Two students from Crowder College made the journey from Neosho to Jefferson City earlier this year to attend a leadership conference hosted by Gov. Eric Greitens. Vikas Yadov, current Crowder student body president and vice-president Matthew Cole attended as student leaders.

Two students from Crowder College made the journey from Neosho to Jefferson City earlier this year to attend a leadership conference hosted by Gov. Eric Greitens. Vikas Yadov, current Crowder student body president and vice-president Matthew Cole attended as student leaders.
"Each year, for the last 31 years, Missouri has held the Annual Governor's Student Leadership Forum," Crowder President Jennifer Methvin told board members. "This year, students Matthew Cole and Vikas Yadov represented Crowder and I have asked them to hare with you the highlights of the forum. Matthew and Vikas attended the forum along with students from colleges and universities all over Missouri. They had the opportunities to meet leaders from across the state and discuss service and leadership. I appreciate their willingness to represent Crowder College."
Yadov hails from New Delhi, India.
"Thank you very much," he told the board and all present. "I'm studying here, majoring in mathematics. I was originally studying computer sciences but they dropped the major program. I will transfer to Washington University in St. Louis and I will get my four-year degree there in computer sciences. I am also a student ambassador."
Speaking about the forum, Yadov told the board of trustees, "We went through it in January and it was fantastic. We met the Missouri governor. He gave a speech about how he ended up as governor. He is an awesome person. It (the forum) was a good opportunity to talk to different people."
Matthew Cole, Neosho, also spoke about his experiences. "I am very honored to talk about the conference. I am the vice-president of our student government, I'm the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) secretary, I work in as an administrative assistant in the nursing department as an assistant, and on weekends I volunteer at the George Washington Carver National Monument. We did meet many people, including the governor."
In a invitational letter written last fall, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens explained what the forum is meant to accomplish. "The Forum is a unique opportunity to student from Missouri's institutions of higher education to join together and be challenged to think differently. The Forum is based on the belief that the future prosperity of our state depends on dialogue about the faith and values that guide a leader's actions."
Two students from each of Missouri's colleges and universities were invited to attend. Participants heard speeches from various state leaders, visited the Missouri State House of Representatives
and the State Capitol, and met in small groups led by facilitators. A visit to the Jefferson City Correctional Center made an impression on both students but especially on Cole.
"The part of the conference that was the most intense, the most impressive was a high risk security prison," Cole stated. "Although they (inmates in general) gave us some suggestions that were not polite, the prisoners we talked to realized the wrongs they have done. They realize that they were the ones controlling their situation, that they made mistakes. Now, they do not want to fail society again."
The facility is home to an Intensive Therapeutic Community (ITC), a program designed to change inmates into productive citizens. Cole spoke about the many work options available at the facility including  newer additions such as fidget blankets for dementia and Alzheimer patients. "As you know, they do make license plates," Cole said. "They also do woodworking and leather works."
He also shared what he considered the most important thing he learned at the Jefferson City Correction Center, "It's important to understand they are people, just like us."
Yadov also offered some of his thoughts on the visit to the correctional center. "There were some people who didn't want to talk and some who wanted to talk and tell their stories," he said.
Board members asked the two students why they chose to attend Crowder.
Cole, who is from Neosho, told the board, "I came to Crowder because I thought it would be a good start and save some money. I plan to attend John Brown University after this. Crowder was my first step in my college experience."
Yadov, who came from India to attend college, said, "I applied to fifteen or sixteen universities, most of them 4-year schools. Crowder and one college in California were the only community colleges. The reason I came to Crowder was the interaction between teachers and students. I did not want to be in a crowd of sixty-thousand students and not know anyone. I came because of the programs they have (at Crowder)."
He also noted that the other community college he applied to cost about $15,000 more dollars than Crowder.
In closing, Methvin commented on the two young men. "You can see that these two gentlemen are leaders on campus."