Baldwin '07 descends a tight gap in a slot canyon during
the Leadership Expedition in Utah.
initiative challenges students beyond the classroom with experiential
learning in wilderness
Tyler Baldwin '07 traveled to Utah in March, he learned
that he couldn't let bad weather dampen his spirits.
this year's Kellogg Leadership Expeditions, Baldwin, along
with eight other students and visiting Assistant Professor
Bauman, faced the challenges of camping, kayaking
and hiking along the San Juan River and San Raphael Swell
for a week while battling rain and hail.
obstacles were part of the Kellogg Leadership Expedition,
a program begun in 2006 by the Business Leadership Club and
designed to challenge students with experiential learning
opportunities that force participants outside their comfort
zones to gain leadership insights.
addition to the Utah trip, led by Outward Bound Professional,
11 students traveled to Patagonia in South America with Clinical
Associate Professor Michelle
Buck, director of leadership initiatives at Kellogg. That
excursion was led by National Outdoor Leadership School. While
the locations' landscapes were different, the students shared
similar experiences, learning to establish responsibilities,
manage stress and absorb important lessons.
McClurg '07, who coordinated the Patagonia trip, said
that Buck taught them the importance of reflection, a critical
but often-overlooked leadership component. Buck noted that
a study of extraordinary leaders found that all practiced
daily reflection, either through meditation, journaling or
Kellogg trips provided students with opportunities to reflect
on their leadership skills. After returning to campus, they
met to discuss their experiences and stories.
can communicate powerfully when they communicate through stories,"
said Buck. When faced with a difficult situation, leaders
focus on what the experience can teach and how they can apply
the lessons later, she said.
storytelling also creates symbols to reinforce the leadership
experience. For Baldwin, one symbol is found on his backpack
— a pin he and the other participants received at the
some of the Utah participants faced their rugged challenges
for the first time, Baldwin, an experienced outdoorsman, found
his test was in keeping a positive attitude.
realized that the weather wasn't changing, and I could be
in a bad mood or assess the situation and make the best of
it." Once he saw this opportunity, he organized a hike
to keep the group active despite the rain.
is the most important thing in leadership," said Baldwin.
"If the stock market crashes, it's not your fault but
you have to pick yourself and move on." –AM