Fordham’s FUEL Programs Runs Again in 2022


Fordham’s FUEL program offers unique leadership opportunities for students. (Courtesy of Instagram)

Fordham University’s Emerging Leaders program (FUEL) is a unique opportunity for Fordham students from both Lincoln Center and Rose Hill to strengthen their leadership skills. Students engage in workshops with Fordham staff, alumni President Council members, and employers on topics that aim to enhance their personal skills and assets.

Each semester, this program is intended for students in any year of their undergraduate program, with different tracks for different experience levels.

“Each workshop is about an hour and typically takes a format of 30-45 minute presentation with 15-minute Q&A, said Stephen Esposito, assistant director for leadership and commuter student services in the Office for Student Involvement.

“Depending on the topic, there are interactive team activities, reflections and videos incorporated into the discussion,” said Esposito. “Two items that are key to this program are personal growth and building a network … students will have the opportunity to learn valuable skills surrounding topics such as wellness, diversity, equity and inclusion work and Ignatian leadership,” said Esposito.

In the past, the FUEL program has offered workshops on building a personal brand, work/life balance, diversity and collaboration.

“Traits such as empathy, compassion and humility are also important, and the FUEL program has taught me to more fully incorporate these into my leadership opportunities,” said Jeffrey Lembo, GSB ’23, a former participant who now works with the program in conjunction with the National Society of Leadership and Success.

“It’s important to challenge yourself and get outside your comfort zone, which the FUEL program helped me to do immensely. Participating in the program is definitely a highlight of my college career and one that I continue to apply knowledge from to this day,” said Lembo.

The program is intended to prepare students for the leadership opportunities they will face throughout the rest of their time at Fordham and beyond. The various topics covered in the workshops give students a well-rounded understanding of what it means to be a leader and “[prepare] students to enter the workforce and excel on internship teams or full-time careers after they graduate,” said Esposito.

Workshop layouts vary from topic to topic. For example, according to the FUEL website, “What’s Love got to do with Leadership?” was a workshop directed by Carol Gibney, director of Campus Ministry for Spiritual and Pastoral Ministries and director of Spiritual Life, Leadership and Service.  The workshop focused on Ignatian Leadership, specifically how effective leadership is intertwined with happiness, joy and passion.


This workshop offered experimental group exercises tailored to the subject of the workshop.
This year, there are two tracks that students can apply for, the Emerging Leaders track and the Experienced Leaders track.
The Experienced Leaders track is a new addition to the program, which will help narrow down the intentions and goals of the students involved.


“The reason we implemented two tracks is to meet students where they are in their leadership development journey,” said Esposito.


He explained that the Emerging Leaders track is “for students who are newer to Fordham, want to get involved and want to strengthen their general leadership skills.”

The Experience Leaders track is for students who have already obtained leadership experiences through internships and jobs.
Stephen Esposito added, “The Office for Student Involvement and Leadership Initiatives Committee is investing in building skills, helping unlock potential and instilling values in our undergraduate students during some of the most formative years of their lives.”

Emerging Leaders will receive a FUEL certificate, and the Experienced Leaders will be inducted into the Fordham chapter of the National Society for Leadership and Success. To be eligible students must attend six of the offered workshops and complete a group project.

The program’s next application cycle will be at the beginning of the academic year. The university is offering programs for students in both the fall and spring semesters.