Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center

LEAP Program

Building on Hamilton's tradition of cultivating leadership, Hamilton students in conjunction with the Levitt Center and the Dean of Students Office created the Leadership Experience And Preparation (LEAP) program in early 2013 to promote the development of leadership skills among first-year students.  

For the 2014 fall semester LEAP is transitioning into a new phase. The program will be connected to a philosophy course (PHIL 121) taught by Professor Rick Werner, which will focus on the role leadership plays in the pursuit of happiness. This new model will allow the first-year students to learn and experience leadership in a dynamic style as they apply in the LEAP program what they discuss in the couse and vice versa. 

The first-year students that register to the philosophy course for their first sememster on campus will be automatically signing up to the LEAP program. As a result, the bridging of an academic course and a student-run program gives the limited group of 16 first-year students the opportunity to participate in a unique collaboration at Hamilton College.

Thereupon, the first-year students will engage in weekly lectures and tangible activities outside of the course that will allow them to develop their leadership potential. The 16 first-year students will be occasionally divided into groups of 4 students and one upperclassman mentor to work on debriefing the leadership exercises.

The participants will develop five skills necessary to become a highly effective leader: self-awareness, active listening, public speaking, managing conflict effectively, and working in groups. In the second semester, students will complete the final stages of a public service project and will select a local organization to which the project will be donated.

By the end of their first year, LEAP students will have began to understand who they are as leaders as well as have attained the tools necessary to advance the culture of leadership at Hamilton. Accordingly, LEAP strives to train first-year students who can then take leadership positions within the program, carrying it into the next year.

LEAP In the News

Hamilton College News Feed
The Spectator

LEAP Co-Directors for 2014-2015:

  • Gretha Suarez, LEAP co-founder
  • Taylor Elicegui, LEAP 2013-2014 participant

LEAP Mentors for 2014-15:

  • Amal Asghar '15
  • Jack Suria '15
  • Gretha Suarez '15
  • Taylor Elicegui '16

LEAP Faculty Advisor:
Chris Willemsen

PHIL 121 course Professor:

  • Rick Werner

PHIL 121 course TA:

  • Meghan O'Sullivan '15