Students in the Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development program, which is celebrating its 10-year anniversary, work on building a structure with piping in a team-building activity. /PHOTO BY JOE KELLER PHOTOGRAPHY
The Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development (GOLD) program is celebrating a milestone this year — a decade of experience that students carry throughout their careers and lives.
With a mission to prepare students for leadership roles and responsibilities in service to the college and the global community, GOLD has excelled and has become a role model for universities and colleges around the world.
GOLD has earned several state, national and international awards, including the National Association for Campus Foundation Exemplary Practices Model Program Award. Representatives from higher-education institutions around the United States and from Canada, Korea and Japan have also met with GOLD creator Tom Matthews, director of leadership education, training and development, to gain insight for their own programs.
GOLD has also expanded to the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. The university bought the rights to duplicate the program on its campus.
Why? Because it works. Over the years, Matthews has had many alums return to tell him that what they learned about leadership — and themselves — during their GOLD experience has directly translated to their professional careers.
"I read journal reflections every day from students who are participating in the program," says Matthews. "What I read are those a-ha moments. They are able to relate what they are learning to their lives. They are walking away with valuable experiences."
Skills students learn through hands-on training, workshops, mentoring and programs led by alums who share "Pearls of Wisdom" include practical know-how like how to run effective meetings to theory of leadership style.
This month, special GOLD opportunities include lectures and workshops on genocide and why it is still a factor, developing a personal leadership model and insight into tools needed to be a successful leader.