University YMCA
University YMCAthe Y | service, reflection and action since 1873
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Student Leadership Development

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"Thanks for being a big part of my student experience at U of I and thanks for continuing to support student programs and leadership!" - Y Alum

The University YMCA encourages leadership in all of our work through:

  • Identifying and recruiting persons with leadership potential and diverse backgrounds.
  • Providing training in leadership skills.
  • Fostering multiple and diverse leadership opportunities.
  • Recognizing and rewarding leadership.
  • Increasing communication among leaders.

See the links above to learn more, or hear what student leaders are saying about the Y.

We asked our student leaders...

What abilities, skills, or knowledge have you gained or developed during your association with the Y?

  • "Leadership and management techniques, facilitating group bonding, logistics of non-profit planning, and much more!"
  • "I have gained more leadership and administration skills through my work with [my program] and the Y."
  • "I've definitely gained leadership skills and confidence with speaking and outreach."
  • "I learned how to interact with other groups who are different from myself."
  • "Greater sense of community and access with the Y's resources, as well as better leadership skills."
  • "Greater networking abilities with other social justice organizations."
  • "[My program] relies on the Y for money, space, and support."

Andrea Rosales

Telling Stories: Andrea Rosales / La Colectiva Volunteer and Blogger for Undocumented Rights by UniversityYMCA

Andrea didn’t discover she was undocumented until she was in high school when she had to decline a work study position to which she’d been accepted. From that point on, she was on an emotional roller coaster. She felt alone and helpless... until she began to connect with the larger undocumented community through forums and blogging. Now she’s an activist with Y Student Group, La Colectiva. Quickly, Andrea became a big part of La Colectiva’s educational outreach, organizing, and action aimed at changing state and national legislation. Andrea believes that labeling humans as illegal is both hurtful and contradictory. She believes it because she lives it daily. Her way of coping is the same as her method of activism: taking a stand by speaking out.

Kenny Long

Telling Stories: Kenny Long / Engineers Without Borders Volunteer and Student Board Member by UniversityYMCA

Kenny Long is a leader in Engineers Without Borders, and a new student board of governors member. When he came to the University of Illinois, his family in Texas couldn’t believe how far from home he would be. Soon enough, his involvement with the Y would take him even farther... to Africa. Kenny arrived to the village of Ntisaw with other student engineers. You can hear in his voice the affection and respect he developed for the place. He especially admires the way politics and religion played out while the water system was being planned. Listening to Kenny, you can understand why he got attached to Ntisaw. The people, as a community, worked so hard to get fresh water. They saved an improbable amount of money. And when everything went wrong, they did it all over again. During the interview, we all laughed at the prospect of trying to define “social justice” - it’s such a huge concept. But Kenny got serious pretty quickly. These trips seemed to have instilled a personal definition in him...

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