The first half of the semester has been filled with retreats and workshops that have grown the Pepsi Scholars students in a variety of skills and competencies. From self-awareness to intercultural competency, the scholars have worked through tasks and engaged in discussions that grow their skills in these areas and many more. The students were able to engage in these workshops through both a weekend retreat and weekly meetings.

On February 16th, the scholars gathered in Baker Center for their first spring retreat. Later this semester, the scholars will be attending the Collegiate Leadership Competition and the first retreat was a chance to introduce activities and begin training as a team. Starting with a pop quiz, the scholars were tested on their knowledge of leadership skills from stress to conflict to varying leadership styles.

Once their brains were warmed up and thinking about leadership, the students were prompted to apply their knowledge in two different activities. One activity included using two cans of pringles to build a continuous ring. The students only had 20 minutes to build their “Pringle Ringle” and were tested on their patience as towers fell and chips broke. Ultimately, one team solved the riddle of the ring more quickly and succeeded at the challenge. Each task and activity at the retreat tested their ability to work together toward a common purpose and stay focused on a goal.

Outside of the retreats, the students have been working through the first part of a four-part diversity and inclusion meeting series. The students attend smaller meetings with three of their fellow scholars and are prompted to reflect on identity, privilege, and how their lived experiences affect their life as well as their leadership styles. In the first part of the series, the students are asked to share the story of how they received their name, as well as discuss pieces of their identity that have been important in their development. These conversations often turn into a discussion involving society and the different expectations that are placed on certain identities to fit a mold.

The Pepsi Scholars are entering an interesting time in the scholars program where they become more comfortable with each other and know more about their peers. All of the meetings and workshops are structured to support a learning environment in which the students are both challenged to work hard while being supported in their efforts.

Written by Kendra Lutes, Graduate Assistant for Special Projects at the CLDC

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