Personal Empowerment Institute

What is it?

An initiative by Student Affairs and Residential Education, the HWS Personal Empowerment Institute is comprised of a series of 3 Reader’s College Courses designed to introduce students to applying emotional intelligence in their own life, establishing and enhancing skills to empower others, and designing an opportunity to empower and support a local community of their choice.

How does it work?

Once students complete the Personal Empowerment Reader’s College course, they are able to complete the rest of the requirements (Peer Empowerment and Community Empowerment).

Who is eligible?

All HWS students are eligible to take the Personal Empowerment Reader’s College course. The second and third courses are via invitation only for students who have completed the Personal Empowerment course. Applications are distributed during the class but are also available in Residential Education. At least two sections of Personal Empowerment are offered every semester.

What are the student outcomes?

Students in the Personal Empowerment course participate in two assessments (pre/post course) designed to evaluate the impact of the course. Over the course of a semester, students’ personal well-being (personal growth, self-acceptance, and autonomy on the RYFF scales) and environmental interactions (positive relationships, purpose in life, and environmental mastery on the RYFF scales) increase. Also, social anxiety, academic distress, and generalized anxiety decrease significantly (based on the CCAPS).

How do students apply for Peer Empowerment or Community Empowerment?

For the first step, students should simply register and take the Personal Empowerment course. During week 6 of the course, instructors will share information about Peer Empowerment including the registration steps. During Peer Empowerment, students will be presented the opportunity to take Community Empowerment.

More Info

Search for the following courses in the registration booklet:
Personal Empowerment: RCOL 109
Peer Empowerment: RCOL 129
Community Empowerment: RCOL 139


Brandon B. Barile
Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Residential Education

Residential Education
101 St. Clair Street
Geneva, NY 14456

Phone: 315-781-3880

Trained Facilitators

Personal Empowerment facilitators complete an 8 month training on applied emotional intelligence, educational methods, and student development theory, and receive a national certification.

Shelle Basilio-Murray
Associate Director, Residential Education

Joshua Kolapo
Area Director, Residential Education

Jenn Mitchell
Area Director, Residential Education

Lisa Salter
Adjunct Faculty

Kristen Tobey
Director, Student Activities



Hobart and William Smith Colleges,
Geneva, NY 14456
(315) 781-3000

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