Earn first-year leadership experience with the Office of Student Life


FYLE graduates, COURTESY \ Karo Ekpokpobe

Autumn Pitchure, Staff Reporter

First year college students can often feel nervous and unsure of how to get involved on campus. To help out, Grand Valley State University’s Office of Student Life is hosting five First Year Leadership Experience (FYLE) sessions designed for leadership development.

FYLE was crafted specifically for first-year students and it serves as a resource to advance leadership skills, build confidence and prepare students for success in potential future positions. This program gives students a chance to dive into their potential and thrive with strong leadership opportunities and a supporting team behind them. 

“We want to show students the concept of leadership and also display the opportunities that they have at Grand Valley when they are coming in,” said Karo Ekpokpobe, Graduate Assistant of Student Organizations and Leadership Development.

There will be five FYLE sessions for students to utilize and immerse themselves in. Each session, held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center room 2266, will have a different designated goal within understanding and building leadership experience. The focus for the first session, being held Tuesday, Oct. 15, will be covering material on leadership basics.

“That week we will be going over leadership skills, how to be a good leader and what kind of qualities leaders should have,” Ekpokpobe said. 

The second session will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 22. The focus topic of this session will be the “true colors” of attendees’ identities. Students will break into groups and explore what their personality traits are. 

“This is one of our highlights of the program,” Ekpokpobe said. “People get excited to know exactly who they are.”

The third session will be held Tuesday, Oct. 29, and will be focused on exploring diversity and inclusion with the assistance of a representative from the Division of Inclusion and Equity, who will deliver a speech on the topic.

“We break into small groups and explore diversity and inclusion issues, because one of the traits of a good leader is that you need to be inclusive of the space that you are in,” Ekpokpobe said.

The fourth session will be held Tuesday, Nov. 5, and will cover values and ethics.

“It’s one thing to know who you are and what leaders do, but you have to understand values and ethics too,” Ekpokpobe said.

The fifth session will be held Tuesday, Nov. 12, and the sixth session will be held Tuesday, Nov. 19. These sessions will tie together all of the concepts students have learned. It is called “commitment to action.”

“Now that they have learned leadership, true colors, diversity and inclusion, vales and ethics, we teach them how to bring them to life,” Ekpokpobe said.

At the fifth and sixth sessions, there will also be multiple departments and student organizations ecstatic to give students more information on how they can be involved on campus and how to take on more leadership roles. These organizations include the Padnos International Center, Student Senate, Campus Activities Board, Housing and Residence Life, and the Center for Women and Gender Equity. There will also be several interactive activities for students to take part in with people who have similar interests.

FYLE not only develops leadership skills and provides leadership opportunities, but it also gives students the connections necessary in order to be successful both inside and outside of their academic journeys.