At an SGA meeting on Feb. 7, the SORC requested $15,000 to fund LeaderShape, the annual, student leadership retreat held in May. Buc Fund did not have sufficient funds and the senate denied their request.

In 2014 and 2015, ETSU brought the LeaderShape institute to Johnson City. LeaderShape was not held in 2016, but the SORC hopes to hold it in 2017. Bringing the institute here allowed more students to attend due to a lower cost per person.

While $15,000 seems like a large sum of money, Director of Student Activities Leah Adinolfi believes it is money well spent.

“When you think about the type of experience that LeaderShape is, you begin to realize that it’s really not that expensive,” Adinolfi said.

“We send student leaders to two and three day conferences where the registration alone may be $300-$400,” she said. “Then when you factor in the cost of travel, meals and hotel expenses, we often pay upwards of $700-$1,000 per student to have the opportunity to access this type of education.”

An average leadership conference lasts two to three days, but LeaderShape is an immersive, six-day experience. Bringing the institute to ETSU allows the community to benefit from this program for just under $500 per person. This also allows for as many as 70 students to attend as well.

The cost, per person, includes lodging, meals and materials. It also covers the cost of bringing the professional facilitators to ETSU.

Prior to 2014, ETSU was sponsoring a small number of students to attend the Illinois institute.

“We heard from those students that this was such a powerful experience, that they came back wishing they had been able to share it with others here,” Adinolfi said. “They explained that LeaderShape wasn’t something anyone could really understand except having experienced it for yourself.”

These students inspired ETSU to consider bringing the LeaderShape experience to campus, and it has remained a priority since.

Adinolfi feels that the philosophies taught by the institute are relevant for today’s leaders. Students explore themselves and others and given time to reflect on personal happiness as a fundamental piece of being a leader.

For 2017, LeaderShape is still in need of sponsorship to be able to offer the institute in May. Six departments have agreed to sponsor a student, and Adinolfi hopes others will follow suit.

If funding is secured, applications will be available March 15.

If any group or office is interested in more information, they can contact Adinolfi at or visit