Saints Leadership Program

The purpose of your education is to prepare you to serve the communities in which you find your self throughout your life.  Service to the community can be done in many ways.  We want to prepare you to make a lasting difference in the lives of others, so we offer opportunities for you to develop and grow your skills in four different arenas, each connected to the others. We ask that you do one or more of these programs to develop your skills to serve the world. 

The world needs more Saints. The world needs you

The Saints Leadership Program has four tracks, based on the socio-ecological model for change. Each track can be taken individually and three of them can stand alone.  If a student successfully completes all the tracks by April 1, prior to their graduation, they will be able to graduate with Saints Leadership Honors. concentric circles with the smallest as individual, then relationship, then community and the largest is societal

The four Saints Leadership Program tracks are:


Saints Leadership: Developing Interpersonal Leadership Track 2018-19
4:00-5:30 on Sundays 

is open to all students in their second year of college or later. The program includes six workshops offered on Sunday afternoons for 1.5 hours throughout the year. Students may come to any and all workshops. To earn the Saints Leadership Certificate, students must attend and participate in five of the Saints Leadership Workshops and complete a reflection on of the five workshops attended within the time period assigned(see below).

Two students back to back giving smiles and thumbs up

Requirements for students

All students can come to any or all of the workshops.  However,  if you attend 5 of the 6 Saints workshops and complete a reflection form on each of the workshops, you will receive a Saints Leadership Certificate and will be able to put on your resume that you successfully completed the  CSS Saints Leadership: Interpersonal Leadership Track. 

Complete this reflection form within 2 weeks of the completion of Sunday night workshop: 


Workshop Descriptions and Goals

 Building, Living, Learning and Leading with Your Strengths

4:00-5:30, Sunday, October 7 with Mary Anderson and Carrie Taylor Kemp from Career Services
Burns Wellness Center--Cookies and lemonade will be served!

With experiences in and out of the classroom, sophomores understand that the way they perceive and make decisions about the world around them may be different than others. In this workshop, sophomores with work with Mary Anderson and Carrier Tayler Kemp from Career Services, in developing an understanding of personal talents, and then explore ways to develop these talents into strengths. This workshop will be foundational for the other workshops in the Saints Leadership series and participants will be able to use this common language and understanding of strengths in future workshops. Sophomores can specifically use this knowledge to help as they move into leadership roles and prepare for other experiential learning opportunities.

In this workshop, you will:

  • Identify and describe top five personal strengths.
  • Know the impact strengths may have in your individual and group interactions.
  • Understand ways to effectively lead with your strengths.
  • Develop action steps to apply strengths to career, academics, relationships and leadership.

What a Jerk! Difficult Confrontations and Staying in Relationship

4:00-5:30, Sunday, November 4 with Megan Perry-Spears 
Burns Wellness Center 249--Cookies and lemonade will be served!

Sophomores have experience living with people who are not members of their family, but now they are more independent in their apartment living situations. This workshop will help students to identify, early in the process, the moments where conflict begins and relationships start to break down. Practicing these skills with roommates and during group work will create opportunities to understand how conflict unfolds and develop strategies and skills needed for successful team leadership, group work, successful employment and community relationships.
In this workshop, you will:

  • Know the elements of emotion creation around conflict 
  • Identify conflict narrative of villain/victim
  • Rewrite the narrative/perspective to be more accurate 
  • Know 2-3 skills for framing/having awkward but important preventative conversations early and often, not shying away from holding friends/colleagues effectively accountable 
  • Moving on in relationship with open heart and open mind

Building Resilience: Life 2.0

4:00-5:30, Sunday, December 2 with Julie Zaruba Fountaine
Burns Wellness Center 249--Cookies and lemonade will be served!

This workshop is designed to help sophomores in a focused exploration of their goals and purpose. Students will connect with each other through the process of creating a resilience map, discussing their plan with others and developing networks of support

In this workshop, you will:

  • Be able to define resilience
  • Discuss Resilience Factors in your life
  • Develop a Resilience Map personal for you and your leadership over the long-term

Loving Your Neighbor: Developing Empathy for Bystanding Intervention

4:00-5:30, Sunday, January 27 with Michelle Ruszat, VIP Coordinator and Jordon Moses, Coordinator of Student Activities
Burns Wellness Center 249--Cookies and lemonade will be served!

Through the lens of alcohol misuse/abuse and sexual and relationship violence, this workshop will help sophomores in the next level of identifying problematic behaviors and triggers. Through guided self-reflection, students will gain tools for helping and supporting themselves and others though difficult and often emotionally complicated events and affairs.

In this workshop, you will:

  • Identify that we all have a role to play to keep each other safe
  • Develop basic knowledge of the interplay of sexual violence, alcohol, and relationships
  • Informed and empowered to make choices 
  • Develop foundational skills and resource identification

Opposing Viewpoints? Now What?

4:00-5:30, Sunday, March 3 with Chris Davila and Sarah Stewart
Burns Wellness Center 249--Cookies and lemonade will be served!

Now that you are a sophomore, you are probably feeling a bit more comfortable with the CSS environment and are ready to step more outside of your comfort zone. You are likely starting to have hard conversations with friends and roommates and finding that you do not always agree on things. How can you practice having those conversations and maintain your relationships? That could mean attending various student organizations (maybe CJL groups), volunteering, and having in-depth conversations about racism and other topics around social justice and diversity. In this workshop, we will help you to engage in hard conversations about big issues while focusing on building authentic relationships, respecting different experiences, learning and practicing how to listen.

In this workshop, you will learn and practice:

  • Active listening skills
  • Being objective about a difficult/heated topic
  • Being respectful
  • Being open minded and withholding judgment
  • Being present (showing up!)
  • Making sure that all have time to speak
  • Using "I" statements
  • Recognizing and honoring the expertise of others

SaintsStepIn: Bringing it All Together!

4:00-5:30, Sunday, April 7 with Michele Ruszat, Jordon Moses, Sarah Stewart, Chris Davila
Burns Wellness Center 249--Cookies and lemonade will be served!

You are a leader, with your own set of strengths. You can (and do!) impact campus culture. How will you step in? How will you step into relationships, situations, systems, and conflicts to impact the world for good? Workshop participants will tie together the themes of the different workshops in this series to develop tools, skills, and an ability to practice preventing and intervening on issues of hurt and harm that impact our community and neighbors.

In this workshop, you will:

  • Build on their skills, strengths, and ability to identify issues of hurt and harm.
  • develop tools and skills to intervene on issues of hurt and harm building off their strengths and values.
  • Acknowledge and identify barriers to intervening
  • Help participants see themselves as having a role in intervening and preventing harm; highlighting and acknowledging their individual and collective strengths for campus culture change
  • Practicing intervention skills

Violence Prevention and Primary Prevention Track/BEST Party Model

This in-person program is offered on the CSS Duluth campus and is facilitated by our community partner Men As Peacemakers and CSS Violence Intervention and Prevention. Men As Peacemakers has worked with students to create the BEST Party Model --an innovative approach to sexual assault prevention on college campuses. BEST involves college men and women in shaping safe, respectful, and fun party environments that will help prevent sexual violence. This is an 9-week course that covers topics from environment shaping to bystander intervention. By using the lens and theory of primary prevention of sexual violence prevention, students learn how to think proactively about designing spaces and cultures to create the kinds of communities and outcomes they desire. This track can be completed during any semester of your CSS career. 

BEST PARTIES: Be Equal, Safe, and Trustworthy

SIGN UP here!

For more information or questions, contact Michelle Ruszat, Coordinator of the Violence Intervention and Prevention Program at CSS.

Saints Leadership: Community Impact and Systemic Change Capstone Track

If you have COMPLETED two of the other tracks by Feb 23, you can start this program. Please see for information about the other tracks. And please note that in order to qualify for Leadership Honors at graduation, you must have successfully completed ALL the tracks.

Student Leaders must:

  • attend all of the sessions listed below in full
  • complete a position paper, change strategy plan
  • complete a calling or writing campaign to impact the world for good by April 15.  (See the capstone assignment here.)

Sunday, February 24 from 4:00-5:45 in BWC 245: Systemic Oppression and Intersectionality with Sarah Stewart and possibly Elyse Carter Vosen

Sunday, March 3 from 4:00-5:45 in BWC 245: Youth, Poverty, Policy and Intervention with Matt Hoeschen

Sunday, March 24 from 4:00-5:45 in BWC 245: Native Peoples: US and MN Policies and their Implications with Karen Diver

Sunday, March 31 from 4:00-5:45 in BWC 245: Community Organizing and Action for Change with Em Westerlund, Duluth City Councilor and  PAVSA SANE Coordinator

April 7 from 4:00-5:45 in BWC 245: Coaching for Change: Tweaking, Improving and Increasing the Impact of Your Position Paper and Change Plan with Michelle Ruszat

April 15 in BWC 245: Final Project Due to Megan

CSS Senate Saints Leadership Summit

The CSS Student Senate hosted the first Saints Leadership Summit on October 22 and 23, 2018.  The event was open to the student body and the Senate invited students from other Twin Ports colleges.  

While this event is not a "track" for Saints Leadership Program, attendance at two of the three events in this summit can be the equivalent of a make up session for the Interpersonal Leadership Track and the Preventing Violence/Primary Prevention track.

The goal of the Senate in this endeavor is to create a leadership summit that will include multiple speakers and inspire leaders from different groups/organizations on our campus to come together and develop leadership skills as a collective unit.

The outcomes for the summit include:

  • Team building
  • Incorporation of inclusive excellence
  • Defining what it means to be a Saint
  • Balancing academics and leadership commitments
  • Overcoming the Challenges of Being a Leader

2018 Saints Leadership Summit Schedule

1) Saints Leadership Summit (SLS) Keynote Address, Monday October 22, 7:00pm, BWC 249

a) Jason Chavez, Former CSS Student Body President; Legislative Assistant, Minnesota House of Representatives

b) Topic: The Challenges of Leadership

2) SLS Lecture, Tuesday October 23, 12:00pm, BWC 249

a) Brian Jamros, College of St. Scholastica Athletic Director

b) Topic: Balancing academics and leadership commitments/extracurriculars

3) SLS Panel Discussion, Tuesday, October 23, 6:00pm, Benedictine Commons

a) Dr. Bret Amundson, Dean of the School of Arts and Letters; Sister Mary-Josephine Torborg, Associate Professor of Theology & Religious Studies; Chris Davila, Director of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion; Megan Perry-Spears, Dean of Students

b) Topic: What it means to live your life as a Saint in the 21st Century