Leadership Development Program offers unique opportunities for freshmen


Student Government Association president and vice president. President Ben Childress (right), an economics senior, and vice president Elizabeth Foster (left), an electrical engineering junior, posed for a photo near Bradley Hall at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky. 2017 file photo. Photo by Joshua Qualls | Staff

Bailey Vandiver

The Student Government Association organizes and facilitates an annual program for freshmen called the Leadership Development Program.

LDP is “dedicated to building future leaders on campus,” according to the program’s website. Freshmen who participate will have an opportunity to shadow campus organizations, meet community leaders and serve others, all while becoming better leaders.

LDP started at UK in 2007, according to SGA Vice President Elizabeth Foster. Foster said LDP is unique at UK compared to freshmen-oriented programs at other Southeastern Conference and in-state schools.

“I think LDP is different in that it promotes getting involved in a variety of campus organizations, not just Student Government,” Foster said.

Foster said there are several benefits to freshmen who participate.

“LDP students get the chance to grow both personally and professionally through intentional programming designed to challenge individual perspectives,” Foster said. “These freshmen get to have experiences early on in their college career that can help them as leaders in the future.”

Freshmen must first submit an application to participate in the program. The top half will advance to an interview portion and 40 students are selected.

More than 200 students have applied each of the last two years.

Foster said she advises freshmen to be intentional and thoughtful in their responses on the application.

“Speak about the unique experiences in their lives that have truly impacted them in some manner,” Foster said. She said the application focuses on quality, rather than quantity of high school experiences.

Foster participated in LDP her freshman year. She said she can look at a number of campus organizations and see LDP alumni leading within those groups.

“In general, I think LDP is what you make of it.”

The application is due on Sept. 3 and can be found here.