More than 2,000 students register for Leadership Safari, get familiar with campus
Leadership Safari gives incoming students and freshmen a week full of activities to get acquainted with Central Michigan University.
With activities such as challenge courses, speakers, slam poets and an opportunity for dinner with CMU professors, Safari participants kept busy Aug. 19-23.
Safari is a five day program designed to help new freshmen and transfer students become acquainted with campus and learn leadership skills.
During Monday’s leadership challenge courses, which involved team building and trust exercises, Susan Walser of Chicago, Illinois, sat with her new friend Amanda Perham of Monroe. The two happened to be in the same group: Team Blowfish.
Though Walser participated in Safari to become more familiar campus, she discovered more throughout the process.
“Everybody on this campus is super accepting. Even though we’re all getting started, we’re all really friendly to each other,” she said.
Perham said during the experience of Safari she learned how to come out of her comfort zone.
“Don’t be afraid to walk up to people and introduce yourself even if usually you might be a little hesitant,” she said.
Midland senior Cali Winslow was a Safari guide for her third time this year, and described the energy as infectious.
With 2,050 students participating this year, the number is down by a small amount of 50 since last year. Dani Hiar, director of Leadership Safari, said the numbers for Safari stay consistent with enrollment.
Hiar said not much changed this year, except for some locations due to summer flooding in the Student Activity Center and the New Student Convocation Ceremony taking place Saturday, Aug. 26.
“Safari is a great time if you allow it to be,” she said. “Hopefully we’ll have a great start to the fall semester.”
Hiar said leaders and Safari staff had to adjust to the changes, as big events weren’t taking place in the SAC because of June flooding.
Surrounded by an energetic atmosphere in the Indoor Athletic Complex, senior Katlynn Hughes of Oak Park led her group, Team Reindeer. It was her second year of being a leader for Safari.
“I think it’s a great transitional program,” she said. “I never got to do it as a participant and I saw other people that I knew that got so much out of it their freshman year. I just wanted to be able to help the transitional process.”
Being with her group of nine people all week, she explained her favorite part was seeing her participants grow, and added they teach her more than she ever teaches them.
“They get out of their comfort zone, accomplish their goals that they set, and just get close to each other in general,” Hughes said.
“They teach you a lot about yourself, like what morals you have,” she said. “They reinforce why you choose to be here and what means the most to you at Central.”
As far as the future of Safari is concerned, Hiar said they have developments in the works for spin-off programs, like a spring Safari for transfer students or freshmen who arrive second semester.
She said transfer students have the toughest time getting acquainted to campus.
“We’re hoping to launch that (program) this spring,” she said. “(It’s) a possibility,”