Catalysts for Change: Leadership Development Skills

Written by Emily Kastor

Compared to the age of the university, the MSU Leadership Institute (MSULI) is fairly young at 19 years old. Despite that, the MSULI has made a huge impact on campus by living up to their mission statement: “Inspiring MSU students to become leaders who serve as catalysts for positive change.” The MSULI has and continues to have inspiring speakers come to the university to give students and staff a different perspective on life. Being a flourishing leader in today’s society is not always as easy as it seems, so they also provide leadership trainings, camps, workshops, and mentorships. All these efforts go to show how the MSULI truly benefits the MSU campus and promotes positive change amongst students and staff.

The easiest way for students to get involved with the MSULI is through their mentorships, during which one gains the title of student associate. Student associates seek to help students realize that they are stronger than they think, have more power than they realize and that everyone has leadership potential, some just need help tapping into it. Another easy way to get involved with a bit less commitment would be to attend the master classes and trainings/workshops, which is what the MSULI will be focusing on in the future. Workshops provide an intimate space for students to interact with other students striving to better their leadership skills. These workshops also have a “hands-on-learning” atmosphere where students can face what is hindering their progression as a catalyst for positive change. The speakers that are brought in are considered by many the “icing on the cake.” While they are very valuable experiences in leadership growth, they do not do as good of a job at connecting students to their peers or community. When students attend these events, all they do is sit in a chair and listen to someone speak. Rarely do students get to interact with the learning being presented to them, which is something directly provided by workshops. While speaker events are awesome, MSULI has so much more than that to offer this campus.

If a student does take on the role of student associate, they won’t be given a typical list of stagnant day-to-day responsibilities that only seem to change with advancement within the office. Instead, student associates within MSULI change responsibilities as to experience each struggle and challenge that comes with each part of the office so that they may grow and determine their strengths. By doing so, students are able to serve as the catalysts for positive change that the MSULI pushes them to be.

The MSULI has many unique attributes that continue to show how this organization is a huge asset to the MSU campus. With their mission statement, the abundance of leadership advancement opportunities, and thought provoking speakers, it becomes very apparent that the MSULI will be changing the face of our campus in a positive way for many years to come.

Emily is a freshman double majoring in Liberal Environmental Studies and Philosophy. She is a liberal and is very passionate about basic human rights and how issues of inequality effect MSU’s campus. Emily can be reached at