Student Leadership

Student involvement in decision-making is essential to the life of Kalamazoo College. “Involvement” includes a range of things – making final decisions, providing advice and input, offering recommendations, and expressing preferences. All are valuable to the College. Developing leadership skills is a critical component of a K education and the Office of Student Involvement (OSI) provides many opportunities for students to discover, develop, and practice their leadership.

Develop Your Leadership Skills

OSI sponsors an annual overnight retreat for emerging student leaders. OSI also offers multiple scholarships to cover the cost of registration, housing, food, and participation fees at select national leadership conferences taking place each summer. Past opportunities include participation in:

Student Government

The Kalamazoo College Council of Student Representatives (KCCSR) was established in Fall 2016 to facilitate the role of student voices in institutional governance.  Student Representatives are elected to the body each Fall and serve for one academic year. Students are generally elected from the student body, and then individuals are assigned to various faculty, trustee, and college committees to provide student voices to decisions on campus.

Other Venues for Student Involvement in Decision-making

Standing Committees/Groups

  • Athletics Advisory Committee
  • Athletic Leadership Council
  • Campus Climate Committee
  • Civic Engagement Scholars
  • Community Council
  • Dining Committee
  • Diversity Advisory Committee
  • Educational Policies Committee
  • Experiential Education Committee
  • Information Services Advisory Committee
  • Lillian Anderson Arboretum Advisory Committee
  • Peer Health Advisors
  • Student Conduct Hearing Panel
  • Student Health Center Advisory Committee
  • Student Life Advisory Committee
  • Student Safety Advisory Committee


  • Baccalaureate Planning Committee
  • Junior Graduation Committee
  • Senior Graduation Committee

Student Commission Committees

  • Athletics
  • Educational Policies Committee
  • Experiential Education Committee
  • Joint Committee on Student Organization and Recognition
  • Student Affairs Committee
  • Trustee Communication


  • First-Year Mentors
  • Resident Assistants
  • Career Associates
  • CIP Peer Advisors
  • Sexual Peer Education Alliance at K (SPEAK) Interns
  • Student Chaplains and Interns
  • Student Conduct Advisors
  • Summer Campus Climate Fellows
  • Sustainability Interns
  • Trustee Meeting Student Representatives

Informal Ways to Provide Feedback

Other less formal ways of students providing input include voting on campus movies and bands, completing program/activity evaluation forms, completing campus surveys, and participating in campus forums. Additionally, the KCCSR Executive Committee meets regularly with the President, Dean of Students, and Assistant Dean of Students to share information and advice.

Interested in becoming involved with decision-making at K? Feel free to contact offices/departments mentioned above or KCCSR. If you’re not sure where to start, Student Development can help point you in the right direction. This is not an exhaustive list, as committees change often in response to identified needs and concerns.

Have a Good Idea?

Kalamazoo College is brimming with ideas and a place that encourages critical thinking and activism. The following information is designed to help students effectively pursue good ideas.

Where to Start

Evaluate Your Idea

  • What is the need for this idea? How have I determined this as a need? Who will benefit in what ways? How does this idea improve the work/experience of the College?
  • How does it fit with the values, priorities, and mission of Kalamazoo College?
  • What is the impact on others who don’t support my idea or agree with my rationale?
  • How does this fit with competing priorities of which I am aware?
  • What are other institutions like K doing related to my idea/concern?
  • Will the College incur risk or liability related to my idea – health, safety, reputation, financial?
  • What is the cost, both financial and in terms of human resources (staffing, time), and to whom?

Find Your Supporters

  • If you have identified a specific area/department where you seek change, involve staff/faculty in those areas/departments from the beginning. They can be helpful in identifying needed information, potential snags, and strategies as you develop your idea.
  • Seek accurate information about your idea or the area for change. Understand the history and institutional rationale, collect accurate data, and talk to people (many offices on campus are good places to start – go right to the source) who can provide reliable information.

Plan Your Strategy

  • Whom do I envision making my idea a reality? Who will actually get it done?
  • Take a personal inventory. What are my expectations for this project? Are they realistic? Who and what will I need to accomplish this goal? Can/will I put in the time and energy to make this goal a reality? If I cannot, then is it reasonable to ask others to take on this task?
  • Identify stakeholders in this issue. Who would be natural allies and who would be resistant to change? Be prepared to spend extra time and attention with those you identify as potentially resistant. Assume they know something that you don’t that might help nuance and develop your position. Schedule appointments with as many people as possible and remember that your interest is in learning how people feel/think and why.
  • What will sustain the initiative over time – after I am gone, after my friends are gone?
  • Be prepared to answer questions and, if necessary, to collect additional information as you begin to discuss your idea with others. The request for accurate/additional information enables those who will work with you to have the most complete “picture” possible and may also strengthen your case.

When Your Idea is Pursued

  • Be realistic about the time frame. Ask about this as you gather information. Time allows for quality thinking, planning, or communication.
  • Be vigilant and accurate with ongoing communication. If working in a group, designate one member as the single point of contact to ensure accuracy and timeliness in communication.
  • Recognize that people who disagree with your idea or with your interpretation, or who prioritize things differently, are not your adversaries. They can help improve your thinking and planning and can provide you with a clear sense of the reality in which your idea resides.

When Your Ideas is not Pursued

There will be times when your idea will not result in the change you seek. While disappointing, understand that such decisions are not personal. If an idea is not successful, what can you learn from the experience? What will increase the likelihood of success the next time?


The accomplishments of many students and organizations are recognized at the annual Senior Leadership Recognition Awards each Winter and the Black & Orange Leadership Awards each Spring.