Collaborative Leaders plan successful retreat

By on October 27, 2004

What happens when a bunch of outgoing, opinionated and motivated sophomores get together?

At Quinnipiac University, collaborative leadership happen.

Facilitated and run by Daniel Brown, director of leadership in Student Affairs, the Collaborative Leaders

program allows a select group of sophomores to further develop their leadership skills and apply those skills in a group-oriented setting.

Instead of heading to the dining hall for dinner, The seventeen chosen students: Danielle Bruen, Reaksmey Choun, Aubrey DeCarlo, Kimberly Fisher, Christina Furka, Sarah Grady, Lauryn Jacobi, Tanya Lagatella, Dee Mastronardi, Dana Owen, Nicole Penchansky, Jennifer Rosenbaum, Debra Rossetsky, Lauren Schwab, Scott Simon, Andrew Turczak and Joseph Cirillo met in Buckman Center on Mondays from 5-6:15 p.m. for their weekly sessions.

Quinnipiac’s leadership development program is tri-fold.

Freshman year, students complete the Emerging Leaders workshop that entails attending a weekend two-day retreat at Camp Jewel in Conn. Sophomore year, graduated ELs move onto the Collaborative Leaders program, and finally to the third and final step, Citizen Leaders.

While Emerging Leaders focuses more on developing individually as a leader, Collaborative Leaders puts more emphasis on establishing a group dynamic.

“I wanted to learn about leadership skills in a group environment this semester,” Scott Simon, sophomore accounting major, said. “Emerging leaders focused on learning about you, in the individual sense.”

Each week Brown presented and discussed various aspects of leadership and invited guest speakers to further educate the participants on specific topics beginning with one question: “What do you think it means to be a collaborative leader?”

During one session, Jody Bailey, assistant director of Residential Life, spoke to the group about “Understanding Group Dynamics,” after which the students completed a role-playing activity that taught them how to turn personal goals into group goals

Brown felt that it was important for the collaborative leaders to understand their role before they got down to accomplishing the group’s ultimate goal: planning and executing the semi-annual retreat for the freshman Emerging Leaders

The CLs who were unable to attend the retreat planned and presented two “prep” sessions for the EL group prior to the retreat. Some of their activities included ice breakers, name games, and the creation of a larger-than-life puzzle that displayed what being a leader means to them as well as their proposed goals for the retreat.

“The Emerging Leaders showed [on the puzzle pieces] what they thought a leader portrayed using markers, magazines, and pictures,” Danielle Bruen, sophomore marketing major, said. ” When they saw the puzzle all put together, they saw what it felt like to be part of a team.”

For seven weeks, the CLs deliberated about which activities to plan and what they wanted the emerging leaders to get out of each activity. They also had to purchase food and collect supplies for the weekend.

“[We] want to make it a great experience for everyone,” Simon said.

The group agreed on the 1980s classic movie, “The Breakfast Club” as the theme for the weekend.

“We chose “The Breakfast Club” because each of the five characters in the movie are completely different which emphasizes diversity, and each contributes something special to the group,” Dana Owen, sophomore undecided liberal arts major, said. “Also, the movie’s underlying theme is about deceptive appearances and breaking stereotypes, which drove home the point we were trying to make.”

The Emerging and Collaborative Leaders, accompanied by Brown and director of the Student Center and head of the Emerging Leaders, Scott Hazan, departed for Camp Jewel by bus on Friday Oct. 22.

The thirty five Emerging Leaders watched the movie on the bus ride and then were broken up into five groups with the titles: The Princesses, The Criminals, The Basketcases, The Athletes, and The Nerds that corresponded with the respective movie characters.

“We wanted to teach them about different types of people and show them different ways of thinking and leading,” Aubrey DeCarlo, psychology major, said.

Throughout the weekend, the ELs and CLs participated in a series of team-building events and activities, including a low-ropes course created by the camp, and a late-night bonfire and marshmallow roast.

“The [activities] were challenging,” freshman Mark Nani, political science major, said. “But they definitely taught us how to come together as a team and complete a mission.”

After returning home on Saturday evening, The CLs felt that they had accomplished all they set out to do.

“The retreat was wonderful,” Lauryn Jacobi, public relations major, said. “I was really impressed with all of the Emerging Leaders and how well they worked together and how responsive they were throughout the weekend.”

Hazan echoed the CL’s sentiments

” I think emerging [and collaborative] leaders allows students to explore their personalities and learn a lot about themselves as they begin to learn a lot about leadership.”

The participants feel that acquiring leadership skills is important and useful not only as a college student but in the career world as well.

“Learning leadership skills at an early age enables a person to go for what they truly want in life,” Mastronardi said. “It gives you the confidence to pursue any avenue and not be afraid.”

The second session of both Emerging and Collaborative Leaders will begin in the spring semester. For more information contact or Scott.Hazan@


About Tanya Lagatella