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The Student Leadership Challenge

In today's world, there are countless opportunities to make a difference. More than ever there is a need for people of all ages, from all backgrounds, with all types of life experience to seize those opportunities that lead to greatness. More than ever there is a need for leaders to inspire us to dream, to participate, and to persevere. 

The Student Leadership Challenge® offers everyone the chance to do just that – to take the initiative and make a difference. The Student Leadership Challenge® is about how student leaders mobilize others to want to get extraordinary things done. It's about the practices leaders use to transform values into actions, visions into realities, obstacles into innovations, individuality into collaboration, and risks into rewards. It's about a climate in which people turn challenging opportunities into remarkable successes.

Model the Way

Leaders establish principles concerning the way people (constituents, peers, colleagues, and customers alike) should be treated and the way goals should be pursued. They create standards of excellence and then set an example for others to follow. Because the prospect of complex change can overwhelm people and stifle action, they set interim goals so that people can achieve small wins as they work toward larger objectives. They unravel bureaucracy when it impedes action; they put up signposts when people are unsure of where to go or how to get there; and they create opportunities for victory.


Leaders passionately believe that they can make a difference. They envision the future, creating an ideal and unique image of what the organization can become. Through their magnetism and quiet persuasion, leaders enlist others in their dreams. They breathe life into their visions and get people to see exciting possibilities for the future.

Challenge the Process

Leaders search for opportunities to change the status quo. They look for innovative ways to improve the organization. In doing so, they experiment and take risks. And because leaders know that risk-taking involves mistakes and failures, they accept the inevitable disappointments as learning opportunities.


Leaders foster collaboration and build spirited teams. They actively involve others. Leaders understand that mutual respect is what sustains extraordinary efforts; they strive to create an atmosphere of trust and human dignity. They strengthen others, making each person feel capable and powerful.


Accomplishing extraordinary things in organizations is hard work. To keep hope and determination alive, leaders recognize the contributions that individuals make. In every winning team, the members need to share in the rewards of their efforts, so leaders celebrate accomplishments. They make people feel like heroes.

Ready to take your Leadership Skills and your Organization to the next level?

The Leadership Development Series at Northwest is based upon the world-renowned leadership model, The Student Leadership Challenge. Northwest offers numerous opportunities to enhance leadership skills for students and organizations with all levels of experience!

Exemplary Leadership Academy

The Exemplary Leadership Academy is a nine-week co-curricular course centered on The Student Leadership Challenge® and focuses on helping students learn, connect, and apply the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership. Each week, students will engage in several peer-to-peer discussions, participate in highly-interactive group activities, and begin applying acquired knowledge to their personal experiences.

National Center for Student Leadership Annual Conference

The National Center for Student Leadership (NCSL) hosts a semiannual four-day student leadership conference each fall and spring. This premier conference features world-renowned presenters and attracts students from all across the nation. If your organization is interested in attending, please visit the NCSL website for more information.

Leadership Library

The Leadership Library provides student organizations with the basic materials and knowledge needed to be a successful leader. The hope is that the Library will help individuals and organizations grow, and in turn, enrich the Northwest Missouri State University Campus. All materials are available for use/check out through the Office of Student Involvement inside the Student Engagement Center of the Student Union.

Northwest Awards and Recognition Ceremony

The Northwest Awards and Recognition Ceremony recognizes students and organizations for their involvement and leadership at Northwest in a variety of categories. This prestigious event is held each spring and is the premier student awards ceremony at Northwest Missouri State University.

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