Undergraduate Academic Affairs

April 25, 2013

Spring Celebration showcases students’ transformative leadership and service experiences

Hazelruth Adams

Preschool Children Learn Alphabet

UW undergraduate Masooda Zarifi helps preschool children complete a fun alphabet maze activity.

At this year’s annual Spring Celebration of Service and Leadership, over 100 University of Washington undergraduates will share their involvement in transformative leadership and service activities. Fellow students, members of the community, and university faculty and staff are invited to attend the event and celebrate the inspirational work of students who have stepped up to improve our community and campus. The Spring Celebration of Service and Leadership will take place on May 7, 2013, from 3:00 – 5:30 p.m. at the Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center on the UW Seattle campus.

UW undergraduates dedicate many hours to service and leadership activities in the community. In the 2011-12 school year alone, more than 5,900 UW students devoted an astounding 556,335 hours to public service through university sponsored activities. At the Spring Celebration, students will share their involvement in topics as varied as environmental sustainability, unemployment law, addiction treatment methods, early literacy, healthcare, and more.

While their service and leadership work varies, students who participate in these kinds of activities experience both short and long term benefits. Student involvement in public service has been shown to help students develop the critical thinking and practical skills that reinforce their learning in the classroom. “It’s not enough to focus only on the things you can learn from books or lectures,” says Déana Scipio, an instructor in the College of Education. “Students need hands-on experiences.”

Ric Robinson, a professor in the Department of Biological Structure, believes student involvement in leadership and service activities also advances students’ critical-thinking skills, vital to success in the workforce. Robinson mentors UW undergraduate Kayla Ritchie who publishes a quarterly student-run neuroscience journal called Grey Matters. “Kayla is already exhibiting and learning the day-to-day leadership and problem-solving skills necessary to make ambitious real world projects succeed,” he says. Ritchie and another student contributor will share their experiences at this year’s Spring Celebration.

The four university program co-hosts of the Spring Celebration—the Carlson Leadership and Public Service Center, Jumpstart, the Pipeline Project, and the Mary Gates Endowment for Students—strive to foster just this kind of meaningful experience for undergraduates. Together these programs support students’ engagement with the community and advancement of their leadership and critical thinking skills. This year marks the 15- and 10-year anniversaries of the Pipeline Project and Jumpstart. Together these two programs have supported over 12,000 undergraduates to thoughtfully engage with schoolchildren and the critical issues that impact the preschool and K-12 education systems.

UW alum Gloria Johnston was one such student. As an undergraduate she devoted hundreds of hours to participating in Jumpstart, an early literacy program that connects college students as tutors and mentors with preschool children from low-income communities. “My Jumpstart experience was the foundation for my interest in direct service and community involvement,” she says. At the Spring Celebration, Johnston will join UW alum Solmaz Mohadjer, former Pipeline Project volunteer, to share the enduring impact of their undergraduate service experiences.

The Spring Celebration will begin with a gallery of student poster presentations on service and leadership. After the gallery presentations Ed Taylor, dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs, will open a short program and author, educator, and civic entrepreneur Eric Liu will discuss the impact of students’ service and leadership on our community. The program will also recognize this year’s Edward E. Carlson Leadership Awardee, Yuriana Garcia, for her trailblazing efforts to educate undocumented students about options to pay for college. After the program, and for the first time in Spring Celebration history, over 40 student presenters will share their stories and converse with event attendees in collaborative, small group “breakout sessions.”

Event Details

WHEN:         May 7, 2013, 3:00-5:30 p.m.

WHERE:       Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center (ECC), UW Seattle campus

3:00 p.m.      Gallery of Student Projects

Sample topics include:

  • Bridging the Gap: Business and Healthcare
  • Drugs, Addiction and the Brain: Biology Education in King County Jail and Monroe Prison
  • Reaching Every Student: Saturation Sustainability in Greater Seattle Area Schools
  • UW Formula Motorsports: Building Engineers by Building Racecars

4:15 p.m.      Program honoring UW Student Engagement

4:45 p.m.      Collaborative Small Group “Breakout Sessions”

Breakout Sessions will center on the themes of:

  • Civic Engagement: Students who participated in Citizen University, a conference on the art of Great Citizenship, share their learning on what it means to be an engaged citizen.
  • Leadership: Students in the Husky Leadership Initiative certificate program share their leadership philosophy and how they developed it.
  • Educational Equity: Students engaged in service and leadership around issues of educational equity share their efforts “Pecha Kucha” style.