Leadership Development Programs & Experiences

Leadership development is a primary focus of the Student Leadership and Involvement Office. We offer leadership development on a variety of levels, whether it is a one-time experience like Leadership and Sailing, or a full program experience like The Journey.

The Journey Leadership Program

The Journey is a four-year comprehensive leadership experience built on the cornerstones of Involvement, Service, Career Exploration, and Leadership. The program is designed to develop students’ leadership skills throughout their collegiate career at Suffolk University.

Students experience all aspects of the cornerstones as they begin the “Journey” in their first year. In the years that follow they are encouraged to focus on the activities about which they are the most passionate. At the end of each academic year they are invited to attend the The Journey Leadership Awards Dinner, where we highlight the year’s leadership programs, honor the students who participated in The Journey, and recognize the offices that contributed to the program.

Each cornerstone has a variety of experiences:


Emerging Leaders Program, Ram Academy Leader, Leadership Winter Break, Leadership Exchange, Global Leadership Exchange, DC Leadership Exchange, Leadership Through Sailing, Leadership through Racing, LeaderCHEF, LeadHERship, SGA Fall Retreat participation, Student Organization Executive Board Member, Student Organization Committee Member, Conference Attendance, LEAP Participant, Safe Zone Training/Trainer, Multicultural Summit, PAO Leadership Summit, PAO Director, Teaching Assistant, Resident Assistant, Athletic Team Captain


Student Organization Member, Performing Arts Production Cast/Crew, Student Athlete, Intramural Participation, Scholar/Honor Society, Work-Study, Peer Mentor, Orientation Leader, Major Campus Event Attendance

Career Exploration

Independent Study, Career Services Event/Workshop, Internship, Etiquette Dinner, Career Development Center Sponsored Fair, Study Abroad


Community Service, Alternative Spring Break, Service Project Leader, Alternative Winter Break, Service Learning Classes, Service Day, Jumpstart, Connections to a College Mentor


To learn how you can participate in The Journey, please email thejourney@suffolk.edu, call our office at 617-573-8320. Or just stop by the Student Leadership & Involvement Office in Room 320 of the Sawyer Building.

Other Leadership Programs

The F1 Racing event is team-building session in which students learn to work as teams while having a unique and memorable experience. Students work group challenges to learn about group dynamics and best practices of teamwork. The program includes a pit-stop team challenge and endurance race. Students compete on the track together and work in pit crews.

Students who participate in the Leadership through F1 Racing will:

  • Establish relationships with student leaders on campus
  • Increase their understanding of what is required to participate in high-performing teams
  • Gain knowledge about the importance of having a vision for a team to work towards a common goal
  • Learn the importance of communication when working on a team
  • Understand the issues and concepts of leadership while analyzing and reflecting on leadership experiences
  • Learn how they can apply what they have learned in the classroom, their personal lives and as student leaders

LeadHERship is a women’s leadership dinner at which female students, alumni, faculty, and administration come together to enjoy a three-course meal, network, and foster mentor-mentee relationships. This event helps students make connections with prominent Suffolk administrators and alumni, and find finding internships and jobs that are of interest to them.

Students who participate in the leadHERship program will:

  • Make connections with prominent women leaders on campus and alumnae
  • Identify their personal leadership style and ways in which they are affected or enhanced by gender
  • Learn to take advantage of a network of other women in the campus community
  • Learn skills in networking and building professional relationships
  • Learn how they can apply what they have learned in the classroom, their personal lives and as student leaders

The concept of Help Portrait is simple: find someone in need, take their portrait, print them out, and deliver the photos. Students go into an underprivileged community center or school and make kids feel special by doing their hair, nails, etc. They then take photos of the children, develop and print the pictures, then present the kids’ parents or guardians with the photos. A photo is worth more than just a thousand words—it can be a thousand smiles. But most of all, it can be hope.

Students who participate in the Help Portrait will:

  • Exhibit a commitment to social justice
  • Demonstrate a commitment to involvement in his or her community
  • Help the community partner meet its mission
  • Promote the exchange of resources between the university and community partner
  • Help create a positive change on the community members the partner serves
  • Reflect on service as a component of active citizenship, community engagement, and social responsibility
  • Identify individual actions that contribute to short-term well-being and/or greater long-term societal well-being.
  • Describe and analyze the social issues relevant to the community organization
  • Learn how they can apply what they have learned in the classroom, their personal lives and as a student leader

The Leadership Through Sailing program is a two-day program that gives students the chance to sail in the historical Boston Harbor. On day one, students learn how to work together as a team to operate a C&C 34 sailboat. Then on day two, each team will come back together to race against the other Suffolk boats in a Journey Regatta to really put their teamwork to the test.

Students who participate in Leadership Through Sailing will:

  • Meet other students and become more connected with their peers
  • Have a hands-on experience to develop individual leadership skills
  • Learn how to work effectively as a team
  • Focus on effective communication skills
  • Gain an understanding of Tuckerman’s model of Group Dynamics
  • Learn proven leadership strategies for working with others in challenging situations onboard a sailboat
  • Learn how they can apply what they have learned in the classroom, their personal lives, and as student leaders

LeaderChef is a culturally immersive luncheon for students interested in learning about a new culture through food. Students have learned about countries such as Morocco, China, India, Mexico, and many more, all while enjoying a traditional meal of that country. The program usually features a speaker who is from or who knows much about the chosen country and can teach students the facts about the country’s food and eating habits.

Students who participate in LeaderChef will:

  • Engage in a culturally immersive program designed to educate
  • Learn about the food an eating habits and styles in other countries
  • Enjoy a meal with a member of a different country’s community

Dancing with the Stahs is a student and faculty remix of ABC’s hit dance competition “Dancing with the Stars.” Student and faculty volunteers are paired up with student choreographers and taught a dance that they then perform at our big showcase in April. There are judges, hosts, and fierce competition! The Journey program also hosts a silent auction during this event and raises money for different programs that we host throughout the year.

Students who participate in Dancing with the Stahs will:

  • Learn a new style of dance with a new faculty friend
  • Make connections with other students and faculty
  • Learn through dance how to be a leader as well as gain confidence to showcase their work

Signature Experiences

Students who participate in the Ram Academy Retreat will:

  • Learn about leadership concepts and theories and be able to apply these concepts and theories to their lives
  • Engage in critical thinking about leadership through activities and discussions
  • Explore what it means to create a diverse and inclusive community
  • Learn how to be an effective group member by engaging in small-group learning activities
  • Learn about involvement opportunities and resources at Suffolk
  • Develop significant relationships with peers and facilitators
  • Learn how they can apply what they have learned in the classroom, in their personal live, and as a student leader

Suffolk University (Boston, MA), Augustana College (Rock Island, IL) and Maryville University (St. Louis, MO) have teamed up to develop a cohort-based experiential leadership program that explores and develops the skills of various student leader positions on campus. The three cohorts of students converge on Washington, DC and use our nation’s capital as the site for an immersion experience. Students visit national monuments and learn about leaders of the past and their leadership styles; for example, how Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. were both transformational leaders. Participants also engage with current political and civic leaders in the DC area. This four-day program not only builds relationships with students other institutions, but also gives them an understanding of leadership styles and best practices.

Students who participate in the Washington, DC Leadership Exchange will:

  • Become familiar with and reflect on the leadership styles and theories embraced by national heroes
  • Embrace leadership as responsibility, a privilege, a vocation, and a right
  • Build relationships with students from other institutions
  • Think critically about their organizational structure and impact on campus
  • Think critically about their individual role and how to effectively communicate with others
  • Clarify and assess individual leadership values and personal and professional values related to leadership and character
  • Develop a better understanding of their own character and leadership style
  • Learn how to effectively work within a team in an autonomous environment
  • Learn how they can apply what they have learned in the classroom, their personal lives and as student leaders

Leadership Winter Break is the level-three signature event that is divided into two sections. During the first part, students travel to Crystal River, Florida to swim with and learn about manatees. The idea of "Kind Play" is taught and executed when interacting with the manatees. For the second portion of the trip, students are given the opportunity to learn about the Disney leadership philosophy and management style. Students learn about how leadership works in an environment outside of the Suffolk community. Disney Cast Members facilitate three different leadership modules.

Students who participate in the Leadership Winter Break will:

  • Examine the challenging concepts of power, influence, and ethics
  • Realize that leadership affects every aspect of business and that everyone has the opportunity to exhibit leadership traits and behaviors
  • Understand the various meanings of social groups, the general implications of group membership, and the different ways that groups function
  • Comprehend conflict, cooperation, and interdependence between individuals, groups and institutions
  • Effectively use mental processes to identify similarities and differences
  • Learn how effective leaders overcome barriers and challenges to achieve business results
  • Reinforce a healthy self-image by contributing to the overall efforts of a group
  • Learn how they can apply what they have learned in the classroom, their personal lives, and as student leaders

The Aiken Leadership exchange is the level-four signature experience that pairs cohorts of students from two universities—Suffolk University and the University of South Carolina, Aiken—and engages them in citizen-centered initiatives, both in person and virtually. The program connects students with leaders from the non-profit community, as well as with the political, business, and health care sectors. Here, the aim is to facilitate a greater understanding of a social issue and to create a project focused on contributing to long-term culture change, a hallmark of the citizen-centered philosophy. The program is supplemented with leadership training to build a student’s capacity to understand and contribute to sustained positive change. Upon completion of the program, student groups will develop a plan to address the social issue experienced in each community. Suffolk students travel to South Carolina in February and University of South Carolina students come to Boston in April.

The Global Leadership Exchange allows students, especially those who might not otherwise have an opportunity, to have an international experience while at Suffolk University. This six-day program will engage student leaders is discussion with other college students in Barbados, incorporate visits to institutions of higher education in Barbados, and present rich the culture and history of the island. In addition to networking opportunities with other student leaders, the program will focus on the history behind Barbados gaining its independence and freedom from slavery.

Students who participate in the Global Leadership Program (Barbados) will:

  • Learn about the history and culture of Barbados with a focus on Barbados’ gaining its independence and freedom from slavery
  • Learn about the higher education system of Barbados and engage with other student leaders on the college campuses in Barbados
  • Learn about the Barbadian government and some of the challenges the country is facing
  • Learn how they can apply what they have learned in the classroom, their personal lives and as student leaders

Leadership and Sailing Program at Suffolk University

00:00 you ready oh yeah let's go
00:17 it's run through the journey their
00:19 leadership exploration club every time
00:22 that we go with the journey there's
00:23 always some kind of like hidden lesson
00:26 okay let's go back into the middle of
00:28 the harbor one of the things that it
00:30 will definitely teach me is how will I
00:32 work on a team and there's going to be
00:33 like you know on-the-fly decisions that
00:35 need to be made and how we're going to
00:36 do that as a team vena cava it's been a
00:40 great experience I like to challenge
00:42 myself just being exposed to different
00:44 things just let me know what I'm capable
00:46 of doing Suffolk has changed my life in
00:49 many ways academically professionally
00:51 they've given it's just taught me a lot
00:53 about myself I hope to build on my
00:56 leadership more and see how is it I'm
00:58 pretty she'll do great
01:08 you