing and allows people to pursue their passions, and many of their ideas go on to become fully developed projects after the class ends. One of my favorite projects I have seen go through the lab was a group who implemented recycle bins in Greek life parties in order to reduce waste. Having the ability to help develop successful projects is amazing.
The most rewarding aspect of the lab is the people. Not only are the students amazing but so are the other Peer Facilitators and the Staff. It has given me the tools to develop and build my own leadership experience and fill in some of the gaps that I was missing as a leader. The staff work one on one with you to help you progress and overcome any obstacles you are facing in the class, or in your personal life, and I cannot stress how much of an amazing experience this has been for me. It has shaped a good portion of my undergraduate experience, creating some amazing friends and I am immensely glad I have chosen this path and I encourage every fellow to give it a shot.
-- Justine Burt
Over the course of my training and the Leadership Lab, I met so many new people, was exposed to many new ideas, developed myself personally, and had fun while doing it. Though PeerFacilitator (PF) Training, was in the evening, going never felt like a chore, and a lot of the time it was the highlight of my Monday. Every training session was a fun learning experience. I got to know my fellow PFs, who are all great personally and professionally. They became my support system for the Lab, and also my friends. Over my time as a PF, I would say that I definitely have grown as a leader. Previously, I was good at small group discussions, but was nervous to speak in front of a room. Through leading the Lab, I was forced out of my comfort zone and with time, I became comfortable with presenting to large groups. I also learned about facilitation techniques, how to problem solve, and the importance of improvisation and being able to beflexible. All in all, becoming a Peer Facilitator was one of the best decisions I made this year, and I’m so glad to be a part of the BLI!
-- Semia Clay