Ohana. #ALLinELI

Coming to Ohio State, I knew I was attending the best university and graduate program in the world. From attending football games with 104,944 passionate fans in The Shoe to walking around Mirror Lake and The Oval with 60,000 students passing to and from class, I was prepared and ready to ensure these next two years of graduate school would be the best two years yet. Accepting an assistantship in Recreational Sports was definitely purposeful. In a department with about 1000 student employees, 56 professional staff members, 14 GAAs, and 6 different recreational facilities, the opportunities to develop as a leader and professional were bound to be limitless.

However, I did not expect to inherit five phenomenal student leaders who would define my graduate school experience way before it started.

ELI Facilitator Photos
ELI Facilitator Photos at The Ohio State University. Held at the Ohio Union on August 26, 2016. (Nicole Badik/ Ohio State University / Office of Student Life)

Affectionately known as “Tim’s kids,” Sahil, Carly, Amber, Sofia, and Mason (from left to right) are the five facilitators for our department’s signature leadership program entitled: The Emerging Leaders Institute. The Emerging Leaders Institute, or ELI, is a 10-week program that prepares students with the knowledge and skills necessary to make impactful and positive social change within their communities, Ohio State, and ultimately the world. Founded in 2013 through the leadership of Beth Johnson, ELI has quickly become the premier leadership program on Ohio State’s campus.

So what’s so special about these students?

Throughout my undergraduate experience, I was a member of a number of teams and organizations – both at the University of South Carolina and abroad. None of them have been as loving, passionate, committed to producing great work as this group. For our staff retreat this semester, I took my kids to the Outdoor Adventure Center to stack crates and rock climb. (Yes, I know. I am the greatest supervisor ever.) The level of natural challenge and support they exemplified for each other was unparalleled to anything I had ever facilitated before. The result? Increased levels of self-efficacy, trust, and oh yeah – a new ELI record for crate stacking (not pictured below – s/o to Sahil!)


Assorted in academic major, internship experiences and a variety of social identities, we are more than just inclusive – we are family.

Yes, we joke and laugh about which animal head we would prefer on our human body. And while some of us are currently living the “best friend in a romantic comedy” life, others are preparing graduate school applications, designing 4-D blueprints for companies, and waiting for JoJo’s new album to drop on October 14th. However, at the end of day, we always know when it’s time to work and handle business.

I could not have asked for a better set of student leaders to work for in my first student affairs role, and for that I am eternally thankful. #Ohana

ELI Facilitator Photos
ELI Facilitator Photos at The Ohio State University. Held at the Ohio Union on August 26, 2016. (Nicole Badik/ Ohio State University / Office of Student Life)

Here’s to a great Fall 2016 Emerging Leaders Institute! #ALLinELI

Encourage somebody to be great today!

Tim Bryson


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