This year, the University of Connecticut’s Husky Outreach for Leadership Development, Understanding and Pride (HOLDUP!) will have student membership applications in the spring semester, as well as in the fall, according to Imani Addo, the PR and Marketing committee chair.
In previous years, students have only been able to apply in the fall semester. Students interested in joining should keep an eye out for next semester’s application, Addo said. The fall application closed this past Thursday.
HOLDUP! goes to Connecticut high schools to facilitate leadership development workshops, according to their website.
“We’re technically not a student organization. We are a university program, we work out of leadership and organizational development,” Addo said.
Addo is a fifth-semester material science engineering student who joined HOLDUP! her freshman year at UConn. She said she gives the organization a lot of credit for helping improve her leadership skills.
“I was kind of shy, and I think [HOLDUP!] helped me break out. Now, I’m an RA,” she said. “I have to do all these leadership things, and it’s crazy how well HOLDUP! has prepared me to do all of these leadership positions on campus.
HOLDUP! is currently working with RHAM High School in Hebron and Bentley Alternative Education School in Manchester, according to Addo. E.O. Smith is notably absent from this list.
“I think that we don’t go to E.O. Smith…mostly because…[other schools] don’t have their own UConn, so the leadership development they would get from UConn, kind of like that osmosis effect, is not present,” Addo said.
Regardless of which schools the organization is involved with, Addo said she is passionate about the organization’s mission.
One powerful part of HOLDUP! is actually quite small, Addo said, explaining how they refer to high schoolers as “students” instead of “kids”.
“It’s just one step…towards always keeping that learning environment in your head,” she said. “Like [saying], ‘Oh, I can be better, I’m not just some kid. I’m a student, I’m a scholar and I’m going somewhere.’”
This is only one small facet of the organization, Addo said. She said the content committee is constantly updating their curriculum in an attempt to learn how they can improve the program, how they can better help students and how they can help their members as well.
One HOLDUP! initiative this semester is pairing up with student groups on campus to facilitate leadership workshops, Addo said.
“We are trying to facilitate [leadership] in other groups…We are probably going to be pairing with [the] National Council of Negro Women,” Addo said.
The pairing is a two-way street, Addo said, since NCNW will be coming to talk to HOLDUP! about diversity, as well.
Any student groups interested in working with HOLDUP! in the future should reach out to Addo, she said.
“One of the best parts about HOLDUP! is that yes, we help others become better leaders,” Addo said, “But within doing that you become a better leader yourself.”
Natalie Baliker is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org .