If your state is anything like mine, there are a number of colleges and universities within an hour’s drive of each other. Several years ago, six schools in the northwest Georgia area came together to try a new collaborative project in student leadership development that we called the Northwest Crescent Leadership Alliance. All six schools can be found in the geographic crescent-shaped arch in the northwest Georgia area — Georgia Highlands, Berry, Shorter, Dalton State, Kennesaw State and Reinhardt — six schools that are a mix of two-year and four-year, public and private, large and small enrollments.
Each school selects five or six students to participate in the program (usually through an application process), and then we each take a turn hosting the group on our campus for a segment of the leadership development curriculum.
The program spans both fall and spring semesters but are limited to just five meetings. We have normally held two meetings in the fall and three in the spring, with each meeting rotating to a different campus location. The first meeting is an overnight retreat of sorts where the students perform on a ropes course, and then each successive meeting builds on each other.
For the first several years we used the “Seven C’s” model of leadership development before changing to a model developed by Kennesaw State’s Seigel Leadership Institute, and now we use a model that bridges several theories and formats. Which ever campus is hosting the meeting handles the instruction of that session’s topics.
The main point with our Northwest Crescent Leadership Alliance is that we are using the resources of other institutions to train some of our students, while at the same time expanding our students’ outlook and network to colleges that are within a short drive of each other! The overall cost for each school to participate in the program is just $600 apiece, so the entire program is accomplished with less than $3,600 (and that includes the overnight retreat, ropes course, t-shirts, materials and food).
We are now entering our fifth year of the program and the benefits have been seen at all the campuses. There have been several other collaborations between the colleges or participating students’ organizations that have been born from the program and even a few romantic relationships have sprung from the cross-college meetings!
Does anyone else have any collaborative projects with close-by neighboring schools?