Global Student Leadership Summit – Success of Student Action Plans, One Year In

Several Webster students in a Webster Leiden classroom with large windows providing a view of the canals.Webster students at the 2023 Global Student Leadership Summit stand in a line during an activity.

Over the past academic year, students who participated in the 2023 Global Student Leadership Summit (GSLS) in Leiden have been applying their leadership skills to improvements on their home campus. They have focused on enhancing connections between students and increasing overall student engagement in campus events. Each campus group completed their action plans between August 2023-April 2024, with the following highlights: 

  • Athens: Increased event attendance by 10%; Increased SGA membership by 5 students
  • Geneva: Implemented guidelines for student organizations to ensure focus on mission and active participation; Collaborated with Student Services on a newsletter and WhatsApp group to communicate important information and promote activities
  • Georgia: Established SGA with representatives from each major; Created interest clubs including Newspaper Club, Podcast Club, and Debate Club
  • Ghana: Prepared site-transfer Ghanaian students for new campuses by establishing connections with St. Louis, Geneva and Leiden students and staff; Performed regular check-ins with Ghana students at their new campuses
  • Leiden: Increased available activities during New Student Orientation to build connection among students
  • St. Louis: Increased event submissions on by 88% from 2022-2023 to 2023-2024
  • Tashkent: Increased event attendance by an average of 20%; SGA membership increased by 15%
  • Vienna: Established Debate Club based on student interest survey and ensured consistency and continuity in club offerings.

Two students from Webster Georgia display their Powerpoint presentation in front of a crowd in a dark room at the Webster Leiden campus.Students from Webster University Georgia present their action plan at the end of the 2023 Global Student Leadership Summit.

In addition to their collaborative efforts, individual student assessment results following the summit demonstrated the following results: 

  • Improved interpersonal communication skills / better at forming connections
  • Better understanding of other leadership styles / learning from others
  • Increased confidence in oral presentation skills
  • More accepting and excited for intercultural communication opportunities

Two students from Webster Athens stand in front of their action plan display board which focuses on increasing student involvement at Webster Athens.Students from Webster Athens present their campus action plan.

The GSLS is a high impact learning practice for a group of undergraduate student leaders from throughout Webster’s worldwide network. These students were selected because of their strong leadership potential and the ability to work collaboratively across differences. The 2023 event marks the 4th summit hosted by Webster University. Thanks to the generosity of alumnus Alan Elliott Merschen (MA, ‘82), the 2023 program was fully funded for all students who were selected to participate. Plans are underway for the 2025 summit, also funded by Merschen. 

Four students and two instructors smile for a photo at the Global Student Leadership Summit.A group of Global Student Leadership Summit students and leaders gather gather for a photo.

On the final day of the summit in May 2023, Merschen announced another exciting opportunity for participants: The Alan Elliott Merschen Social Impact Grant. This additional grant encouraged students to take their leadership skills and intercultural competence beyond their campus involvement and make an impact on their local communities. The students who applied for the grant identified a local, nonprofit organization and proposed a plan for meaningful collaboration with Webster students at their campus. The grant application submitted by students from Webster Tashkent was selected, and these students will be making a difference with the non-governmental nonprofit organization called White Sail. This organization’s goal is the provision of comprehensive and free of charge support to children with development disorders. Students at Webster Tashkent will actively participate in supporting the organization’s activities, engaging in tasks such as developing entertaining events for children, providing administrative support, and assisting the center’s professionals. They will begin their collaboration in the fall 2024 semester. 

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