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Students learn leadership at CSU-Pueblo

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The Presidential Leadership Program at CSU-Pueblo has been preparing students for leadership roles for the past 11 years.

The program offers students the opportunity to earn a minor in leadership by taking four core classes and two electives. Students are accepted into the program once they have graduated from high school and enter their first year of college.  

The leadership minor program accepts students into the program who are active leaders throughout high school, and requires students to maintain a minimum 3.2 grade point average. A student’s leadership potential is factored into consideration as well.

During their first year in the program, students are introduced to the principles and theories of leadership. For their second and third year in the program, students must shadow community leaders and work on a capstone project.

The capstone project integrates leadership and problem solving stills and forms a team that selects and implements an approved project based on an identified target group, according to PLP director Shelly Moreschini.

For their final year in the program, students are placed into where they are able to step into a leadership role, Morseschini said.

“They take all the skills they’ve learned in the past three years and put them towards helping a non-profit or for-profit organization,” she said.

The program also collaborates with the Career Center to find internships for students.

“Tanya Baird has helped us start developing placements on a regular basis, so that in the future a student can go and talk with her about a possibility before they talk to us,” said Trish Orman, PLP academic director and instructor. “This gives us a lot more flexibility and opportunities for our students to earn credits.”

“Students take an internship that will give them an opportunity to lead,” Orman said. “Our students can be any major, but the intent is that the student focuses on the leadership more than what might suit their major.”

This year, 11 students are doing internships for business, non-profits and campaigns in the Pueblo area. Keely Severance, a nursing major, is doing her internship at the Pueblo School District 70 where she has joined a political action campaign for a bond issue and mill levy override project.

“As a nursing major I could have gone the traditional route and interned at a hospital or at the health department,” Severance said, “but I felt like I needed to come out of this experience as a well-rounded person.”

Severance had previously worked on City Councilman Chris Kaufman’s campaign.

“I decided that it would be a valuable experience to intern for another campaign. This time I wanted to campaign for an issue rather than a person,” Severance said.

This year marks an election year and the District 70 Bond Issue and Mill Levy Override is listed on the ballot as 3a and 3b. If the bond issue is passed, it will give District 70 money for capital improvements without a tax increase, and the passage of the mill levy override will provide more money for the district’s operational expenses, Severance said.

Severance has been working with businesses in Pueblo West and Pueblo County to distribute flyers to customers and community members.

“PLP has been an amazing experience for me these past four years,” Severance said. “The lessons we learn in PLP are valuable and they go beyond what can be learned from a textbook.”

This year’s capstone project is the design and implementation of an alternative spring break program for the campus, Moreschini said.

“The purpose is to give our university students a chance to experience service outside of the local area and truly make a difference in the lives of others,” Moreschini said. “The class wants this program to continue on campus every year, with multiple trips and groups of students.”

For more information about the PLP program, contact Moreschini at 719-549-2060.