Supporting Students During the Pandemic
LeadMN has pivoted our work to ensure that students are being supported. Shortly after the pandemic began and campuses closed in the spring, LeadMN quickly surveyed students on how they were doing. With over 5,000 sharing their feedback, we used this data to advocate for the federal CARES Act and changes in campus responses to the pandemic.
As a follow-up to the survey, we quickly launched the new LeadMN Emergency Grant program. In two short months we distributed $5,000 to students, thanks to the generosity of the Mark M. Welter Foundation. This support had a tremendous impact on students who faced serious financial issues related to the pandemic. The success of this program will allow us to respond again to students after the new year, when many federal support programs are set to expire.
The fall, we conducted a follow-up to that survey to see how students are coping with the pandemic. Our survey found that students are doing much worse and are in desparate need of mental health support.
Moving Conferences Virtually
After the pandemic closed campuses in the spring, we moved our Spring General Assembly and Voting Summits online. Our learnings from this process led to several improvements as we pivoted our conferences to online this academic year, including reducing the live sessions to just a half day and working to make them as interactive as possible. Students have reacted very positively to this change and the ability to still create community in this virtual space.
Launching the LeadMN Lab
As a result of the pandemic we wanted to offer more leadership development content to students on demand. There are many pressures on students’ time and we need to give them greater flexibility on how they access LeadMN leadership training. With that in mind, this year we launched the LeadMN Lab, a suite of leadership courses that students can take to improve their skills in a virtual environment.
Thanks to a partnership with the Charlie Academy and C. Charles Jackson Foundation we will be able to offer students a suite of micro-courses on various leadership topics. The courses have gone through a rigorous development process that is sure to help students strengthen their leadership at a pace that works for them. Then students can take what they learn in the courses and apply it to their real world scenarios on campus or on the job.