Leadership UMiami program explores complex issues

Marketing major Kayla Gardner presented as one of Leadership UMiami's 2018 participants. Photo: TJ Lievonen/University of Miami

By Ashley A. Williams

Marketing major Kayla Gardner presented as one of Leadership UMiami's 2018 participants. Photo: TJ Lievonen/University of Miami

Leadership UMiami program explores complex issues

By Ashley A. Williams
Program gives students the opportunity to uncover what democracy means and how to get to the root of community issues.

On Friday, the Butler Center for Service and Leadership celebrated the 2018 Leadership UMiami cohort program participants.

Leadership UMiami brought together a diverse group of undergraduates for a nine-week session that included a four-day experience in Washington, D.C. to understand how to create positive social change on issues they are passionate about.

“It’s a special experience – it’s really what being a student at the University of Miami is all about – making a difference and making an impact,” Patricia A. Whitely, vice president for student affairs, told the gathering at the Shalala Student Center.

For the second year, the cohort comprised of 30 students were divided into three smaller groups to develop action plans focusing on topics that directly affect many of UM’s population: gun control, public health, and racial justice issues. Students chose their groups based on which topics are most significant and specific to their individual passions.  

Throughout the program, students attended weekly sessions featuring meetings with local community activists, professional development activities and community visits that served to enhance their career and life goals. While in D.C., students visited historical civic centers, community leaders, and policymakers to help discover their role within the process. Students were also able to sit down with elected officials, experience Congress in action, tour national museums, and experience social issues in the nation’s capital firsthand. 

“You can’t see the fruit of your labor if you don’t put in the effort,” said Kayla Gardner, a marketing major.