Washburn’s fifth annual Leadership Challenge Event is bringing 150 high school and college students to Topeka to compete in a real world, real-time leadership simulation. The event is planned, organized and run by students in the Washburn University Leadership Institute. “The LCE has become a pillar event, not only for Washburn, but for the greater Topeka community,” said Marissa Dake, this year’s Leadership Challenge Event Fellow. Dake, a sophomore studying communication, who is from Auburn, Kansas, said the continued growth and success of the event “is proof that this competition is not only educational, but extremely valuable to young leaders. It’s a one-of-a-kind leadership development experience they cannot gain anywhere else.”
Michael Gleason, director of the Washburn University Leadership Institute, couldn’t agree more, and he feels that the experience of the Washburn students who put it all together also is invaluable. Students create the scenario and all necessary materials as well as handling all event logistics.
Whether applying to graduate school or seeking employment, “it’s tremendously helpful when a student can say ‘I helped recruit and train 130 volunteers’ or ‘I helped to raise over $28,000 for this event,’” Gleason said.
Lauren Edelman, associate director of the Leadership Institute, was the first Leadership Challenge Event Fellow as a student five years ago. Since then, the number of participants has doubled.
The fictional environment first created in 2011 is known as Metropolis, a community in Central Kansas County. The community’s history now incorporates each of the previous simulations, creating “an even more complex world that becomes more and more real,” Edelman said. “Our ‘city’ has overcome the aftermath of a campus shooting, an embezzlement scandal at the community foundation, a mayoral election and a flash flood.”
To protect the integrity of the competition, details about this year’s scenario and events to which teams will respond cannot be shared in advance. However, those involved are happy to discuss the event in general terms.
Throughout the simulation, each five-member team is judged on its decision making, communication, time-management and more. High school and college students participate in the same simulation but are judged against their divisional peers. All sessions are open to the media.
For more information about the Leadership Challenge Event, which is sponsored in large part by the Capitol Federal Foundation and Westar Energy, visit http://www.washburn.edu/lce. Follow the event and interact on social media with #LCE2015.
In addition to the Leadership Challenge Event, Washburn offers an academic minor in leadership as well as the opportunity to complete a Washburn Transformational Experience in leadership.
Five years of LCE by the numbers:
- 800+ total number of simulation participants
- 590 total number of Washburn student and community volunteers
- 63 total number of Washburn Student Leadership Council members (planning team)
- 15 teams in the first year
- This year: 150 participants, 150 volunteers, 30 teams