LEAD: The Future for Chippewas

For most students, college revolves around getting good grades, preparing for a future career and maintaining a fun social life. But what if students took their role as college students one step further?

This is exactly what Central Michigan University’s student-run group, LEAD, aims to accomplish.

LEAD, which stands for for life, extra-curricular, academics and difference, is a newer registered student organization that promotes personal growth through goal setting, daily planning and accountability.

This organization is a college program formed by Southwestern Advantage to give students the opportunity to progress as personal leaders. By having students mentor each other, members are able to set goals for themselves and be held accountable by those around them.

“The people are what make LEAD special,” said one of the group’s campus coordinators, Christian Debay. “There are few organizations on campus that consist of intrinsically motivated members that are looking to better themselves, others and the community around them.”

Aside from working on personal goals, members meet every week to discuss topics ranging from happiness, self-efficiency, personality types and emotional intelligence. These meetings are only one element of what South Lyon junior Alex Cristen finds so valuable about the group.

“During each meeting, we’re able to learn about different issues that center around being the best person you can be and using that knowledge to help others in the process,” Cristen said.

In an effort to help students gain real world experience, LEAD also provides summer internship opportunities through various avenues, like the Southwestern Advantage Sales and Leadership Internship Program.

This internship program recruits more than 2,000 college students each year to sell books, software and other educational resources during the summer months. CMU graduate Sara Nannini completed an internship through LEAD and uses the skills she learned to fulfill her responsibilities as one of the group’s campus coordinators.

“Moving to a different part of the country and running my own business taught me so much about myself and the way the world works,” Nannini said. “LEAD is the perfect outlet to help others gain similar skills.”

While new, LEAD already has high hopes for the future of the organization.

“Our plan for (the future) consists of training a new wave of LEAD coaches so that they have skills to mentor students so we can continue to expand the membership capacity of our group,” Debay said.