Leadership at UW comes from all corners of the campus and looks differently for each student. Check out why and how to gain leadership experience.

Opportunities to take the Lead

Registered Student Organizations (RSOs)

Participation in an RSO is a great way for students to find their passion, work with others, develop projects and events, and add to their skill sets. It is also one of the most accessible ways to take what’s learned in the classroom and apply it in a live setting.

With over 800 RSOs registering annually there are no shortage of opportunities. Also, students may start a new club for any new interest, specialty, or academic programs that don’t already exist. Joining an RSO is easy, we suggest searching the RSO Community and contact the group admins listed. Additionally, check out the purple tents all around campus with students tabling under them, they represent their RSO and they want YOU! Go say hello and see what they are up to.

RSOs interested in attending an information session about leadership on campus may sign up by emailing sao@uw.edu.

Student Government

Undergraduate: The Associated Students of the University of Washington (ASUW) is the undergraduate student government and it is full of jobs and volunteer opportunities. The ASUW offers students the change to become radio DJs, elections officials, event programmers, student activists, and so much more.

Graduate: The Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS) is the official student government for graduate and professional students. GPSS provides an opportunity to organize and have students’ voices heard in UW decision-making. It also provides students with resources to support and add to their overall collegiate experience.

No matter the role students take in student government, bike mechanic or senator, activist or programmer, any participation shapes the culture and experience for students across campus. Become an engaged member of UW by joining ASUW or GPSS.

Husky Leadership Initiative

The Student Activities Office is an active player in the Husky Leadership Initiative (HLI), an effort on campus to further the conversation of leadership in the 21st century. HLI hosts programs and events to expand the concept of leadership and help students understand who they are, and their talents, as leaders.

Campus Leadership Opportunities

The following information seeks to provide a central resource for leadership opportunities of all kinds at the University of Washington, such as paid leadership positions, academic credit earning and scholarship leadership opportunities, volunteering, teaching and mentoring possibilities, and elected leadership positions. All opportunities are positive ways for UW students to develop as a leader while contributing to the community.

Leadership Opportunities

Paid Leadership Positions

Employment Opportunities Descriptions
ASUW: Job Listing The Associated Students of the University of Washington is a non-profit organization that serves as the student government at the University of Washington. The structure of the ASUW is a complex composition of 25 units, including entities, enterprises, commissions, programs, and committees. Operating with a budget of approximately one million dollars, 72 employees and over 500 volunteers work to serve students and improve student life.
Career Center: Husky Jobs Multiple positions available
Career Center: Peer Advisor Help students who visit The Career Center achieve career success by providing one-to-one resume advising, facilitating practice interviews, leading workshops, and assisting with a career development course. Increase the Center’s visibility and impact on campus by speaking to student groups, creating new presentations, and completing projects with Center staff members.
Ethnic Cultural Center: Job Listing Multiple positions available
First Year Programs: Student Coordinator The Student Coordinator in the Office of First Year Programs (FYP) functions administratively and programmatically in support of all transitional programs for which the office is responsible. These programs include Advising and Orientation, Parent Orientation, Freshman Interest Groups, Transfer Interest Groups, Dawg Daze, Outdoor Adventures, and Husky Adventures.
First Year Programs: Orientation Leader Orientation Leaders (OLs) assist incoming freshmen, transfer students, and their families in their transition to the University of Washington. OLs play a vital role in the Advising & Orientation program. They work closely with new students and their families on a wide variety of topics including academics, student involvement, housing options, and more.
Housing and Food Services: Resident Assistant RAs serve an important role that helps HFS provide welcoming, inclusive, safe, respectful, academically supportive and fun residential communities.
HUB: Job Listing The HUB values and supports student development at all levels especially through its employment opportunities within all HUB units and services. HUB student employees are an integral part of ensuring a positive HUB experience for students, staff, and visitors of the HUB.

Leadership for Academic Credit

Academic Leadership Opportunities Details
Carlson Center: General Studies 350 To register for the General Studies 350 course, students need to independently secure an internship. The vast majority of internship positions can qualify for GEN ST 350, since the course relies more heavily on the completion of an academic project than the internship itself. Should you need assistance in locating an internship, please consult the Carlson Center’s public service internship resources or contact the UW Career Center for information concerning internships in the private sector.
First Year Programs: Freshman Interest Groups (FIGs) FIGs are peer-guided clusters of courses that small groups of students take together during their first quarter at the UW. For more than 27 years, FIGs have helped students get connected quickly while fulfilling General Education requirements in some of the University’s most popular courses.
First Year Programs: Transfer Interest Groups (TrIGs) Similar to FIGs this is a peer-guided cluster of courses for transfer students.
Foster: Business and Economic Development Center The Consulting and Business Development Center is a learning laboratory that gives students real-world consulting experience they can use to jumpstart their careers and grow businesses in underserved communities.
Foster: Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship The Buerk Center promotes entrepreneurship to students across the University of Washington campus and beyond. Our students become leaders who challenge the status quo and change the way business is done.
Social Work: Intergroup Dialogue, Education and Action – IDEA Dedicated to recognizing differences and building alliances aimed at personal and social change, the IDEA Center integrates the practice and pedagogy of intergroup dialogue with social work practitioner education. The center also supports campus and community efforts that address oppression, empowerment and social justice.
Undergraduate Research Program Multiple positions with different departments available

Scholarships for Leadership

Awards for Work Completed Description
Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards Multiple scholarships available
Carlson Center: Carlson Student Leadership Award Named for one of Seattle’s foremost civic leaders, the Edward E. Carlson Student Leadership Award recognizes individual students who have demonstrated a strong commitment to public service, provided outstanding leadership in the community, and who are committed to continued creative civic participation. The Carlson Student Leadership Award recipient will receive $2500 and be honored at the annual Spring Celebration.
Carlson Center: Spring Celebration of Service and Leadership The Spring Celebration of Service and Leadership is a yearly event that provides students across the UW Seattle campus with the opportunity to showcase the many ways they are engaging in leadership and service inside and outside of the classroom.
This event, which is comprised of student gallery presentations, student-led breakout sessions and a formal reception, serves as a convocation for students, faculty, staff and community partners to come together and discuss what it means to serve and lead in their community.
HUB and RSO Awards The HUB and RSO Awards are made up of four awards – Husky Impact, Husky Tradition, Husky Empowerment, and Adviser of the Year. Awarded annually, each award comes with a $500 RSO Programming Grant and are recognized alongside the HUB Hall of Fame.
Awards to Support Future Endeavors Description
Mary Gates: Leadership Scholarship Mary Gates Leadership Scholarships encourage undergraduate students to develop their leadership abilities through practical experience, personal reflection and in community with mentors and peers. With the support of a Leadership Scholarship, you can devote more time to pursuing an activity or project that interests you and that will allow you to expand your leadership capacity. In the application process, we ask you to articulate your own understandings of leadership, what you want to learn, and how you think the activity you have chosen will support your learning goals.
Mary Gates: Research Scholarship Mary Gates Research Scholarships are competitive scholarships intended to enhance the educational experiences of undergraduate students at the University of Washington while they are engaged in research guided by faculty. We hope that with research scholarships, students may focus more attention and time, deepening their inquiry into a discipline or project with a reduced financial burden.
Mary Gates: Venture Scholarship Venture Scholarships enable outstanding UW undergraduates to concentrate on developing an original project over a six- to twelve-month period. Venture scholars can be working in any discipline, and must be initially nominated by a UW faculty member. Undergraduates in excellent academic standing who have a well-defined project idea are eligible to be nominated. Venture projects should be innovative and creative in nature, may involve a product or new application, and may rely on faculty or community mentors for initial guidance.
Carlson Center: Ellis Civic Fellowship Designed for incoming students, the Robert Lee Ellis Civic Fellowships offer financial, academic, and advising support to students throughout their 4-year undergraduate experience at the University of Washington. Ellis Fellows are selected from among incoming students each Autumn Quarter from those who are eager to make a commitment toward service, personal growth, and community engagement.
Carlson Center: Civic Fellows The Carlson Civic Fellowship is a two-quarter community-based leadership development program for undergraduate students at the UW. It is designed to develop civically-minded community leaders who are dedicated, and equipped with abilities, to pursue social change.
Three students are awarded Fellowship positions each year. The Carlson Center partners with community-based organizations to design project-based, leadership development opportunities for these students; opportunities that enable them to grow as professionals and leaders, while making valuable contributions to their partners.
Carlson Center: Jackson Munro Public Service Fellowship The Jackson Munro Public Service Fellowship (formerly the Sterling and Gene Munro Public Service Fellowship) encourages life-long commitment to public service by providing outstanding undergraduates with the opportunity to explore their potential through service and leadership in the community.

Volunteering (Service) Leadership

Association Description Time Commitment
ASUW Volunteers ASUW Office of Volunteer Opportunities – a website that shows all available volunteer opportunities and resources needed to start ASUW volunteering experience. One time event – to quarterly commitment
Alternative Spring Break Teams of students spend their spring break in a rural or tribal community of Washington State working with local elementary and middle schools on literacy arts and environmental science projects. 5-7 days
Carlson Leadership & Public Service Center The focus of the Carlson Center has been on service learning, working with faculty and students to develop meaningful academic connections with the community. Public service internships and volunteer opportunities are also at the core of the Carlson Center’s work. Develops service-learning, community-based participatory research, and leadership opportunities for UW students. 20-40 hour minimum commitment for over the course of the 10 week quarter
Dawg Daze Leaders Dawg Daze leaders develop programming and logistical support for all Welcome Week events, and act as UW ambassadors to ensure that the week is a memorable and enjoyable experience for all participants. Volunteer leaders can expect at least a 15-hour volunteer commitment during the week before the start of Autumn Quarter
Health Educators Leadership Program Be an ally in promoting, education, and empowering healthy choices. Reaching out to peers with resources, information, and support. Commit approximately 2-3 hours a week
SARIS & Green Dot The aim of Green Dot is to prevent and reduce power-based violence at UW by engaging students as active bystanders who step in, speak up, and interrupt potential acts of violence. The Green Dot movement is about gaining a critical mass of students, staff and faculty who are willing to do their small part to actively and visibly reduce power-based personal violence at UW. Attend a quarterly Green Dot Bystander Training. The training is free, catered, and great for resumes.
Women’s Center The Women’s Center promotes a safe environment by providing campus and community members with supportive educational programs, workshops, and events to raise awareness of gender biases. One time event – to quarterly commitment
Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Volunteer to make a difference at local nonprofit organizations throughout the city. 1 day event

Mentoring/Teaching Leadership

Association Description Time Commitment
Dream Project The Dream Project provides support to 16 local high schools in Seattle’s King county, throughout the academic year with additional events offered in the summer. Minimum of approximately 4-6 hours per week (per quarter).
DO-IT: Mentoring and Peer Support for People with Disabilities The DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) electronic mentoring community provides an opportunity for students with disabilities to communicate via email and during program activities with mentors and other students with disabilities. Your role as a DO-IT Mentor is a mix of friend and teacher. Your goal is to inspire and facilitate personal, academic, and career achievements in the DO-IT participants for whom you mentor. These protégés are college-capable students with disabilities pursuing challenging academic and career fields. Frequent email communication combined with personal contact – though time commitment is up to mentor.
OMA&D: Mentor Power for Success UW Sophomores, Juniors, and continuing Seniors with a minimum 2.8 cumulative GPA, can apply to serve as student mentors for Autumn Quarter! You can make an important difference by volunteering. As a student mentor, you will be paired with an incoming OMA&D freshman or transfer student and help them adjust to the rigors of college life in a fun and personal way. Autumn Quarter (September – December). With weekly check-ins via email or in person.
Q Center: Queer Mentoring Program The Q center is connecting UW students (mentees) who are exploring their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression with queer UW students, staff, faculty, and alumni (mentors) who have been there, can relate to, and have tips for living a happy and fulfilling life. Meet every other week.
Public Relations Student Society of America: Mentor Program As members of PRSSA, you can benefit from receiving help from professionals in the Puget Sound Chapter of PRSA. As part of the professional PR community, they have volunteered their own time as a mentor for qualifying PRSSA students. Each PRSSA member has the opportunity to be matched with a professional, who will be available for one to two hour mentoring sessions a month. Depending on the experience of the student, mentoring sessions vary. Contact mentor at least once a week for a follow up via email or in person.
Undergraduate Women in Business: Mentorship Program Undergraduate Women in Business offers its members a unique way to connect with others within the club based on personal goals and interests through the UWiB Buddy Program. This program is a fun, informal way to meet other club members and network within your undergraduate community. Times can vary
University Honors Program: Honors Peer Meeting Peer Mentors play an important role in the Honors Program by sharing their experiences and helping students of all ages and majors make decisions throughout their undergraduate careers. As an Honors Peer Mentor, you’ll be contacted by prospective and current Honors students who have questions about the University experience as well as your experiences in the Honors Program. Students will have access to your expertise and personal advice for a wide variety of subjects.
As a Peer Mentor, you will not need prior advising or mentoring experience, just experience as an Honors student at the UW. The point of the program is to offer your perspective as a student to someone who will soon be in the same position, or is considering their options, or who already feels confident in their educational goals and just wants some friendly advice. Peer Mentoring can be a small commitment or a much larger one depending on your involvement and the number of students who choose to seek you out.
Times can vary

Representative (Elected) Leadership Opportunities

Association Description Time Commitment
ASUW Senate Its purpose is to increase democratic access to the Association and to provide a broad-based student forum for discussion of salient issues. What was once a gathering of just over 30 students has, over a decade, blossomed into a legislative body of over 150 senators representing a diverse array of interests on (and off) campus. One quarter. To become and remain on the Senate at the end of every quarter one must obtain 10 constituents.
Interfraternity Council
Panhellenic Council
The Panhellenic and IFC Executive Boards are the governing councils of the eighteen women’s sororities and thirty-two Fraternities at the University of Washington and represent these organizations, all working together to further develop and enrich our Greek Community. The executive council is responsible for planning all Greek philanthropic events, hosting roundtable discussions and speakers on important campus issues, educating members about policies and procedures, and overseeing recruitment. Our council’s three main goals are: to challenge ourselves to promote values-based living, to create transparency through clear and frequent communication, and to cultivate relationships with UW Student Life and utilize campus resources to advance individual and chapter development. Executive committees are reelected once a year.
Residential Community Student Association The Residential Community Student Association is the representative student body for students living in the residential communities at the UW. We meet weekly during the academic year and rotate our meetings between the Alder Commons Auditorium and McCarty Hall A/B meeting room. Applications accepted each quarter
Residence Hall Peer Review Board The PRB, composed of student representatives from the UW residence halls and apartment communities provides residents with the opportunity to become actively involved in the Residential Life conduct process. The purpose of the PRB is to adjudicate alleged violations of the 9-Month Housing Agreement, 12-Month Apartment Agreement and Family Housing Agreement as well as to determine appropriate assignments for residents found responsible for any Agreement violation(s). Year long term. Applications due in October.
National Pan-Hellenic Council The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) is the cooperative governing body of the traditionally African American fraternities and sororities, also known as the Devine Nine, at UW. Applications accepted each quarter
UW Student Regent The UW Board of Regents is the University’s governing body whose broad responsibilities are to supervise, coordinate, manage and regulate the University, as provided by state statute. The Board of Regents consists of ten members, one of whom is a student. The Student Regent represents the varying perspectives of students at the university – both undergraduate and graduate students, as well as students at the Bothell, Seattle, and Tacoma campuses. Student regent is appointed by the governor to serve for one year from June to June.

Attributes of a Leader

The Husky Leadership Initiative has identified areas of knowledge, attitude, skill, and behavior which effective 21st century leaders possess. All students are encouraged to review the following information and traits to consider areas of strength and possible improvement.

Knowledge

  • Self-awareness of personal leadership styles, strengths, weaknesses, stressors, and emotional and physiological reaction to stress
  • Understanding of personal values, motivations, passions, purpose, and ethics, which guide ones behaviors
  • Self-defined understanding of leadership and ability to identify where one is as a leader in the context of their own definition
  • Understanding of leadership theory which allows one to analyze their leadership efforts objectively

Attitude

  • High expectations for self and others
  • Willingness to take risks
  • Work ethic that allows one to accomplish goals while maintaining personal health and wellness
  • Willingness to examine one’s social location and that locations influence on one’s engagement
  • Confidence as a foundation for the involvement in leadership and the ability to persevere in the face of obstacles and failures
  • Embody care, empathy, and sense of responsibility for the well-being of all people
  • Committed to the equity of all people (social justice)
  • Values and seeks out the inclusion of diverse people, perspectives, and ideas in the process of leadership
  • Zest or passion for life

Skills

Four areas of skills have been identified and grouped into the following capacities:

IntrapersonalInterpersonalOrganizationalProfessional

The skills necessary to have strong self-awareness and ability to manage oneself:

  • Communicate effectively both verbally and in writing
  • Active and effective listening
  • Able to make persuasive arguments for ideas
  • Able to manage people, delegate tasks, trust in others, identify the strengths and weaknesses of others
  • Able to demonstrate empathy and respect for others
  • Utilize the communication and decision making skills necessary to resolve conflicts
  • Understand ethical practices and be able to make ethical decisions

The skills necessary to work effectively with others:

  • Communicate effectively both verbally and in writing
  • Active and effective listening
  • Able to make persuasive arguments for ideas
  • Able to manage people, delegate tasks, trust in others, identify the strengths and weaknesses of others
  • Able to demonstrate empathy and respect for others
  • Utilize the communication and decision making skills necessary to resolve conflicts
  • Understand ethical practices and be able to make ethical decisions

The skills necessary accomplish goals while working with others:

  • Able to conceptualize and organize ideas in order to actualize programs, events, projects, etc.
  • Able to implement and execute ideas, program, events, projects, etc.
  • Effectively and efficiently manage resources
  • Able to build community and bring people together
  • Able to assess the strengths and weakness of team
  • Can identify potential in others
  • Understand one’s audience
  • Maintain the balance between big picture items and tasks necessary to achieve goals
  • Be a productive and engaged follower
  • Able to adapt
  • Able to collaborate with others

The skills important to the longevity of one’s own leadership practice as well as the longevity of one’s organization after they depart:

  • Develop a network of support for self and for one’s organization
  • Develop relationships with mentors
  • Productively mentor others

Behavior

  • Identify opportunities to lead
  • Take initiative and action to engage in leadership in a variety of settings
  • Push oneself beyond their comfort zone
  • Demonstrate ethical and professional behaviors as a leader
  • Think clearly in times of ambiguity and navigates change effectively
  • Lead for the common good of others
  • Hold oneself accountable for both successes and failures
  • Display humility
  • Engage in a cycle of application, evaluation, and modification to their leadership practice

Stories from Recent Alumni

Check out these stories from student leaders regarding their involvement, the impact it has had on them and their suggestions for all students at UW.

Brandon Himes

Brandon Himes has been highly involved in the Associated Students of UW (ASUW) specifically with UW Leaders, and the ASUW Board of Directors as the Communications Director. As someone from a small town in Montana Brandon shares his experiences transitioning to UW, what he has gained from his involvement and some tips he has for other Huskies.

Matt Kolhede

Matt Kolhede, former General Manager and long time veteran of ASUW Rainy Dawg Radio, discusses his time with the station, involvement on campus, and how it all leads to a future in the music industry.

Monica Ng

Monica Ng was very active in the UW health community. Check out how her involvement transformed her college experience and built lasting relationships with important mentors.

Monica held leadership positions in the ASUW Student Health Consortium, the Undergraduate Student Public Health Association, Zeta Tau Alpha, and other student organizations. She is now working at the United Way of King County to provide access to food for low-income youth. She graduated in Fall of 2013. And yes, she does have a rabbit and it is very cute.

Ryan T

Ryan was highly active during his time at UW both in ASUW and in student registered organizations (RSOs). Hear more about his experience, its purpose, and how it has impacted Ryan’s future interests.

Through Ryan’s work in ASUW Arts and Entertainment he brought great performers to campus like Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Kendrick Lamar, Pickwick, Champagne Champagne, Fences, and more. As an organizer he helped R.E.T.R.O. Revolutionary Poets continue their campus tradition at Open Mic. Ryan is now in New York pursuing a career in the music and arts industry.