Leadership University aids in creation of e-portfolios

GVL/Sara Carte
Student Jaclyn Ernoyan (left) and keynote speaker Maria Beelen (right)

GVL/Sara Carte Student Jaclyn Ernoyan (left) and keynote speaker Maria Beelen (right)

Allison Ribick

The Grand Valley State University Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies and the Office of Student Life sponsored an information night for Leadership University on Tuesday as part of Campus Leadership Week.

Leadership University is a relatively new program that allows students to work with a staff or faculty member in the creation of an e-portfolio. Students record important events in their life while at GVSU, such as community service, student organizations and personal accomplishments. The e-portfolio serves as an example of the student’s accomplishments and helps when they are looking to obtain jobs, internships and acceptance to graduate and professional schools.

Maria Beelen, a Laker Leadership Coordinator for the Office of Student Life, informed students of the benefits of getting involved in Leadership University.

Beelen spoke of how the e-portfolio allows employers to see evidence of community service through the uploading of pictures and documents with the addition of a personal touch.

“By no means is it a replacement for a resume, but it’s something that every grad school will look for and appreciate,” Beelen said. “This shows that you know how to do professional writing.”

The program is student-driven. Students are not required to attend any special meetings or meet with any Leadership University affiliates, besides their assigned mentor. They are encouraged to meet with their mentor at least once per semester.

“We want you to be mentored by somebody you have a connection with,” Beelen said.

Beelen emphasized that students should get to know their mentor since they will see the student grow and could offer internships or job opportunities to the student.

Leadership University also helps students make a WordPress blog, where they can write reflections on completed activities and events which their mentor has to approve.

In order to finish the Leadership University program, students have to gain five stars. The star system is organized by different leadership categories: lives, professions and societies. When a student completes one element of each activity, writes a reflection, and is approved by their mentor, they receive a star. A student must earn four stars, or twelve activities, and will earn their fifth once they graduate.

“It goes at your own pace – you’re your own leader,” Beelen said. “What you put into it, you’ll get out of it.”

Since the program is young, Beelen hopes that as more students join, Leadership University will be able to have group meetings to discuss what other students are doing.

“I think a huge part of anywhere you work is collaboration,” Beelen said. “I’d like to bring that into Leadership University, or maybe teach classes on basic leadership things.”

Leadership University also sends out emails to its participants about beneficial events once they graduate, such as Career Center sponsored events and volunteer opportunities.

“It’s something that I’m really interested in because I want to make my college experience as fruitful as possible,” said Kevin Chui, a freshman studying biomedical sciences. “And have something that can build my resume, and make myself look good.”

Jaclyn Ermoyan, a sophomore studying advertising and public relations, also attended the event.

“I’ve always been interested in the leadership programs that Grand Valley offers,” Ermoyan said. “I think that coming to the meeting was beneficial, even if one decided not to actually become a member of the Leadership University, because you’re able to learn a little bit about how to present yourself professionally online and the importance of it.”

To learn more and sign up for Leadership University, visit

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