Developing Ethical Leaders Through Athletics
DELTA is a leadership training program offered to all Washington College student-athletes. It focuses on developing citizen leaders with moral courage and ethical awareness.
Mission: Empowering student-athletes to initiate ethical leadership.
Core Values: Courage, Integrity, Respect
DELTA serves all student-athletes at Washington College with unique programming geared to three distinct cohorts.
Freshmen are trained in a program called “A Constituency of One”. In their first week on campus, they engage in an exercise where they identify their core values. Thereafter, they endeavor to discover and embrace their authentic selves. Through this process, they also develop respect for others. Integrity cannot be achieved without authenticity and respect. Emphasis is placed on cross-pollinating their respective athletic programs, particularly in the early stages of the fall semester when strong bonds of friendship are built.
The Freshmen cohort meets three times during the year and covers topics such as “self-coaching for character” and the power of developing a diverse network of peers.
Sophomores participate in “Leading from Within”. This program teaches students to harness their authentic selves to lead sub-groups in service of their teams. Adapting to team culture and helping others adapt is addressed. Participants act as mentors for incoming freshmen and learn to harness the power of a unified group. Emphasis is placed on developing empathy and understanding.
Participants learn to communicate through a chain of command and to effectively speak truth to power. Confidence is thereby fostered to cultivate the courage necessary for ethical leadership particularly in non-athletic situations. Social issues like hazing, alcohol, sex, diversity, nutrition and health are a key focus.
Inter-program activities are employed to further the bonds among and between the various sports.
This cohort is largely responsible for organizing and directing an outreach program at local high schools where we meet with student athletes and share information about the college sports experience and mentor aspiring college athletes.
Juniors and Seniors receive training called “Active Influence” where they are taught to develop influence over the group and use this influence to effect change. They are taught to take responsibility for the actions of their group and are empowered to initiate ethical leadership. Outside organizations specializing in leadership and ethics are utilized to supplement the delivery of these messages. Guest presenters have included Jeremy Edwards from Strive Leadership and Griff Hall from Leadership Arts.
Programming for DELTA is underwritten by a generous grant from The Clifton foundation.