FOCUS: Student-athletes learn how to use their passion for sport to create positive change within their team, their campus, and local and global communities.
PARTNERSHIP: A dynamic partnership between Athletics, the Center for Leadership and Service, and the Center for Sport, Peace, and Society, VOLeaders is the only program of its kind in the country to combine academics, athletics, and student life.
SCOPE: Student-athlete leaders go through an application process after being nominated by their coaches. Those who are accepted spend a year engaged in an off-campus
leadership development retreat, academic courses in leadership and social change (housed within the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies), and a culminating international experience focused on community development and social change. They spend the following year serving as academy
INAUGURAL COHORT: The academy’s first year is under way now, with thirteen student-athletes representing basketball, golf, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. The group’s final service experience will take place this summer in
Brazil in conjunction with the Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games.
GOLD MEDAL: Less than a year after its launch, the VOLeaders Academy has already received a Gold Excellence Award from NASPA–Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.
STUDENT EXPERIENCE: “The most important concept I have learned in class is that leadership is not about any one individual. Leadership is about cultivating positive change throughout an entire team by developing the unique leadership traits within every teammate.” —Matt Zajac, Men’s Track and Field