Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011
When the Drake football team embarked on its trip to Tanzania in May, the journey of self-discovery had already been underway for months, in the form of a semester-long class being taught to 54 of the 65 players who made the trip.
The players in the course earned academic credit by completing the interdisciplinary course associated with the Global Kilimanjaro Bowl, called "Leading with Emotional Intelligence: The Tanzanian Experience." The course, taught by Deb Bishop, associate professor of practice in management and international business, and Tom Westbrook, professor of education, taught students to understand and manage their emotions in order to be stronger leaders.
Tonight on Pomerantz Stage at the Olmsted Center the students shared for the public their final projects from the class. Ranging from poetry to audio/visual creations, each group of student-athletes had the opportunity to share the meaning of the class and the trip through his project.
Designed to enhance the growth of students as responsible global citizens, the class immersed the student-athletes in Tanzanian culture to foster collaboration with the group of young men who served as their opponents in the Global Kilimanjaro Bowl, from Mexico's CONADEIP conference.
Prior to leaving the U.S., course participants studied and assessed their own use of 14 components of emotional leadership. Students engaged in guided reflection before, during and after the trip. They helped to plan the youth football clinics for Tanzanian youths and worked together to prepare for the challenging climb to the summit of the highest peak of Mount Kilimanjaro.
The presentations on display tonight demonstrated what they had learned, and served as an overwhelming celebration, looking back at the trip for many in attendance who traveled with the team.
Matt Acree described how he, Dan Clinton and E.J. Walter accepted an invitation from Kilimanjaro Bowl organizer Patrick Steenberge to take part in an overnight stay in a village with a family.
Matt Bowie shared how, as a dental student, he was so moved by the trip that he has an even stronger desire to become a dentist and go back to Tanzania and other developing countries to help them with resources they lack, like dental care.
Head Coach Chris Creighton shared some words of appreciation for the many who helped make the trip possible, donating on top of the personal fundraising that was done by each player and coach. He said the team wrote more than 800 thank-you notes on the plane, flying home from Tanzania.
There were many thank-yous throughout the night, and special people in attendance who helped make the trip a reality. Creighton and Athletic Director Sandy Hatfield Clubb presented an autographed football to Bill and Jean Reimenschneider, longtime supporters of Drake football and athletics as a whole, who played a large role in making the trip happen.
Dr. Steve Meyer of Sioux City, Iowa, who runs the STEMM orphanage in Tanzania was thanked for his large role in providing opportunities for some of the service outreach, spoke of how grateful he was to be associated with such an outstanding group of young men.
Watch the video and click through the photo gallery to experience some of the sights and sounds of a very special night.