Being able to experience the Ruck Leadership Institute was the most significant experience I have had during my time in SigEp. I am grateful for being one of the 650 applicants selected to attend the institute at the University of Richmond where SigEp was founded 117 years ago. In the shadows of our founders, I was challenged daily through many interactive breakout sessions focusing on identifying both strengths and weaknesses in leadership. This was paired with the results of the Student Leadership Practices Inventory, a 30-question survey completed by yourself and peers before attending. This questionnaire focuses on the five practices of exemplary leadership: Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vison, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart. By outlining these five specific areas, the results approach leadership as a measurable, learnable, and teachable set of behaviors. Viewing leadership this way is a fantastic challenge and rationalizes your abilities by giving you areas of excellence and shortcoming. By the completion of the week, I was able to walk away with a greater understanding of my personal leadership style and how to implement it into my role as a leader. My success over the five days can also be attributed to the knowledge and skills of my facilitators Jason McGill and Greg Pestinger, combined with the support and energy of our small group. Jason and Greg were able to share first-hand leadership experiences and applied them to the teachings throughout the week. I was continuously engaged in the meaningful conversations that took place in our breakout sessions and was inspired to share my personal leadership experiences and how they have shaped me thus far in my leadership journey.
In addition to our small group sessions, we also partook in many other activities on campus, including the ropes course, a sound body workout with Frank Butterfield, a conversation about the negative impacts of hazing, ultimate frisbee, and the Journey of Innovation with Steve Shanklin. Although all of these activities were beneficial in their own way, I believe the Journey of Innovation was the most impactful aspect of the institute. Mr. Shanklin took us on a vivid walking journey around campus, explaining to us how SigEp was founded, and the immense obstacles that stood in the way of the founders. It was intriguing to listen to the many stories and moments in SigEp’s history that formulated our organization today and how we have evolved to become one of the most inclusive and diverse organizations on college campuses across the nation. Mr. Shanklin also described how SigEp has always looked towards the future to change the landscape of the Greek world and lay the foundation for others to follow. For instance, removing the pledging process from our organization and creating the Balanced Man Program to enrich new members with practical skills and knowledge as a supplement to their collegiate experiences. Being a member of an organization such as SigEp is very humbling, and during my time on the walking tour, I realized the role I play in the forward progression of our organization. I hope to instill in others the inspirational stories of SigEp and how impactful it can be in the development of one’s life.
Ruck also allowed me to understand myself more as an individual and focus on areas where I can improve in my life. As part of the Balanced Man Program, I am challenged to not only find balance in my life but to continue to seek improvement. Being able to focus on my weak areas and set an action plan up to improve them was very inspiring, and I am determined to become a more well-rounded individual as I continue my journey through life. It was reassuring to see others around me, seeking more knowledge to become better individuals throughout the week. Being surrounded by others that push you to become the best version of yourself is an inspirational experience and one that I was lucky to have during my time at the Ruck Leadership Institute.
Overall, my time at the Ruck Leadership Institute was inspirational and was able to give me a clear picture of myself from a leadership standpoint. For those eligible to attend the institute in the future, I would highly encourage you to participate if you are given a chance. Being challenged to improve is what inspires me to work hard, and I believe it is one of the best ways you learn throughout your lifetime. Ruck will give you these challenges and leave you with life-changing experiences. I am grateful for the opportunities SigEp has granted me and will continue to say that joining SigEp has been one of the greatest decisions of my life.
Brother Nicolas Quarberg