CHESTER, Pa. –Thirty Apogee scholars from Widener University’s Oskin Leadership Institute surprised the campus community yesterday with the first Courage Day.

Audrey Rucker, a communication studies major who was part of the core planning team, explained that Courage Day was meant to inspire people to reflect on courage in their everyday lives. She said that courage is needed for leadership, and while most people have it, they often struggle to identify it within themselves.

The courage theme grew out of the Oskin Leadership Institute’s mission to prepare Widener students to become responsible citizens who possess the character, courage and competencies to affect positive change.

To that end, students planned various interactive activities to spark conversations and self-reflection around courage. Signs placed throughout campus in the early morning hours helped announce Courage Day and served as the first courage prompt. The signs read: “Do you have the courage to be yourself?”, “Do you have the courage to forgive?” and “Do you have the courage to change?”

“It is really important for leaders to learn how to self-reflect and think about their past mistakes or accomplishments and grow from it,” said senior Lake Greene, a psychology major also part of the core planning team. “It is honestly all about growth and knowing how to harness your strengths.”

This type of self-reflection was also on display at nine distinct courage wall structures placed throughout campus. Members of the campus community wrote down and pinned their own courage stories to the wall.

Rucker, a junior, remarked this was an important moment of growth for a lot of people.

“I think at times we worry too much about what others think,” she said. “I want future generations to not be afraid to stand up for what they believe in despite what other people are going to say.”

Other highlights of Courage Day included a courage bracket, which allowed students to vote on what they thought was the most courageous act. Faculty and friends of the Apogee scholars were also asked to share their courage stories during classes throughout the day.

Greene, Rucker and psychology major Bill Dahm, the third member of the core planning team, plan to make Courage Day an annual event and build on the activities of this inaugural Courage Day.