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Students gets insight into leadership skills after attending institute for student leaders
Jul 18, 2013 | 248 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Northwestern State University sophomore Zack Cockerham of Morgan City took part in a highly selective institute for emerging student leaders in June.  Cockerham was among 100 students selected out of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity’s 10,000 undergraduate members to attend Pi Kapp College, an intensive 6-day leadership development experience designed to help participants create the ideal chapter.  The program, held at the University of South Carolina, is designed to challenge and inspire participants to become better leaders and better men.

“Actions speak louder than words, so I think the most important thing I can do right now is take everything by storm,” said Cockerham, a liberal arts major who was assigned to a group of 10 other Pi Kappa Phi members led by two faculty

Cockerham, a Liberal Arts major, was assigned to a small group of 10 other Pi Kappa Phi members led by two faculty. The week included small group discussion, large group education sessions, a challenge course, unique subordinate rituals, and an insider look at Pi Kappa Phi’s history on the nearby College of Charleston’s campus.

For Cockerham, who is secretary of Northwestern State’s Beta Omicron chapter, a week of reflection and teambuilding helped identify his skills and opportunities as a leader.

“Pi Kapp College showed me new ways to use these strengths, and that I shouldn’t rely on my strengths alone,” he said.  “Before this week I wasn’t very confident in my leadership skills, but now I know that I can help lead my chapter to greatness.”

Cockerham, along with fellow participants, were introduced to many alumni members. Beta Omicron Chapter re-chartering archon Wes Breeden returned for a third year as a facilitator. In 2000, Breeden led a group of 29 Northwestern State students to re-charter the Beta Omicron Chapter after nearly two decades of dormancy.

“If Wes can build something so great out of nothing, there is no reason why I can’t also build something when I already have a strong foundation,” Cockerham said. “As Wes once told me, passion is contagious.  As long as I can demonstrate why I’m passionate about being a Pi Kapp, then those around me will as well.”

One of the most impactful experiences at Pi Kapp College was a friendship visit with a local partner of Push America. Beta Omicron alumnus Nick Breaux, a Push America staff member, discussed the importance of service and how it ties in to the values of the fraternity. The students and facilitators traveled to a local bowling alley to bowl a few frames with athletes from the Charleston Miracle League, a baseball league for children with disabilities. Cockerham said he and the brothers felt inspired by the abilities of the athletes they had met that day.

  Students who attend Pi Kapp College are selected through a rigorous application process, involving interviews and essays. Cockerham said it was a transformative experience.

“I learned a lot about myself and how I can mold myself into a true leader ready to evolve my chapter into something even greater,” he said.
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