The Dot Org – Go With the Flow, Stop Menstrual Stigmas


With our grant money, we focused on a manageable goal for our greater project idea, and hosted a publicity event titled ‘The Period Party’. At this event, we spread the word of our soon to be established organization over the course of two days in the hall of Mason Hall. The event occurred on November 27th and 28th, and occured from 4-6 on both days. During this event, we distributed 500 stickers/small flyers, 100 cupcakes, and many bags of candies. Then, we started conversations with the students and teachers who wanted the food and stickers. We answered a lot of questions about the reality of the menstrual stigma, and had interesting conversations with students and teachers who were mostly supportive of our cause. This event was important to further our success, because it spread awareness of an issue that many do not understand or care about. Through these conversations, we ended up getting contact information from about 20 people interested in joining our cause, as well as many follows and likes on our social media pages. The food and decorations we bought with the grant money was what attracted people to our area in the hall, and allowed us to start conversations about our issue.

dotorgcupcakesOut of all the BLI habits existing, the ones we used the most were ‘Start Small’, ‘Engage the World’, and ‘Expect Challenges’. ‘Start Small’ influenced how we began defining how our team could succeed by the end of Leadership Lab. We recognized that we needed to start with smaller goals to accomplish, instead of big ones. The Period Party event was a tangible goal for Leadership Lab, and was a great way to start conversations on campus about the problem we address as well as the existence of our group. The second habit we used was ‘Engage the World.’ We contacted representatives from other student groups such as the American Association of University Women and Greek Life as well as our peers and asked for feedback on whether people would be willing to contribute to our cause in the future, and also if people supported our cause in general.

dotorglogoOur Period Party event allowed us to engage with students and professors and discuss the issue and how we plan to make a change with our organization. The third habit we used was ‘Expect Challenges’. In general, we always created a backup plan in case our ideal goals were not possible. We knew it would be hard to successfully plan and complete a drive before the end of the BLI section, but we had our Period Party publicity event as a backup idea. As a group, we learned the importance of creating alternate strategies.

By: Marisela Angulo, Justine Burt, Mallory Dementer, Gabby Morin, and Nina Serr

Bridging the Gap


On Friday, December 1st, our group hosted Bridging the Gap — a night of discussion, pizza, and puzzles. We intended to have a discussion with 30 people, talking about events and working on puzzles. We hoped to work with more stakeholders and to reach out to conflicting groups on campus to get diversity of opinion in participants. Due to time constraints, we were unable to collaborate with most of these groups. However, we do feel that the event was a success. Although we did not have 30 people attend, the fourteen who did enjoyed the event and said they would be interested in attending a similar event in the future.

bridgethegapdiscussionThe three BLI values that were essential to our project were Value Difference, Always Ask, and Collect, Combine, Create. Valuing difference was the driving force and focus of the initiative. Every participant and facilitator brought different opinions and experiences to the table, and we learned from those differences. One of the phrases within the Value Difference habit is “let discomfort inspire,” which is what we strived for in our project. We also asked existing groups on campus to learn from what they had to offer. Some of our original plans already existed on campus, so we wanted to learn more about how to create a unique but salient event for students. In this way, Always Ask was a byproduct, as we learned to ask for feedback and gained experience creating a new project on campus. We discovered that our first set of ideas were fairly similar to the work that other groups are doing on campus, such as We Listen. Programs like Intergroup Relations have a similar focus in that they try to encourage dialogue between those with different life experiences who may not see eye-to-eye. We collected the gist of their work and combined them with our own ideas for creation.

Bridge the Gap LogoThe challenge we faced was reaching out to stakeholders and participants. We contacted stakeholders on multiple occasions, but only one responded. They were unable to assist us because of a more pressing matter. We managed because the team remained flexible. We also focused on bringing people from our own circles rather than the general U-M community to ensure participants showed up. Of course the event remained open to the general public, but the direct invites are what proved successful.

bridgethegapteamOur group works well together, and we are respectful of each other’s opinions and differences. The biggest issue we would want to address moving forward is availability and responsiveness to meetings outside of class. Each person in our group was busy during the weeks of the Leadership Lab, which made it difficult to schedule meetings that each member could attend. Sometimes when we had meetings scheduled, we ended up not being able to meet due to other commitments. Prioritizing meetings and working on better communication would be significant changes that would need to be made to improve the success and functionality of this group going forward.

Some lessons that we learned include that planning an event takes longer than expected. It is important to advertise an event on campus and to plan ahead in order to do so. We should have applied to the BLI small grant earlier, in order to receive funds early enough to make flyers and put them up around campus. We evaluated the success of our project via the number of attendees, the organization of the event, as well as the flow of dialogue. All of these variables were exceptional, and overall the event went well. The number of attendees was perfect for our first event, but from here on we hope to reach larger numbers and connect with other groups with different mindsets.

By: Meredith Days, Max Grahl, Noah McNeal, Camron Razdar, and Josiah Walker


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On Thursday, November 30th, our project group SustainabiliTEAM created a successful tabling event that educated people on simple, easy ways to be more environmentally sustainable in their daily life. This event also produced a visual representation of the impact the event had on the campus community with the SustainabiliTREE. So, we ended up accomplishing what we set out to do. The event accomplished the central goals we originally set: educating and promoting sustainable habits on campus. The way that we ended up fulfilling these goals, however, was completely different to the original vision. Our original vision was to create a video educating students on simple environmentally sustainable habits. This video never got past the planning stage, as we quickly realized it was an unrealistic goalª and, we scaled down our project to a tabling event that produced the same results we expected from the video.

Three BLI Leadership Habits that were essential to our project include Start Where You Are, Collect, Combine, Create, and Start Small.

  • Start Where You Are: Where we were in the beginning of the course and the connections we had, it just wasn’t feasible for our video. We found that the resources we had could be the start of an event or smaller project, and began to formulate that instead.
  • Collect, Combine, Create: We all came into this project with a lot of new ideas and different backgrounds. All of our strengths came together to formulate this project, and we were able to work through each other’s weaknesses. Our project was successful.
  • Start Small: We had started with a huge goal of implementing a sustainability video on campus. This was unrealistic for our time. So we scrapped this idea and started small, with a more realistic goal that could be accomplished.

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 12.14.21 PMThe most important challenge our team faced was coming up with a realistic plan that would still fulfill our goal in educating students on how to be more environmentally sustainable on and off campus. We started off with an unrealistic goal in mind, but through feedback from others, self-reflection, and group discussion, we formed a cohesive achievable target that satisfied the bottom line we set while including unique aspects. With our collected ideas and rational thinking, our tabling event went smoothly and fast-paced as anticipated.

We had a positive group dynamic. Our team worked well together and ran into few internal complications. We met every Sunday to discuss our progress and what steps need to be taken. We had additional weekly gatherings as needed. For example, members of our team met to speak to stakeholders and make posters during times outside weekly meetings. The most significant change we could make to improve effectiveness would be devoting more individual time on the project outside of these meetings. We were all effective when working together, but if we could have completed more of the tasks on our own time, which would have left more room for productivity and growth during our group meetings.

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 12.14.31 PMWe had a few setbacks in the planning stage of our project. After getting told that our initial idea would likely not work we did not know what to do. We had to change our idea quickly because time kept moving even though we did not want it to. When we came up with the idea of a tabling event in Mason Hall, we knew that we had hit a good idea. I think that we learned about flexibility and how to get up after you knocked down. We evaluated the success of our project through how many paint chips we had on the tree and how quickly we ran out of doughnuts. The next steps for our team is to continue utilizing all that we have learned about leadership and working in groups in our everyday lives. This lab has served as a valuable stepping stone for each of us to learn effective leadership strategies while practicing them in our everyday lives. As for our project, we successfully created an awesome educational project that we will continue to promote. Sustainability is a very important topic, and with our knowledge on the subject we will be able to teach the importance of it to others.

By: Olivia Chan, Laci Duvernois, Allyssa Garza, Charles Jones III, Katie Kubityskey, and Maddie Topping

Next Generation Ovarian Cancer Alliance – Ovary Fun Night

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Next Gen is a student organization on campus. Through campus involvement, Next Gen will work to raise awareness and educate people on the University of Michigan’s campus about ovarian cancer. This is exactly what we did during our event, Ovary Fun Night. Going into the night, we were not sure what exactly to expect. We were hoping for an enthusiastic crowd to listen and share each others’ stories and relations to ovarian cancer. Reflecting on the night, we got much more than that. People came to support others, people came to enjoy the humor, and people came to learn about ovarian cancer. More people attended the event than we were expecting and more money was raised than we were aiming for. Guests walked away with full stomachs, arms full of raffle prizes, and minds set on helping find a diagnostic test for ovarian cancer.Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 11.57.46 AM
We did not encounter a challenge, more of a few obstacles. One example being, we did not coordinate someone to create our centerpieces until the week of. Luckily, we were able to find someone to do that last minute. This was the first big event my board and I had ever put on. With this fact in mind our event went amazingly well. We were very happy and proud of all the outcomes. We hope to continue to have this event every year. We believe we can continue to improve and grow the event each year. We are already thinking of ways to improve the event in the future.
Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 11.57.01 AMWe are very grateful for the help that the Barger Leadership Institute provided in putting on a successful event for an organization that we began only a couple of years ago. We plan to continue working hard to spread awareness of ovarian cancer throughout our time at the University and will pass the organization on to others when we leave. This was our first big event and still preliminary steps to advocating for ovarian cancer awareness. But just like many other issues in life, each small step gets you closer to the end goal.


By: Aly Dahlmann

Team Zero Waste


Our group successfully developed an action plan to increase awareness of waste and consumption through a university-wide zero waste challenge. The invitations to our challenge were well received and enough people participated to the point where we reached our maximum capacity for gift handouts. We were granted a BLI small grant to order custom water bottles as both an incentive and a reward for participants. We had at least 34 daily survey responses out of the 40 participants and we were able to analyze this data to determine whether the challenge was impacting their lifestyles. Although there wasn’t any discernable trend in consumption over the course of a week, we’re hopeful and confident participants were conscious of their waste since the consumption numbers were very low, to begin with.

There are four leadership habits that were key aspects of how our team worked well together. The first is “Start Small.” We knew we wanted to create real change in these short seven weeks in regards to waste management on campus, so we chose to do a project that was realistic. The second leadership habit is “Engage the World.” We reached out to several different environmentally minded organizations and tried to gain as many participants as possible for our competition. Having the most possible people involved was hugely important to how we were measuring the success of our project. The third leadership habit is “Expect Challenges.” We were able to effectively plan our project around the idea of welcoming challenge but avoiding issues too difficult for us to handle in the short span of the project. The fourth leadership habit is “Work to Learn.” Our work was a learning experience in both the process and the results. By using surveys to facilitate our event, we collected a lot of data about student waste habits.

Throughout the semester, our team faced a variety of challenges. One of the challenges we faced was an issue with communication. First, we had some difficulty recruiting participants for the event after trying a variety of marketing methods. We designed, printed, and posted flyers, but found that they were not successful in recruiting participants as we received zero emails to our group email. We answered to the lack of response by creating a Facebook event, which was how we garnered much of our attention. Our issues with communication continued when we started the challenge, as many of our surveys were having issues and our emails were sending multiple times. As a result, we sent out apology emails and started communicating mostly through a texting notification application.

Our group dynamic throughout the process of our project has maintained relatively strong. We have met consistently every week to ensure our deliverables were prepared to be turned in and that our progress was on track. When we first began the project, we all had many valuable ideas to contribute, it was difficult to agree on the specifics. However, once we managed to agree on how to conduct our challenge, decisions were easier to make. Our common passion for sustainability and similar end goals allowed us to come up with a broad idea for our project. Yet, we struggled on deciding what specifics our surveys and emails should include. However, after much discussion and feedback from our peers, we were able to deliver an optimized product within the limited timespan.

Although there was no significant or apparent trend from the quantitative data that we gathered, which included the instances of recycling, the number of paper towel use, the number of times ordering takeout, etc. We believe that we have gathered very useful data to supplement future or ongoing sustainability programs and projects. From the analysis of our data, a movement towards individual zero-waste is almost impossible. Instead, there should be more work going on in the background that forces people to become more aware and do certain things that move towards zero-waste, like getting rid of paper towels completely in bathrooms. We believe our project was successful due to the high turnout of participants and high retention rate of participants throughout the course of last week. We’ve seen and encountered some flaws in the process of our execution plan, but due to the time constraint and workload, it was inevitable. The outcome isn’t exactly what we hoped, but overall, we are really satisfied with the turnout and amount of data we were able to capture.

  •  Julia Atayde, Orion Cleaver, Kevin Liu, Rachel Levine, and David Talbot

Victors Volunteer – Helpful Humans of Michigan

The goal of Victors Volunteer is to spread awareness of the volunteer communities on and around campus, as well as spread awareness of the positive impacts helping others has had on our Michigan peers. We choose to take a ‘Humans of New York’ approach by sharing a personal volunteer-related story and photo on multiple (Facebook, Instagram, and a Wix Blog) social media platforms. By sharing personal volunteer experiences, our social media platforms act as a resource of where and why to get involved.

In the twelve days that we posted to our social media, we reached over 2,000 people in page and post views. We surpassed our original goal!

As a secondary tactic to reach a broader audience, we planned a celebratory and networking event. With a generous grant from Barger Leadership Institute, we were successfully able to host a volunteer celebration and collaboration. As a thank you to the thirty interviewees, we invited them to the LSA opportunity hub for pizza, salad, and refreshments. They were encouraged to bring their friends or invite others interested in, or already in another service community.

Although our event ran smoothly, we faced an expected challenge – turnout.

Our event was small (15 including ourselves) however, we enjoyed a few hours of sharing volunteer stories, discussing our favorite places to volunteer, and making recommendations for which student organizations on campus would be interesting for an individual based on their interests. We had a few people come who had not been interviewed, but saw our posts on Facebook, and wanted to know more about our project, or a specific organization that was written about on our page. We considered this another small success because we were engaging a broader audience and inspiring more to get involved.

Our group is thankful for the opportunity the Barger Leadership Institute awarded us and plan to continue sharing volunteer stories of the Helpful Humans of Michigan.

  • Megan Gargaro, Allie Mangus, Scott Rola, Daria Hurley, and Danielle Tondreau

Global Health Symposium – presented by Timmy Global Health & MHEAL

The Global Health Symposium is an annual lecture-based symposium hosted by M-HEAL andGlobal Health Symposium pic 1 Timmy Global Health to promote active learning and engagement in global health efforts in the university community.  With generous grants from BLI and other organizations, we were able to successfully carry out our event.  This year, 124 students from various majors were able to listen to three keynote speakers: one from the School of Public Health, one from the University of Michigan Health System, and one from NSF International.  Between the second and third speaker we had a lunch break where we provided refreshments and lunch from Cottage Inn Pizza. Afterward, attendees were encouraged to further discuss and network with the speakers and their colleagues toglobal health symposium pic 3 gain greater knowledge and insight into their talks.  

After our event, we administered an online survey to help us evaluate our success.  Some of the responses we received related to having preparation from the speakers and having more speaker – audience activities. Many of the attendees enjoyed the diversity of the speakers.  These responses were very helpful and we hope to use them for future references.

Although our event ran relatively smoothly, we faced the same challenges we seem to run into each year.  One of the major setbacks of our event will always be getting a lot of attendance. Although 124 is not bad, we were hoping we could get 200 attendees. Another setback was not having enough members attend from our respective organizations.  We learned that as leaders of our organizations, we must be more authoritative and encourage more committed members to come to our events.  If we cannot assure our own members to attend, we cannot assure others to do the same.  We hope as leaders to continue to communicate with our members and possibly gGlobal Health Symposium pic 2et them more involved and engaged with planning the event.  

The event is open to all students and faculty at University of Michigan, and we hope to expand our audience.  For next year, we hope to focus more on marketing/advertising and finding new ways to reach out to a wider audience.

Overall, the attendees enjoyed our speakers, food, and learned something new, so the event was a success!  On behalf of Timmy Global Health and MHEAL, we thank you for awarding us this grant and making it possible to educate and further spread awareness for global health. 

Standing Rock Solidarity Zine Release Event

This fall semester, I had the great privilege to work with a group of independently organized students to show solidarity with the water protectors at Standing Rock, North Dakota. Though our project originally formed through the Graham Sustainability Institute’s undergraduate scholars program’s interdisciplinary courses, our team grew to incorporate a larger group of students from different backgrounds interested in raising awareness on UM’s campus about indigenous struggles and environmental injustices. Inspired by the No Dakota Access Pipeline Movement (#NODAPL) started by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, we wrote a zine publication about the effort to stop the construction of a fracking oil pipeline on the tribe’s sacred land in order to protect clean water access, cultural artifacts and ancient burial grounds. In the zine, we highlight the history of indigenous resistance to colonialism and environmental destruction, background on the movement, the timeline of events surrounding the DAPL, and ways for those in Ann Arbor to take action against the construction of the pipeline. When beginning our organizing against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) at UM, we felt as though there weren’t many accessible resources for students and the broader UM and Ann Arbor communities to learn about the struggle at Standing Rock; therefore, we decided that collaboratively writing a zine on the issue was the most effective way to spread awareness on our campus as zines are easy to distribute and generally free of charge (to download a copy of our zine, visit our website.)

As recipients of the Barger Leadership Institute small grant award, our group held a zine release event to distribute our zines, fundraise money for the Standing Rock camps and water protectors, and showcase interviews that were collected at Standing Rock during our group’s fall break trip to the occupation. One of our main objectives at this event was to raise indigenous voices as this movement is only one piece in a longer, ongoing struggle for indigenous justice and, therefore, indigenous voices should be at the forefront of these movements. To do this, we had listening stations of the interviews collected at the Standing Rock camps to provide authentic voices from the movement at our event. Also, members of a group of indigenous drummers and singers called the Swamp Singers  performed and shared the cultural importance of the No DAPL movement with attendees. Additionally, we created buttons, stamps, and patches with messages to support Standing Rock, access to clean water, and indigenous resistance. All of these items, along with our zines, were available on a donate as you’re able basis. Ultimately, we raised about $850 at our event, all of which was sent to the occupation. Through this event, we discovered how many people are interested in learning more about indigenous and environmental justice. Community members, parents, friends, and students from all over the university came to our event and picked up a zine, listened to the interviews, and engaged in conversations about the struggle at Standing Rock. It was also beautiful to see community members and students participating in intergenerational exchanges of knowledge through conversation; I was grateful that we provided a space for folks of different ages and backgrounds to teach and learn from one another about organizing and the ongoing struggle towards justice.

Although our event went well and we learned a lot about the logistics of putting the zine release together, we recognize that our organizing doesn’t stop here; rather, this event can be viewed as a jumping off point for more organizing around environmental and indigenous justice in our region. We plan to continue distributing our zines around campus and Ann Arbor and we’ve also created a website to share our zine, videos and interviews. We are still selling our merchandise from the zine release event and sending all funds to the Standing Rock occupation because the struggle still continues today – despite the denial of DAPL’s permit to drill, Energy Transfer Partners has announced they will ignore the order and continue drilling. We have held phone banking events to demand that all felony charges against the water protectors are dropped immediately and we plan to do more phone banking in the future. Lastly, we’ve discussed organizing against Line 5, another oil pipeline that runs under the straits of Mackinac in Michigan. Our group will be regrouping in January once the winter term begins and we will outline what we hope to accomplish for the upcoming semester.

We are so gStanding Rock Zine Eventrateful to the BLI for funding our zine release event and the printing of our zines! Without the resources provided by Barger, we couldn’t have held our event and raised the funds we sent to the occupation at Standing Rock. For more information on the work we are doing or to purchase merchandise, email and visit our website at



The Community Coalition — Ann Arbor, Michigan



As the community coalition, our mission was to create genuine, positive connections among our peers at the University . We planned to do this by bringing students together for small, informal gatherings that would allow them to connect with one another through intentional dialogue. So that’s what we did: we hosted an event where we ate yummy foods, played games, and talked about things that really matter to us. We booked a room, ordered food, wrote up a game plan, and each brought our own energy to the space, all as a way of helping and encouraging students to engage with one another in an authentic way.


However, even though we started out with a common goal (to advocate for diversity and inclusion at the university), we each had different visions for approaching the common goal. Initially, a few members of our team believed it would be better to invite a larger group of students in order to bring awareness. However, after a long conversation about our desired impact, we decided to have a much smaller event where we could ensure that each person involved had an opportunity to actively communicate and share their experiences here at the university.


Additionally, many members of our group were nervous that our event would be misinterpreted or forgotten about in the wake of the election. However, the event itself went better than any of us expected, and everyone seemed to be comfortable sharing, listening, and learning from one another. One our favorite pieces of feedback from the event was: “I felt like I was in a position of learning, which seldom happens to me anymore.” We were beyond excited to see real connections forming and people learning from each other in such an intentional space.


Although this was merely the first step, in the future, we hope to create even more opportunities for intentional dialogue between students at the university as a means to build a more connected campus and world.


Pizza and Politics


Over 70 students gathered in Mason Hall on the night of Tuesday, November 8 for Pizza and Politics, an event hosted by the Public Activities Committee of LSA Student Government and made possible by grants from the Barger Leadership Institute, the Department of Statistics, and the Department of Political Science.

file_006This was a particularly long and trying election season for many, especially for most students – who were having their first chance to vote in a presidential election. A long and vitriolic campaign was a source of frustration and exhaustion, and we aimed to host this event with the goal of bringing closure to the over one-year election cycle, and also provide a space for students to think about becoming more politically engaged in the future. As we all know, civic engagement does not begin or end with a presidential vote. State and local governments are often just as influential in the daily lives of many citizens, and voting too is just one component of a healthy and productive democracy. We hoped to spark conversations and get to students to think about the policy future of this country and how they may be involved in it.

BLI funding made it possible for us to provide a convenient, fun, and nonpartisan space for University of Michigan students to watch the election results and enjoy some pizza. Folks started arriving file_005just before 8:00 pm and the room quickly began to fill up after that. At the peak, we were standing-room-only as can be seen in the pictures included. Students were discussing the results and making predictions, and the room would fluctuate from a roar of conversation to a hushed silence when a projection was being announced on TV.

It was clear that we achieved our goals for this event. Students really enjoyed the space that we created to take a break, have a slice (or three) of pizza, and watch the results. In a survey of 36 attendees, the average attendee rated the event a 4.42 on a 5 point scale. On the question of whether or not attendees felt inspired to be more politically engaged, the average response was 3.97 on a 5 point scale. Some of the qualitative feedback we got included “fun environment,” “loved it!” and “I like the idea of screening important political coverage because I do not have cable.” We also saw feedback that we might have gotten a bigger room and used closed captions on the results since the room was so full and loud. This was great to hear! We expected a solid turnout, but I was surprised to see the room fill up so quickly. We sincerely thank the Barger Leadership Institute and our Department sponsors for making this event possible.

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