‘Emerge at Auburn’ program develops students into leaders

Published: September 27, 2017
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The mission of an inventive, new leadership program on Auburn's campus is simple: Equip students with the skills and experiences required to be exceptional leaders in their fields.

"Emerge at Auburn," a four-year program with a curriculum built around the Auburn Creed, kicked off in August with more than 1,000 freshmen and 75 upperclassmen.

Emerge is one of the largest organizations on campus and has a unique, year-to-year progressive format. It replaces the former Freshman Leadership Program.

"Emerge is more of a 'journey' than other organizations on campus," said Sydney Nicholas, president of Emerge. "It's about growing into your leadership skill set over four years, while also hoping to empower students to become involved in other organizations to put those skills to work."

The program progresses each year and was built by Student Affairs specifically for Auburn. Students will have the opportunity to learn leadership skills through a curriculum and practical applications, and the time commitment for the program decreases each year to allow students to embrace other opportunities.

Each month has a theme for the curriculum and real-life applications, such as values, vision and teamwork. A speaker series sponsored by Delta Air Lines covers the month's theme and is open to all students.

Freshmen in the program are exposed to all things Auburn with a focus on creating ties to the campus and learning what it means to be part of the Auburn Family. They meet weekly in small team meetings to study leadership principles and discuss what they see on campus.

In the second year, students are encouraged to put their leadership knowledge to action by getting involved in other organizations and taking on leadership positions. There are monthly small team meetings centered on what leadership skills they are learning in their organizations and what challenges their organizations are facing.

The program shifts in the third year to students spending time in a corporate setting. They work on case studies and create solutions for real-world business situations in addition to the small team meetings and monthly speakers. The themes for the year relate to organizations and the experiences the student has in the corporate world.

Throughout senior year, students prepare for life after graduation with resources such as job placement guidance and advice on handling social settings in the work force.

"We consistently hear from employers that they enjoy hiring Auburn graduates they become leaders in their organizations," said Lady Cox, assistant vice president for Student Engagement. "Emerge at Auburn helps to provide those critical leadership skills to even more students."

Upperclassmen have the opportunity to lead and mentor younger students and practice their leadership skills. They can see first-hand how their commitment to others can result in greater success, Cox said.

"Emerge isn't just a student organization, it's a program that we hope will empower people to be active, no matter what they are passionate about," Nicholas said. "Students will be given the tools to take steps toward their dream job or simply make their community a better place."

For more information on the program and how to get involved, visit the Emerge website.