Office for Student Engagement

Division of Student Life

Leadership and Involvement

The Office for Student Engagement staff members believe that leadership and involvement are key to becoming a well-rounded person who can contribute to Reed and beyond. We feel strongly that everyone can and should learn the skills to become a leader regardless of their role in a group. We know that every member of a group impacts the group’s success for better or worse. At Reed, we define leadership as a process that empowers individuals and groups to engage in critical thought and honorable actions. Leaders actively work toward achieving inclusive, diverse, and dynamic shared visions.

Reed provides students with a wide variety of leadership opportunities, from our semester-long student leadership program—Reed Leadership Academy (RELAY)—to vibrant outdoor experiences, unique student organizations, engaging peer mentor programs, and dynamic community engagement projects. In all of our leadership opportunities, students are active participants in the learning process; students are accountable and meet high expectations; they develop new skills; they overcome challenges with creativity; and they learn how to communicate and collaborate effectively.

Reed's leadership programs share a commitment to leadership as a process, not a position. By our definition, leadership should be inclusive and collaborative while promoting the values of social justice, equity, self-knowledge, community engagement, and change.

To that end, we encourage students to take advantage of the many involvement opportunities the Office for Student Engagement and other departments offer on campus. There is truly something for everyone on campus.

Leadership workshops

Drop-in, interactive sessions are available throughout the year for students to spend 90 minutes learning about a specific topic or issue related to leadership. Past sessions have included communication, group decision-making, dealing with conflict, and much more. For more information, come by the Office for Student Engagement or look for our leadership and involvement posters. No need to RSVP, and snacks are provided.

Reed Leadership Academy (RELAY)

The mission of RELAY is to support Reed's core academic mission by promoting responsible action, pluralistic thought, and the development of lifelong, practical, interpersonal skills. 

Approximately 20 students—self-selected or nominated by community members for application—are chosen to participate in weekly workshops. Each participant is paired with a mentor from the Portland community who can help connect concepts from class to real life.

RELAY is open to any student who is interested in developing their leadership potential: those whose work is done out of the public eye, those who are positional leaders in student organizations and student governance, and those who are involved in other ways at Reed and in the Portland community. We also welcome students who are just beginning to consider these topics. Everyone has the potential to be a leader no matter their role.

What is RELAY?

RELAY meets every Monday in the spring from 4:30–6 p.m. Each workshop is a combination of experiential activities, lectures and class discussions. Course content will be completed by spring break. Class topics are related to our six learning outcomes:


  1. Compose a personal definition of leadership
  2. Identify the personal values that are most important to them
  3. Examine their own identities and cultures in relation to their practice of leadership


  1. Examine their application of skills and tools for effective communication
  2. Examine their application of skills and tools for effective collaboration


  1. Understand the principles of ethical civic engagement and community service

In addition to workshops, students meet with their mentors every other week to talk about the topics covered in class. Other mentoring opportunities could include career advice and networking, job shadowing, advice on navigating issues within leadership contexts, and much more. Your relationship will really depend on what you and your mentor make it.

Program Benefits

RELAY provides a number of benefits that you can't find elsewhere on campus:

  • increased knowledge of your self and others, leading to more effective participation in all kinds of groups
  • pairing with a mentor from the Portland community
  • opportunities to practice skills through community engagement projects
  • $100 Visa Giftcard for successful completion of the program

How do I apply to join RELAY?

Apply Now!  Use our electronic application form.  

Important Dates
October 15 - Applications Open
October 28 - Applications Due
November 5-8 - Interviews

For more information about the Reed Leadership Academy, please email



Contact Office for Student Engagement


Phone: 503/788-6692
Fax: 503/788-6657
Office: Student Center

Amanda Weingarten
Operations Coordinator