Lead Out Loud is an experiential program that focuses on the leadership development of multicultural students at the UCF. Developed by the Office of LEAD Scholars Academy, this program promises to enhance leadership skills, strengthen life skills and encourage positional leadership in this student population.

These are essential learning outcomes for students who will not only be retained by the university but will be able to serve as effective leaders on campus and in the community. The Lead Out Loud two-day retreat for this year was quite the success, as students participated in a series of developmental sessions which tackled a multitude of focus areas.

At the Money Management session, students were advised of average starting salaries for recent grads. They created a budget based on that salary and their anticipated expenses including things such as rent, utilities, student loans, car payments and entertainment.

“For most of the students, this was the first time they had thought about personal finances as it relates to their futures, so it proved to be very valuable,” said Tava Bingham, assistant director for LEAD Scholars Academy.

Students had the opportunity to explore the three basic concepts of public speaking – inform, influence and entertain. It also recognized the fear of public speaking and then the empowered them by identifying their fear.

The last session of day one was a discussion of personal responsibility. The importance of taking advantage of opportunity dominated the conversation followed by the necessity of taking initiative. A reflective discussion was what active role they can be playing now in creating their desired future self.

On day two, students participated in an interactive session discussing what affirmative action is and the oppression students of color face every day and how it correlates to internalized oppression.

Students also participated in a town hall forum where students were able to select the speaking topics. Students selected a number of topics related to current events including that of Caitlyn Jenner and the Glamour award she received. Another topic selected was interracial dating and the role that culture plays. As the group was very diverse, the students were able to provide great input.

Students participated in an activity to embrace differences that challenged their boundaries as they shared personal information about themselves with the rest of the group in order to bring out their similarities but to also show how these differences make them who they are. They were encouraged to identify and appreciate the things that make them different and embrace their uniqueness as an asset and not a burden.

The benefits of these sessions were valuable in the students’ life-learning skills for personal use as well as to apply them in the professional, diverse world of today.