Students build communication skills

The Leadership Challenge Event is an annual event hosted by the Washburn University Leadership Institute.

This year, the LCE will be held on March 29 and March 30 at Washburn University.

“The idea of the whole event is to put students in a real life situation and give them a real life experience,” said Shea Kirsop, student director of the LCE. “A lot of students don’t get that until they get to the work force. Sometimes it’s different to adjust.”

It is a two day event. The first day is a half-day conference, which focuses on developing different leadership skills and ideas, for the students to participate in, and then students will go to a banquet in the evening.

“We’ll have Ed O’Malley speak to students at the banquet,” said Kirsop. “He is the president and CEO of the Kansas Leadership Center. He does a lot with leadership development.”

The second day is a full day leadership competitive simulation. Students will receive roles and go through the day in these positions.

“The simulations include things like role playing live interactions,” said Kirsop. “We have live people interacting with our students and participants. We also have web based interactions. We have media, where we have different videos and other types of media that students interact with throughout the simulation.”

This year there will be 20 schools participating, with 12 high schools and eight colleges. Last year’s event was a little different with how the different teams competed with and paralleled one another. This year the students won’t be working by themselves as a team. They will be working with other teams as well.

Kirsop said that Jeff Mott, director of Challenge Leadership, brought this idea to Washburn. Challenge Leadership works with the Topeka community and partners with different organizations from Topeka and around Shawnee County.

“This event is really unique for a lot of high school and college students,” said Kirsop. “It helps them learn how to work with others they really don’t interact with on a day-to-day basis. It really teaches them how to be open to different ideas and build on networking skills, as well as communication skills.”