Leadership Programs

The Department of Student Programs and Leadership believes that all students can be a part of the RWU leadership community.  Leadership is defined by action, not position.  We strive to incorporate non-hierarchical and relational leadership philosophies into all of our programs, policies and advising. We believe that with leadership comes a responsibility to the community. 

Through active and collaborative learning experiences, students will develop leadership competencies that help them better understand themselves, their relationship with others, their responsibilities toward their communities, and prepare them for leadership within their careers and lives beyond RWU. 

All leadership development opportunities sponsored by the department will be geared toward developing students’ consensus building, collaboration, civic engagement and multicultural competencies, and will challenge issues of privilege. Based on this philosophy of leadership, the Social Change Model is the foundation of the department’s central leadership program: SOAR.  


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Register for the Anchor Student Leader Conference

Submit a program proposal for the Anchor Student Leader Conference


Previously known as Leadership University, this conference was resurrected in an attempt to help students ANCHOR their leadership skills in various principles of personal strength. It is SP&L’s hope that this is truly organic for those involved in this experience; we encourage student, faculty and staff submissions of workshops/educational sessions.

The conference planning committee (CPC) will be comprised of Roger Williams’ faculty and staff as well as students from the SOAR Leadership program. Students and educational session facilitators will discuss topics such as goal setting, communication skills, applying leadership in the world and so much more.

Track System

Throughout the conference, students will be challenged to question their own leadership styles, knowledge and capacity. The ANCHOR Conference Planning Committee has prescribed these tracks to categorize the students’ experience level based on involvement, innate leadership skills, and students’ prowess and curiosity.


Becoming educated about the theory of leadership development, self-awareness, and multiple viewpoints

  • Interested in the concept of “leadership”, unfamiliar with various leadership styles and models
  • New participant in the introductory activities of a club or organization
  • Still clarifying ones own identity, privilege and culture
  • Focused on “task oriented” duties and assignments rather than inclusive teambuilding, collaboration and strategic planning in a group or organization

RWU Involvement Possibilities: Intramurals, Work Study Positions, Organization/Club  committee member/ volunteer


Acting on education and utilizing personal power to formulate positive change through authentic behavior based on clarified values

  • Understanding of interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships
  • Has learned/learning the difference between passion and interests
  • Participates in activities that promote civic engagement
  • Seeks cultural competency through involvement with people different from oneself
  • Ability to actively experience and observe a thought, assumption or judgment than refers from immediately reacting or responding to the situation

RWU Involvement Possibilities: Varsity/Club Sport Athlete, Organization/Club Executive Board Member, Academic Tutor, Student Advocate, Resident Assistant


Capable of wholesystem awareness, ability to view and comprehend various viewpoints, and intentions are aligned with a higher purpose

  • Advocates for inclusive environments, accountability, and respect
  • Role models relationships with students, faculty and staff members, friends, and colleagues
  • Gives value to her/his peers by actively demonstrating others opinions matter
  • Understands the skill set of the membership and utilizes it effectively for engaging them in accomplishing the group’s goals

RWU Involvement Possibilities: Organization/Club Chair or President, Head Resident Assistant, Multi Year Org/Club Officer or Board Member, Varsity/Club Sport Team Captain, Manager, Internships

Core Competencies for Student Leaders

Social Responsibility: Student leaders must role model social responsibility at all times but especially when representing the college/university. On and off campus behaviors should match the values of the organization and institution leaders represent.

Multicultural Competency: Multicultural competency is developed through celebration of diverse cultures, advocacy for the needs and identities of all members within the community, recognition of the diverse communities within the campus community and beyond, education and awareness of the concerns of those diverse communities, and support of the ongoing inclusion, understanding and dignity of all members within and beyond the campus community. Being able to understand one’s own identity, as well as recognizing the similarities and differences of others, will equip students to serve and lead as citizens in a global society.

Meaningful Interpersonal Relationships: Establishing meaningful interpersonal relationships are critical for successful leadership in campus activities. Student leaders often rely on committee volunteers to carry out the essential tasks related to providing programs and services. The work of campus activities is often supported by several on and off-campus constituencies. Professionalism, diplomacy and recognizing the support of others will enhance organizational effectiveness.

This competency is supported by Effective Communication & Collaboration.

Leadership Development: Leadership involves a broad spectrum of skills and character qualities. Student leaders involved in campus activities must understand that their role is to be a positive change agent, to influence others and create a vision. Leadership is a process rather than a position. Leadership is relationship oriented and situational in nature.

Additional Competency:

Healthy Behavior & Satisfying Lifestyles with many focuses including balance and spiritual awareness.

Core competencies adapted from the National Association of Campus Activities

Low Ropes Course

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What is a Low Ropes course?

A low ropes course is an outdoor experience; members who participate in the course will traverse different “elements”, or activities that may include ropes, balance beams and tight wires. Traditionally, courses are set up in a wooded area in order to utilize the natural surroundings to create the course. Groups will work together in order to solve scenarios involving the elements, as prescribed to them by their course facilitator.

Roger Williams University Ropes Course

Built in 2009 and designed by High 5 Adventure Learning Center, our course is located on the north end of campus. Student Programs & Leadership organizes and hosts leadership development training on our low-ropes course for students, faculty and staff. Each year our RWU facilitators go through training designed by High 5 Adventure in order to better improve the experience on our ropes course

The Experience

When we bring participants to the RWU low ropes course we want them to be fully immersed in the experiential education experience. We find that the ropes course experience provides an opportunity to practice leadership skills in “live” situations. We provide individuals with the opportunity to engage in activities and then reflect upon his/her experience. Participants are faced with challenges, without any specific directions as how to go about determining a solution. Participating on the RWU ropes course emphasizes the opportunity for a better understanding of oneself and his/her place within a team dynamic.