Nine years of impacting future leaders

Washburn Review

The Leadership Institute at Washburn is famous for excellence and tradition. One of the many avenues through which they display this reputation is the Annual Leadership Challenge Event. The event brings both high school and college students together from four different states for a two-day leadership education and application experience. This year the event will be hosted Thursday, Feb. 28 and Friday, March 1.

“The LCE is truly one of a kind,” said Professor Michael Gleason, Director of the Leadership Institute. “In traveling to different leadership conferences, we’ve never seen or heard of anything quite like this event.”

Teams of five either high school or college students are taught leadership skills during the first session. The following day, they apply those skills as they enter the fictional city of Metropolis and are met with challenges and problem-solving opportunities presented to them by volunteers who role-play as citizens of Metropolis.

“When I was in high school, I competed in the LCE,” said senior Colin Truhe, a double major in communications and mass media. “I had attended leadership conferences and camps before, but this was completely new. I was able to learn about leadership and then was asked to immediately take what I had learned and apply it to an intense simulation.” 

The event is a great way to teach students not only about leadership, but also how to apply it as students and community members.

“The event showed me that leadership isn’t something you learn about, rather it’s something that you do,” said Truhe.

This year’s LCE Fellow is senior history major and leadership minor Brooke Manny.

“As fellow, I am head of the Student Leadership Council, which is made up of a group of students that plans the event through raising funds, volunteers and participants. The LCE team always welcomes student and community volunteers. Volunteering allows people to see how smart high school and college students are. The students are brilliant people. Each year our volunteers are blown away by how these leaders handle challenges.”

This year, the council collected over $40,000 in sponsorships and a group of over 150 volunteers to help the 215 students registered for the event. Campus and community support is both plentiful and greatly appreciated.

“We should be proud as a university and community of this display of support for and impact on young leaders,” said Gleason. “It is the responsibility of leaders to encourage future leaders. It’s amazing to see our community rise to the occasion when it comes to supporting the event.”

If you want to get involved with the event as a volunteer or sponsor, you can go to and find the volunteer registration link. The last date for volunteer registration is Jan. 26 and Jan. 31 for sponsorships.