Being a Peer Facilitator for the Leadership Labs at the Barger Leadership Institute was incredibly valuable for my growth as a student, a leader, and a professional. After my experiences in training and in the Lab, I feel more confident in my problem-solving and teamwork abilities and feel more prepared to enter the “adult world” post-graduation.

    At the start of every semester, the Peer Facilitators have six weeks of training. Training covers everything from team bonding, how to teach the curriculum, personal reflection, to learning more about campus resources, and everything in between. During this time you learn how to better guide and be a resource for project teams from guest presenters, using case studies and facilitating your own training session. One particularly beneficial presentation was the Ginsberg Center presentation called “Entering and Exiting Communities,” which discussed how to best work with populations respectfully and consult your own identity and power in the relationship. I found this presentation particularly helpful personally, given my aspirations to be a public servant post-grad, and for properly advising my teams. My favorite aspect of training was building relationships with the other peer facilitators and with my teaching team, allowing us to better solve problems and lead classes together.

    After six weeks of training, we hit the ground running with the Leadership Lab. I find the Leadership Lab to be very rewarding, as we get to see teams grow together and projects develop from just ideas to tangible products. I am inspired by students’ motivation to make a difference in their communities. This semester, I had the pleasure of mentoring a team that had a great, long-term goal of educating returning citizens on overdose prevention. Throughout the Lab, I helped them break down their ultimate objective into smaller actionable goals, or “small wins.” I was so impressed by their work and their positive group dynamics time and time again, even with having to meet remotely. I am looking forward to what they will accomplish in the future. Maybe they will go on to be in the Capstone program!

    Overall, this year as a Peer Facilitator was incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. Through the BLI, I was able to create a new community on campus, even as a senior, and grow into a more confident leader. I developed my public speaking, communication, and organizational skills, among many other skills. While my role was to teach and guide students in the Lab, I believe that I learned a great deal from the students and the development of their projects, as well. I know that I will take the lessons I learned at the BLI, especially as a Peer Facilitator, into my future career and life in general.