Growing Leadership Capacity through Service-Learning
By: Lucas Shivers (’03)
Crunching leaves on a driveway while raking for senior citizens, clearing brush at Sunset Zoo next to the cheetahs, picking up litter along the interstate, building relationships as an international buddy, mentoring youth towards their goals—these are some of my most memorable times at K-State. Alongside fellow students at Leadership Studies and with brothers from Acacia Fraternity who center on Human Service, I’m soaked in so many experiences that continue to inspire my involvement with service today and also evoke a deep desire to give back to the organizations and communities that have helped make me the person I am.
One of the signature programs of the Staley School of Leadership Studies, that brings these concepts to life, is HandsOn Kansas State. Hosting events like Harvesters Mobile Food Distribution, Furniture Amnesty Day and Academic Mentoring changes the lives of our K-State students and makes meaningful impacts on the communities around them. Leadership Studies gives opportunities to learn in real world contexts and develop skills of community engagement, while affording partners opportunities to address significant needs.
The bulk of this programming is coordinated directly by students, which cultivates some of the deepest and most powerful learning. However, these activities also require resources in order to grow and sustain the programs and positive impacts on both students and communities. As an educator, I know all-too-well the challenges facing public education, from our K-12 schools all the way up to higher education. As someone who has benefited deeply and directly from these systems, I am called to give back—and, as I learned in leadership studies, called to explore how I can be part of addressing challenges around an issue that I care about, for the benefit of my family, the K-State family, and the broader world.
For these reasons, I am a proud supporter of the Staley School and a contributor to the “Leadership for Life” 20th Anniversary Fund. Leadership Studies taught me that leadership is for everyone, helped me develop my personal style of leadership, and inspired me to explore what my leadership might be for. I know today that I care deeply about student learning and development, and one way I can advance this is by helping to extend the opportunities I had to a new generation of leaders and activists. And I invite all who share this passion to join me in cultivating “leadership for life!”
Lucas Shivers (’03)
P.S. I have been thrilled with the opportunity to serve on the 20th Year Engagement Committee, who have been working to connect with alumni and friends of the Staley School. How are we doing? We’d love to hear your feedback if you have ideas on other ways to engage—please complete this short survey.
Have you taken opportunities to engage through social media or on “The Loop” Blog? I’m looking forward to hearing from more classmates, fellow alumni, and supporters of the School as we celebrate this 20-year milestone and work to grow the capacity of the Staley School through the next 20 years and beyond!