Promoting Civic Engagement

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Some wanted to run in the Relay for Life to help fight cancer. Others raked leaves and cleared overgrown backyards in University Heights. Last Saturday, some brave souls even took the “Polar Plunge” and dove half-naked into the icy waters of Lake Erie to support the Special Olympics.

Each fall, about 30 civic-minded UB freshmen become members of Leadership House, a unique, yearlong, “living learning” program that develops budding entrepreneurs, teachers, CEOs, political activists and other community leaders. Incoming freshmen apply to the program before they begin classes in September. Once accepted, they are grouped together in the same residence hall, take special academic classes and participate in local and national community service events.

The Leadership House (LH) program includes a required course in the fall called “Dynamics of Leadership,” and members also must participate in several pre-planned service events of their choosing. One popular example was Trick or Eat, a nationwide Halloween food drive that gets students off campus and into their local neighborhoods to ask for food donations instead of candy. In the spring, LH members apply the skills and experiences they collected in the fall and organize a major campus service event.

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