Adventures in leading and learning

College and … camping? At first, you might not see the connection. But when you’re an innovative peer mentor like Dylan Clark, starting an annual camping trip with your learning community makes perfect sense. It’s like Dylan explains, “When we take a group of students camping, it removes some of the stressors of school and creates the opportunity for them to get to know each other, the professors and their peer mentors.”

Dylan’s a peer mentor for the Global Resources System learning community. He became involved because of the positive experience he had in his learning community his freshman year -- and because he wanted other students to have that same experience.

Whether they’re camping or attending lectures by notable individuals like World Food Prize Laureate, Pedro Sanchez, students in the learning community have access to an abundance of opportunities, many of which Dylan helps organize. But Dylan would be the first to admit he’s also benefited from being a mentor. “As a peer mentor, I have gained excellent leadership and interpersonal skills. It is a big responsibility to be a role model for your peers, and I think knowing that makes you a better person,” he said.

Iowa State offers more than 75 learning communities, all of which offer their own unique opportunities for students to grow. And Dylan’s story goes to show that learning and leading aren’t just confined to the classroom -- sometimes they happen in the unlikeliest of places, like sitting around a campfire underneath the stars.

Find out more about how learning communities help students succeed in and out of the classroom.