A window inside life at Augustana College


As a first year at Augie, I was able to participate in the Emerge program.

Emerge is an 8-week course designed to develop, enhance, and fine-tune leadership skills. With the advice from many professional speakers, a group service project, and an intense high-ropes course, myself and the other Emergees were able to make new friends and learn a bunch of new things about ourselves.

The speakers all had their own things to tell us about how to inprove our leadership skills. The first speaker was Michael Miller who also gave us our Keynote Address at Fresman Orientation. He explained to us that the best way to lead others is to know how we ourselves function. We utilized Don Lowry’s “True Colors” personality test to find out what kind of a leader we were. We each read a packet that had words and phrases about different things in life such as relationships, timeliness, and work ethic. From there, we were all told to choose what color (which represented a personality type) we were. Personally, I am a Gold. Through and through I value hard work, but would prefer to do it myself, I am almost always 10 minutes early to everything, and my clothes in my closet are color-coded. Knowing these things about myself made it easier for me to identify how I function in order to better relate to those around me.

Our next speaker was Jermaine Davis. He spoke to us about diversity and realizing that deversity is about so much more than just race. He also talked to us about how to challenge biases, prejudices and stereotypes. This information was incredibly informative and made it a lot easier for me to realize that there are many types of diversity and just as many ways to deal with the diversity.

The next week, we all traveled to Dubuque to participate in a high ropes course that tested our personal boundaries as well as our team building skills. This adventure taught us that once we push ourselves as far as we think we can go, we see how much farther we’re able to go. It was a beautiful day and the experience was definitely worth going.

In Emerge, we were also able to create and present our own service projects. It was amazing to see what all of the other groups did and to see the joy in everyone’s faces when they talked about giving back to the community.

Joe Urbanski came to talk to us about why most student-led organizations don’t work. He then gave us good advice on how to fix these problems. Joe’s presentation was very action-packed and informative. He made sure that we were engaged frequently so that we would stay focused.

Michael Miller returned at the end of the Emerge program and did the Headband Experiment with us. Eleven volunteers were selected to put on headbands that had different life scenarios on them. Everyone in the group had to treat them they way the headbands said they should. This lesson was designed to teach us that it really doesn’t do to treat others badly and how to bring out the best in the people around us.

All in all, Emerge was a wonderful experience to kick off my time at Augie. It is definitely my favorite experience so far. I made several really good friends and learned so much about myself as a leader and how to better relate to others. I would highly recommend Emerge to any first years because it is a phenomenal experience.

I can’t wait to see how my participation in Emerge impacts my leadership abilities and involvement on campus.

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