Leadership for Change
This fall Clark University will become part of an elite group of Universities hosting students from the University of The Free State in South Africa. These first year students are part of the “Leadership for Change Programme” which sends 80 South African students and staff from UFS across the world to host universities in the United States, Japan, Belgium, Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Africa. The program gives students intense exposure to the academic, social, cultural and residential lives of students in the host Universities. The University of The Free State believes that “Exposing students to positive models of racial integration will go a long way towards changing and enriching the minds of young leaders, who have committed to building a truly non-racial community during and beyond their university years.”
Clark University is honored to have been chosen as a host site for Leadership for Change participants. 8 South African students from UFS will stay on our campus from September 22 through October 3rd and during their time at Clark will be exposed to many classes, clubs and organizations, Difficult Dialogues Seminars, as well as exploring Worcester and the surrounding communities. We are seeking residential students who are willing to host one of these students in their room for approximately one half of the visit (~9/22 – 9/28 or 9/28-10/3). Students who host will be provided with either an extra mattress or if possible a bunk bed to provide some additional comfort for these students. In addition, as a thank you for your accommodation, the Residential Life and Housing will award any selected UFS host with one additional lottery point, which ensures that host students will have a better lottery number for housing selection next year. That said, please do not apply to be a host just for a better lottery number, please apply for the opportunity to help teach and to learn from your peers at the University of The Free State.
Students interested in serving as a UFS Leadership of Change Host may submit an application online now. Applications are due Monday, September 9th, 2013.
For students who are interested in learning more about this exciting opportunity, please visit the Leadership for Change website or read some of the highlights taken from the UFS website below:
- Enabling students to break down experiences of isolation through an intense international induction program.
- Enabling students to end racial stereotyping, fears and concerns through guided exposure to cross-cultural environments.
- Introducing students to positive models of racial integration and student life and demonstrate the desirability and possibilities for learning and living together.
- Building cross-racial unity and communities among students in other contexts through structured programs of instruction and support.
- Establishing international networking for students (and staff) of the UFS with colleagues and programs globally.
About the Leadership for Change Program
The University of The Free State is in the heart of central South Africa. It is situated in a largely rural province where poverty, illiteracy and disease hamper the tremendous potential of the land and its citizens. Like all South African universities, the UFS faces challenges of racism, prejudice and exclusion.
In February 2008, the Reitz residence on campus reached international attention after a video of a mock initiation of five black staff members emerged. The video outraged black and most white South Africans and sent shockwaves throughout the world. It resulted in student protests and pressured the government and universities to respond to overt and covert racism in universities.
The UFS chose to respond to racism by developing new strategies for integration. Great success has been achieved with residences now largely integrated on a 50/50 basis for the first time since the early 1990s. However, making the sharing of accommodation spaces compulsory is not enough to address the root causes of racism, which is caused by a lack of exposure to and understanding of different cultures and backgrounds.
As a result, the Study Abroad Leaders for Change initiative was started during 2010. The impact of this initial phase of the program on human transformation is clearly evident. Exposing students to positive models of racial integration will go a long way towards changing and enriching the minds of young leaders, who have committed to building a truly non-racial community during and beyond their university years.
Started in September 2010, the first 71 UFS students were sent abroad for two weeks and given intense exposure to the academic, social, cultural and residential lives of students in the United States of America.
The benefits of exposure to cross-cultural and cross-border experiences have been confirmed by the three groups of students who have successfully completed the Leaders for Change program in 2010, 2011, and 2012.