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Leadership Challenge Event simulation bringing 135 students to Washburn April 3-4

The Washburn Leadership Institute’s annual Leadership Challenge Event will bring 27 teams and 135 students from the region and beyond to the campus of Washburn University for a real-world leadership simulation April 3 and 4.

The two-day challenge – secret until it actually begins on April 3 – puts teams of five in real-world leadership roles. During two days of unanticipated twists and turns, teams are judged on their response, collaboration, decision making and other leadership skills.

A core team of Washburn students directs each aspect of the challenge, from developing the scenario to preparing simulation related information for teams and individuals. More than 100 Washburn students volunteer during the event. Planning for the simulation begins nearly a year in advance. Each year to date the simulation has grown in both the number of participants and the area from which teams come.

“Putting on the Leadership Challenge Event is our leadership challenge at Washburn,” said Kristen Onions, a senior from Shawnee, Kan. who is leading the event as student director for the second consecutive year. “Our students make this happen.”

In a first this year, teams in the college division are traveling from as far as Florida. While both the college and high school teams participate in the same simulation, they are judged only against their divisional competitors.

The simulation is fast-paced but sessions are open to the media. On Thursday, orientation events begin at 1 p.m. in Henderson 100. A banquet, which begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Washburn Room of the Memorial Union, kicks off the simulation itself.

Friday’s session, the actual leadership simulation contest, will be held at the Capitol Plaza Hotel. All team members will report to Heritage Hall at 8 a.m. The day will conclude with an awards ceremony at 4 p.m., also in Heritage Hall. Members of the high school team that wins the Leadership Challenge Event will receive a tuition scholarship to Washburn in recognition of their achievement.

Washburn offers an academic minor in leadership as well as the opportunity to complete a Washburn Transformational Experience in leadership. Leadership students finished second in an international competition in November and recently participated in a leadership exchange program with the University of New Orleans.

For more information about the Leadership Challenge Event, including a more detailed schedule for each day, please visit Participants have been encouraged share their experiences on social media with #LCE2014.


Michaela Saunders, university relations, 785.670.2154 or cell: 402.490.0165 during the event.
Kristen Onions, Leadership Challenge Event student director,
Michael Gleason, director, Washburn Leadership Institute, 785.670.2001