Article from October 15, 2013
The Fashion Institute of Technology Leadership Workshop was a three day and two-night workshop that focused on student’s leadership communication skills. On Friday at 1:30 pm an unwary group of 50 students boarded the chartered bus to the IBM Learning Center in Armonk, New York. The bus trip was short, it took less than one hour to escape the hustle and bustle of New York City and to replace it with the hushed tranquility of Upstate New York. On the trip to the IBM Learning Center, I spoke to Christin, who is a student in the same major as me. We talked about how transferring colleges had benefited both of us.
The IBM Learning Center is huge. It resembles a private liberal arts college campus. It contains a number of major guest room halls, we stayed in Maple where single bedrooms were assigned to each of us. We also had full access to the main hall where meals were all inclusive. The campus is rich and forest like, it has a number of large grassy hills (the vast majority of girls on the trip went to chill on the hills). The grounds have lots of animals too. Rabbits and deer are common. We did not have any issues with mosquitoes, as there were none.
The activities consisted of typical college icebreaker activities like moving a hula hoop down a circle of college students via linked arms. The activities became progressively more intensive.In teams of 8, we began creating a country, we were told to make a country flag, shirts and song. Another one of the activities included having a race to move golf balls, tennis balls and marbles from one side of the room to the other using plastic piping. My favorite activity was where teams were made to build a tower of sticks and other random objects. I think that exercise was best because it made us think about strategy, timing, and teamwork under a complex assignment where criteria for winning was not fully explained.
Some of the group activities required meeting in small rooms, these were allocated to our groups in advance of the trip. While we snacked on free cookies, tea, soda, chips, pretzels and fruits we often discussed leadership and communication skills. We were also assigned professor who acted as a mentor. The professor would give us assignments like deciding who should live or die in a hypothetical great hospital assignment. This involved us working on creating a system of discussion to resolve larger problems. This assignment involved deciding, who of 9 people that need hearts for transplant, will get the 2 hearts we have to give.
The trip was great, I made new friends, learned a lot about communication skills and our school’s FIT Student Association.