Student life: CU GOLD - Learn to lead

August 12, 2014

Looking for leadership skills? Applications for CU GOLD - Gaining Opportunities through Leadership Development - are due Sept. 12.

CU GOLD is a student-led group on campus that provides an opportunity for CU-Boulder students to foster personal development in leadership skills. It’s not for academic credit, but students get started by signing up for the Core Leadership Program (CLP), which involves a weekly seminar and retreat to Estes Park. Students who complete CLP can then sign up for the Applied Leadership Program (ALP), expanding CLP principles to things like professional goals, the community and engaging in CU’s ropes course. CLP graduates also can apply for a position on the CU GOLD Executive Board, a group of volunteers who facilitate CU GOLD programs and events, including their annual conference.

“The Core Leadership Program is really our bread and butter,” said Lauren Elder, student coordinator for CU GOLD, who joined the program when she transferred from George Washington University two years ago. “I felt like I was surrounded by a group of people who were interested in the same things as me, even though they were from different majors and we had different goals in life.”

As a transfer student, CU GOLD was a perfect group for Elder to be a part of, because she immediately made friends and began to internalize the concept of leadership. Before taking on the role as student coordinator of CU GOLD this year, Elder was the marketing coordinator. She’s approaching her senior year at CU, and is majoring in international affairs and two minors in political science and economics.

“One of my favorite things about CLP is that it really is every major you can imagine,” said Elder. “Kids in engineering interact with people who are philosophy majors.” Additionally, students range from being undergraduate freshman to doctoral candidates.

The program’s weekly seminars are facilitated by volunteer board members, CLP coordinators and CU GOLD’s student advisor, Stephanie Baldwin. Baldwin is the coordinator for Greek Life and Leadership Programs in CU-Boulder's Student Involvement Office, and she creates the curriculum for CLP. Guests from various capacities on campus also join CLP seminars and lead discussion, including staff members from Career Services and Residence Life.

In addition to weekly seminars, CU GOLD hosts an Annual Leadership Conference that aims to reinforce the different facets of leadership, like personal development, professional development and leadership on a global scale. Last year’s keynote speaker was, Joseph Tanner, former astronaut and CU instructor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences. This year, students on the board are planning to incorporate more group activity into the conference, which will be held Nov. 8.

“We really wanted to bring what we feel is the collaborative experience of CU GOLD, that you get with the Core Leadership Program and Applied Leadership Program, and bring it to the leadership conference,” said Elder.

Similarly, the group hosts a series of “Workshops in a Box” throughout the year, catered to student groups on campus that can sign up together and collaborate through workshop activities. The topics cover a range of themes, like team building, networking and leadership styles.

The best way to be a part of CU GOLD is to apply to the Core Leadership Program. The deadline is Sept. 12th, and the first 80 students to accept their CLP enrollment will be on the list. For more information about CU GOLD, or to apply, visit the group's website or  Facebook page.

“Our motto is that everyone can be a leader," said Elder. "Everyone has something to contribute, and I think that when you internalize that concept, it’s really empowering. We really want people who have never tried to take leadership positions before.”

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