Grow students’ leadership capabilities and understanding of themselves as leaders in relation to their collegiate experiences, campus communities, and political and social civic engagement through I-LEAD® Connect.

What is I-LEAD® Connect?

I-LEAD® Connect is a student leadership development program that resulted from the popularity of ACUI’s I-LEAD® program. I-LEAD® Connect is a three-day institute held at a host institution (or other host specified location) designed to teach student participants how to be effective leaders through group activities, interpersonal and intercultural communication, and self-reflection. I-LEAD® Connect uses theoretical learning models to facilitate the program and includes ACUI core values (leadership, communication, intercultural proficiency) as key areas of focus in the curriculum.

I-LEAD® Connect works to foster an equitable and inclusive space in which students develop their abilities to thrive in global and interconnected communities. The program respects students’ unique and intersecting identities including race, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, national origin, first language, religious and spiritual traditions, age, ability, learning styles, and socioeconomic status. I-LEAD® Connect seeks to build a community centered on mutual respect of all individuals, where cultural and intellectual diversity are valued, and where all individuals share the responsibility for creating a welcoming, safe, and inclusive environment. 

Plan Your Session

I-LEAD® Connect Details

Find out more about the design of the program, how you can customize for your campus, and more below!

Program Design

Trained facilitators will lead your students through this program.

Lead Facilitators
Two volunteers who have facilitated the annual I-LEAD® program will lead your I-LEAD® Connect. This includes working with the host coordinator, training small-group facilitators, and leading the overall program on site.

Small-Group Facilitators
Individuals from the host institution will take part in an educational training session (ranging from 6–10 hours) to lead discussions with students during the three-day program.


Large Group: Every I-LEAD® Connect attendee will participate together in these sessions as one full group. For example, all meals happen in the large group. 

Small Group: Four or five groups of 10–14 students will form for discussions and other activities. These groups are formed at the beginning of the program and remain the same throughout the three days.

Wellness Break: Wellness breaks are designed to encourage participants to balance their schedule to nurture the best learning experience for themselves. This is a valuable component of the curriculum because it allows participants the opportunity to make connections between the importance of well-being and being a good leader.

Reflection: Reflection times are designed so participants can spend dedicated time reflecting on change resulting from effective leadership. There are writing prompts in the student handbook that help participants synthesize topics to understand how they fit together. The time is to be spent alone to encourage participants to discover who they are, what they are learning, and how they will become effective leaders on campus.


Before program begins, small-group facilitators and trained and meeting spaces are setup.

Example Daily Schedule
Schedules are created around the host institution’s desired timeframe and in conjunction with the host site for scheduled meal times. A typical day would follow this timeline:

  • Breakfast
  • Large group activity
  • Small group activity
  • Lunch
  • Large group activity
  • Wellness break
  • Large group activity
  • Small group activity
  • Dinner
  • Reflection
  • Small group activity
  • Large group activity
  • Evening closing
Customization Options
  • Assessment tools
  • Unique campus-specific elements
  • 60+ students
  • Sharing costs between campus departments and/or neighboring institutions

ACUI asks that you inquire a minimum of six months in advance of your planned host dates. Communication and planning with the Central Office starts 60 days prior to the event date.

Host Responsibilities

One of the most critical components to I-LEAD® Connect is the living, learning environment. It is crucial that host sites have space for large-group activities, small-group meetings, outdoor activities, personal activities, and sleeping rooms, all within the same facility. ACUI will cover the cost for travel arrangements for two trained lead facilitators, program materials, and logistical support through the Central Office. Audio-visual needs, meeting room furniture, food requirements, and other material and personnel needs will be discussed with the Central Office during the planning process.

Space requirements are as follows:

  • One large indoor meeting space (75 person capacity)
  • One large indoor space for meal times
  • One large outdoor (preferably covered) space dedicated to the program for its duration
  • One workspace (14 person capacity)
  • Six small indoor meeting spaces (13 person capacity)
  • Sleeping and living space
  • ADA compliant