Washburn Leadership Institute Simulates Leadership Challenge


Twenty-seven teams consisting of 135 students from the region and beyond will be attending the Fourth annual Leadership Challenge Event.

The two-day event is coordinated by the Washburn Leadership Institute and puts teams of five in real-world leadership roles. Students will experience two days of unexpected twists and turns and will be judged on their response, collaboration, decision making and other leadership skills.

The students won’t know what the theme of the event is, until they get to the event.

“It helps students really realize what potential they have, I mean many of these high school and college students don’t recognize until they’re really pushed to the brink, what they’re truly capable of,” said Gleason.

More than 100 Washburn students volunteer to help out during the event.

Thursday, April 3rd orientation events will start at 1 p.m. in Henderson 100 on Washburn’s campus. A banquet at 6:30 p.m. in the Washburn Room of the Memorial Union will kick off the entire event. Friday’s session will be held at the Capitol Plaza Hotel where students will meet with their teams and begin the simulated event. 

“There will be a winner announced at the end of the day, one for the college division and one for the high school division,” said Gleason. “In addition we will have awards for communication and collaboration in each of those divisions.”

The high school team that wins will receive a scholarship to Washburn University.

Gleason says he thinks this event is a great opportunity for the high school and college students to experience Washburn.

“I think it really communicates the message that leadership development within the Topeka and Shawnee County area because we have so many volunteers and so many sponsors,” said Gleason. “I think when we look at the development of the community, these are the students that we really want to attend Washburn and be permanent members of the community.”

Below is a list of participating schools.

Participating Teams:

High Schools (20)

  • Louisburg High School
  • Topeka High School
  • Wichita West High School
  • Educational Credit Union team
  • Wichita South High School
  • Topeka West High School
  • Wichita East High School
  • Wichita North High School
  • Shawnee Heights High School
  • Wichita Heights High School
  • Marian High School
  • Wichita Northwest High School
  • Hayden High School
  • Northeast Magnet High School
  • Wichita Southeast High School
  • Salina South High School
  • Washburn Rural High School
  • Rossville High School
  • Seaman High School

Colleges (7)

  • Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Tabor College
  • Fort Hays State University
  • Southwestern College 1
  • Southwestern College 2
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Metropolitan – Longview


136 volunteers from campus and the community


  • Title Event Sponsor – Capitol Federal Foundation
  • College Division Sponsor – Westar Energy

Team sponsors:

  • Advisors Excel
  • BA Designs
  • Berberich, Trahan and Co., PA
  • BNSF Railway
  • Capitol Federal Foundation
  • Educational Credit Union
  • GoTopeka EMBD
  • Hill’s Pet Nutrition
  • Lyndon State Bank
  • Security Benefit Corp.
  • The Craig Group, Inc.
  • Topeka Community Foundation
  • Washburn University Foundation
  • Washburn University International Programs
  • Washburn University Office of Student Life
  • Westar Energy

Award Sponsors:

  • Anonymous
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas
  • Brewster Place
  • Capitol Federal Foundation
  • J.F. McGivern, Inc.
  • Security Benefit Corp.


  • Heartland Visioning

In-Kind Sponsors:

  • Panera Bread
  • Washburn University Admissions
  • Washburn Dining
  • Washburn Memorial Union
  • Westside Stamps and Awards

Content Contributor:

  • EMFusion, LLC

Advisor Session Contributor:

  • Kansas Leadership Center