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Pioneer Leadership Program

Pioneer Leadership Program

Pioneer Leadership Program


The University of Denver's long history of service is grounded in a tradition of commitment to the community. PLP was designed to link formal learning experiences and concepts in leadership with learning and involvement in the community. With a focus on citizen leadership, PLP engages and equips students through group projects, service opportunities and internships that improve the conditions of our community. 

The Pioneer Leadership Program is a 4-year, integrated learning experience that combines coursework, a residential community, civic engagement, and professional networks to develop citizen leaders.

A cornerstone of teaching and learning leadership in PLP is community and civic engagement. Pioneer Leadership program participants are active leaders in the DU, the greater Denver community and across the globe.  

On average, PLP students dedicate 5,000 hours every year to community-based organizations both here in Denver and abroad.  In most circumstances, hours dedicated to the community are closely tied to coursework within the leadership minor. There are three programs that are designed to progressively teach students about leadership principles by observing and applying newly gained skills within community-based agencies and organizations.  These programs are: 

  • Serve to Lead, Lead to Serve
  • Community Change Initiatives
  • Community Leadership Internships
  • Passport for Leadership Development Fund

Student Profile

Student profile: Janeth ManchaJaneth Mancha

Hometown: Denver, CO
Business Marketing and Italian
Year: Class of 2019

What is one of the most valuable leadership experiences that PLP has given you?
One of the most valuable leadership experiences PLP has given me was during our first year retreat. We had to go through some ropes courses, and I remember being terrified. I took a leap of faith and went for it. I had never felt more proud of myself, and I learned that as intimidating as something might be, you need to step outside of your comfort zone and take that chance!