Belmont Students Lead the Way During Pulse

Group Photo from Pulse

Each fall, the Belmont Office of Leadership Development (BOLD) hosts the Pulse Student Leadership Advance retreat. For the second year, Pulse returned to the Nelson Andrews Leadership Center, a facility built specifically for the development of leaders from across the world. What made this years’ experience so unique was that Belmont students helped plan and implement the full day of leadership workshops and activities for themselves. Pulse will now and forever be for students by students.  

Staff from the Division of Student Affairs, the Office of the Registrar, Admissions and Vanderbilt University facilitated various leadership sessions focusing on the importance of creating a spirit of community that acknowledges individual excellence and celebrates values and victories. Students collaborated alongside staff to ensure that the event achieved its goals and was impactful for all participants. The leadership behavior students learned and practiced was to “Encourage the Heart” from “The Student Leadership Challenge” by James Kouzes and Barry Posner.

Students strategically planned and selected their responsibilities for the day. Graduate students participating in BOLD’s GOLD Experience- (Graduate Opportunities in Leadership Development) from the Sport Administration and Organizational Leadership programs curated and developed the curriculum. Students presented innovative ways to engage participants during Pulse and challenged the norms of what would normally be expected during a student retreat. 

There was something for everyone during Pulse. Between leadership sessions, there were live student performances by the fireplace, Pete’s Party Room for those who needed a chance to dance off the worries of the semester and exclusive opportunities for students who wanted to prepare for positional leadership roles in BOLD, FitRec and ResLife.


In a post assessment survey one student stated that they “personally connected with the Self-Compassion session and loved the live music at lunch and dinner.” Other students expressed how they enjoyed the free time they had to build friendships and appreciated learning more about how anyone could be a strong encourager.

Needing no formal position or title, BOLD participants eagerly served in every way possible as photographers, program coordinators, hosts, a tech team and as “hype-gators,” a term students coined to describe leaders who regulated positivity, encouragement, motivation and hype throughout the day.

Now with 810 students actively pursuing their certificate in leadership through BOLD in just over one year, Pulse allowed students the opportunity to celebrate their progression through the first two levels of engagement – Belonging Aspiring Leaders and Believing Emergent Leaders. 2019 Pulse participants, students from nine academic colleges, a variety of majors and every graduating class, have engaged in 70 hours of leadership development in BOLD, across campus and through a host of service and service-learning experiences.

The final two BOLD levels of engagement will be implemented in the Spring as the Vision 2020 strategic plan for leadership development comes to completion and Vision 2025 is set in motion. The next BOLD experience -The Campus-Wide Student Leadership and Bruin Link Fair – will be held on Monday, January 13, 2020 in partnership with the New Student Orientation and Student Organizations and Activities Offices.

To learn how to engage in leadership development through BOLD email