Incoming freshmen find Leadership Safari kickoff an engaging atmosphere
Leadership Safari, a five-day program, allows freshmen to experience CMU and make connections with other students before the start of the school year. This year’s event will also feature several entertainers, such as slam poet Kirk Nugent and television stars from The Buried Life.
Oak Park freshman Raheem Kareem admitted his first impression of Leadership Safari was less than positive. Kareem said he initially found his experience impaired by the fact that he found himself slightly uncomfortable with his transition into Central Michigan, yet he also said the Leadership Safari kickoff was changing that.
“It’s just meeting all these different people,” Kareem said. “It’s fun.”
The event transitioned new students from activity to activity, including telling each other scary stories, dancing to the Dougie, singing classic rock songs and even having students attempt to shake hands with every other student in Finch Fieldhouse, which numbered about 1,750.
“You will meet every other person in this room tonight,” said the speaker of the event, David Coleman, a renowned public speaker who has been featured in publications such as ESPN and Woman’s World. “That’s right, every single person.”
Lonnie Scott, one of the organizers of the speaking event who leads similar programs all across the state, said Safari is unlike any program in the country.
“What makes Safari unique among all other programs is that it’s pure enthusiasm,” Scott said. “Energy can’t be replicated.”
Scott said the staff was the source of this energy.
“The staff is dedicated to making this the best environment possible,” Scott said, “And they really allow students to get acquainted with the campus and with other students.”
Plainwell freshman Erika Havenaar, who will be participating in the Reserve Officer Training Corps program this semester, said her favorite part of Safari thus far is it gave her the ability to move in early.
“I can focus on classes this way,” Havenaar said. “I don’t have to worry about learning the layout of campus, or meeting other students.”
Havenaar said she found the atmosphere of Safari to be incredibly positive.
“It’s been an engaging atmosphere,” Havenaar said. “Everyone has been welcoming.”
Dexter freshman Hank Dreffs said Leadership Safari has already made him excited for the upcoming semester.
“This entire program has already been a lot of fun,” Dreffs said. “I’m excited for what lies ahead.”
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