The Department of Student Affairs & Enrollment Management, in partnership with the Center for Service and the Office of Applied Learning, is proud to announce the Barbara Sprong Leadership Challenge for students.

Barbara Sprong, as seen on the Department of Student Affairs’ webpage, “was a pioneer in improving the education and health services in St. Joseph.”  Sprong worked with Heartland Hospital to develop their first volunteer programs and served on several high level positions during her time there. Following Heartland, Sprong worked with Missouri Western developing its Ambassadors and United Way on the executive board of directors. Sprong served many different roles and positions benefiting the community and helping those around her.  In an excerpt from the Missouri Western website it states the following, 

“Ms. Sprong lived a life of service to others. . . Barbara’s belief in the importance of education is reflected in the amount of time she devoted to educational pursuits in her community.  Her leadership was honored by the creation of the Barbara Sprong Leadership Challenge – an opportunity for selected students to learn the ins and outs of being a great community leader.

Dr. Melissa Mace, vice president of Enrollment Management, when asked to explain the background of the challenge, said the following.

“She was a big leader in being involved in the community. I believe as educated people, we have to use (our skills) to help the community. Her and her family wanted to inspire MWSU to take the same mantle. The family gave money to develop a program, a three-hour course, offered in the spring focused on leadership, service, and action or applied learning.”

Dr. Mace went on to say that those involved work to refresh the course to focus on three main topics.

“We focus on three things—what does it mean to be a leader, what is the purpose of non-profit organizations and why it revolves around volunteers, and lastly, what is the intersection between the two.”

 When asked how students can participate, Dr. Mace went on to explain as well as noting that the class comes at no cost to students.

“Students could either self-nominate or be nominated by an advisor, or member of the faculty or staff. So far, all those who’ve applied have been self-nominated. We are looking for about 10 students.” Dr. Mace said. “The Sprong family generously pays the tuition and material cost for those who are taking the challenge.” 

One student who had  taken the challenge and had applied what he had learned from the program to his work at Missouri Western is Luke Armstrong. Armstrong is a member of the Student Government Association serving as the Director of Griff's Give Back, a volunteer organization here on campus.

When asked what he experienced through the Barbara Sprong Leadership Challenge, Armstrong said the following,

“I was apart of the challenge my freshman year. It was helpful and a great experience getting to meet some of the speakers and take part in the volunteer and leadership events and opportunities. Overall, it was a wonderful opportunity to partake in and network with.” Armstrong said. “The class was both reflective and hands on with the material, and has given me great experiences and opportunities to become the leader that I am today.”

The application will be accepted from November 1 to December 1. For those interested in learning more about the Barbara Sprong Leadership Challenge, students can contact the Division of Student Affairs & Enrollment Management, Dr. Mace or the Missouri Western website.

Recommended for you