For many, the concept of Leadership is pretty vague and there is no single accepted definition. On one end of the spectrum leadership is an ability that individuals are born with. On the other end of the spectrum, leadership and the ability to lead others involves skills and attributes that anyone can develop. This site seeks to provide a central resource for leadership opportunities at the University of Washington.


Giving back to one’s community through civic engagement is often associated with leadership and for many is the key component of what defines a leader. Some of the most recognized leaders in history are those who dedicated their lives to helping their community and serving others. The opportunities presented here vary greatly. The time and duration, level of intensity and engagement depend on the program you are looking at. Some opportunities are one time program others are more involved and can even provide you with course credit. All opportunities are positives ways for you to give back to your community while developing as a leader.

Representative Leadership

Being a representative for others is perhaps the most recognized form of leadership today. Leaders in these positions have been chosen by others to represent their interests in situations when the voices and decision making-authority of many needs to be entrusted to one individual. At the UW, opportunities to become involved in representative leadership include the elected positions in student government, residence hall councils, Greek organizations, student clubs, and so much more. In addition, students have the chance to represent the voices of their peers through employment or volunteer positions involved in the governance and operations of the University.

The opportunities to become a representative leader at the University of Washington are broad in scope, commitment, and level of required experience. The following list offers information on some but by no means all of the chances you have to engage in the shared governance of this campus.

Leadership Training and Employment

Even if someone has a natural charisma and talent with people, their ability to actually influence others and achieve meaningful change is a skill that is developed over time. Whether you have been involved in leadership in the past, or want to learn more, leadership training and employment are excellent opportunities to expand your skill-set as a leader. Through the opportunities listed below, you will have a chance to explore your own leadership approach, acquire professional training, and have an opportunity to practice your skills.

Academic Leadership

While leadership is often associated with activities that take place on-campus or in the community, people often overlook the significance of leadership in the classroom. The academic environment gives you the chance to take the lead on labs or group projects, take a course with a focus on leadership, or engage in research and exploration. On a larger scale, you can join the board of your student association or facilitate your own class on campus. The academic leadership opportunities listed below are by no means extensive, and we encourage you to look to your department’s webpage for opportunities within your specific major or program.

Leadership Scholarships and Awards

Scholarships and awards, often financial, are an excellent opportunity for student leaders on campus to be recognized for their leadership experience. There are scholarships and awards for your leadership in work you have already accomplished, as well as the work you still want to achieve. The requirements for scholarships and awards vary. Below is a brief list of scholarships and awards, but we strongly suggest that you explore opportunities within your academic department and through the financial aid office to learn more.


Mentor relationships are a unique and powerful interaction between two people. As a mentor, you have an amazing opportunity to develop your leadership ability while you serve your mentee. As a mentee, you get the privilege of close personal attention from a mentor who has first-hand experience and knowledge in your area of interest. Gaining leadership experience through mentorship often means serving as a mentor, that is unless your focus as a mentee is learning about being a leader. Whatever side of the mentorship relationship you chose to be on, it is an excellent opportunity to expand upon your knowledge and skills. Mentorship opportunities on campus come in many shapes, sizes and levels of commitment. Check out the list below for some of the ways you can engage in mentorship.

Jennifer Pope

Activities Adviser Jennifer Pope

Program Contact: Jennifer Pope

Email | 206-543-2380