Leadership workshop offers annual retreat


Statues stand in Allerton Park in Monticello, Illinois. The park will be witness to a performance by Deana Carter at Prairie Sky, Allerton’s concert series.

By Tiara Cosby , Staff Writer

By affecting the lives of more than 70,000 students, the Institute by Leadershape lives up to its mission of self-discovery and changing the lives of college students across the United States.

At in the Illinois Leadership Center, paraprofessionals have the opportunity to select students from different colleges across campus to attend the six-day, five-night retreat at Allerton Park in Monticello, Illinois, with all expenses paid for by their colleges.

Princess White, senior in LAS, first heard about the retreat held earlier this month when completing her leadership certificate at the University.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” White said. “I hoped the Institute by Leadershape experience would be similar to previous leadership opportunities I’ve had.”

White said the retreat was a positive experience because it solidified who she is as an individual in society as well as a leader.

To attend the retreat, students must submit an application during the fall semester. By November, applicants were selected and sent an email regarding the following steps of securing their position for the winter session.

However, the Institute by Leadershape doesn’t hold yearly sessions only at the University. The program is also held at different universities, one in which First Year Experience Director Murillo Soranso remembers being a cluster facilitator in Florida in 2009.

“The Institute by Leadershape teaches our students about having a vision, finding their passion and acting on it,” Soranso said.

Soranso visited the institute last spring, where Godson Raheem, senior in LAS, and 63 other participants attended the retreat.

“The Institute by Leadershape helped me look at life through a different lens,” Raheem said.

During that retreat, the top three represented colleges were the College of LAS, the College of ACES and the Gies College of Business. Overall, the Institute by Leadershape’s main goal is to encourage students to live with integrity and to continue their leadership skills every day, also known as Day 7.

“Day 7 for me means the rest of my life,” White said. “It means living my life with a purpose after the retreat and ensuring that I work towards my vision that was created at the institute.”

Other students have the opportunity of potentially attending the institute every year the program is offered.

“I’ve learned that being a leader means being unapologetic about what your core values are,” White said. “Also, that leadership often finds you, you don’t find it, and if it does find you, then surround yourself with leaders you would want to imitate and create your own personal leadership style through the foundation of those you believe are good leaders.”

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