As Finals Week draws near and the holiday season sweeps across Athens, the Pepsi Scholars program congratulates and says farewell to another outstanding group of students. At the end of every fall semester, the 12 scholars that have grown and developed over the course of the year make a pledge to continue leadership on campus. Taking into consideration all that they have learned in their 12 months as scholars, the students have the opportunity to channel their skills and passions into one final project that exemplifies all they have learned.

From the start of the scholars program in January, these 12 students have embarked on a journey to learn more about themselves, each other, the community around them and what they are truly capable of accomplishing. The scholars began their journey by analyzing their top five strengths through StrengthsQuest and understanding what those strengths mean in the context of leadership. Not only were the scholars tasked with understanding their own strengths but also the strengths of each other. An important part of leadership is appreciating the strengths and skills of others, and each student is encouraged to understand each other on this level of leadership.

Not only did the scholars learn about each others’ skills and strengths, but they were also able to see them in action. The scholars attended the Collegiate Leadership Competition in Cleveland, Ohio, which is a competition that challenged them to take on tasks and challenges together and problem solve their way through a series of events. This competition encouraged the students to reflect on each others’ strengths and put their leadership into action.

Fall semester brought upon a theme of community service and making a lasting impact for the scholars. By engaging in projects such as the Reindeer Run, Honey for the Heart and Thursday Supper, these scholars have taken their leadership and made a true impact on the community around them. Specifically, the scholars have been hard at work marketing and spreading the word for students to donate time and food to the Baker Food Pantry before the winter closure.

In our last few meetings, the scholars will be working toward setting a legacy plan. Each scholar is tasked with developing a goal surrounding a passion project, in which they can utilize what they learned as a Pepsi Scholar to leave a lasting effect on campus. The scholars are encouraged to think about their interests and take on a project that truly invests in an area of passion for them. Be on the look out for a blog next week that highlights each of these projects!

In conclusion, we would like to extend a huge thank you to the Class of 2018 Pepsi Scholars. Your leadership is inspiring and the scope of what you will accomplish is limitless.

By Kendra Lutes, Graduate Assistant for Special Projects at the CLDC

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