New Student Leadership: Building, Growing, Learning
In mid 2015, after a period of intense growth within the SOUL Award program, the UTS Shopfront launched SOULstar - an initiative to train SOUL students in leadership and facilitation to meet a growing demand for the SOUL workshops.
The SOULstars with Deputy-Vice Chancellor (International and Advancement) Bill Purcell
at the 2015 UTS Shopfront Showcase event
Photo credit: UTS Photography Society
The pilot program, which officially launched in July, recruited 13 students committed to a series of challenging workshops, mentorships, and facilitation practice. Throughout the semester, each SOULstar has negotiated the sometimes difficult process of collaboration within learning spaces, recognising their own learning needs and, in stepping out of their comfort zones, achieve their own learning goals.
“With Chris and the team's guidance, I feel that my confidence has grown exponentially, I've been able to experience collaborative team work and really feel/hear and work on my own presence in working with others. Also, learning to live the growth mindset!”
SOULstars is a diverse group of students, from six different faculties, with each bringing a valuable perspective and special contribution to the dynamic. What binds them together is a commitment to social justice and self improvement. This is sentiment that is shared amongst the cohort, who have built strong sense understanding of the importance of enabling their peers to learn in a productive and supportive environment.
“I think the relationships we have built are incredibly important. The program has strengthened the bonds with people I knew previously and I have also got to know some people I find truly inspiring. It's also been great to watch each other grow and also support each other in making mistakes and learning from that.”
This semester SOULstars have co-facilitated over 15 workshops, and have each attended over 30 hours of training. At this year's Shopfront Showcase and SOUL Awards Night, some of the SOULstars put together a short video to describe their experience.
The pilot program has been a resounding success, and there are plans underway to expand the program in 2016.