The Walter Scott, Jr. Community Leadership Challenge is designed to enhance leadership and problem-solving skills among high-achieving high school seniors who live in Nebraska.

During the weekend conference and workshop, you’ll explore the components, meaning and importance of community while using design thinking to solve real-world, community-based problems.

What to Expect

  • Dates: We have two Community Leadership Challenges planned for the 2024-25 academic year!
    • First: Friday, November 15 (evening) through the morning of Sunday, November 17, 2024
    • Second: Friday, January 31 (evening) through the morning of Sunday, February 2, 2025
  • Location: Hastings College and downtown Hastings
  • Deadline to apply: TBD
  • Application requirements: Activity resume, a 500-word essay, optional video, submitted an application for admissions to Hastings College
  • Exclusive: 20 high school seniors from Nebraska will be selected to participate.

Why Participate?

  • Develop skills: Enhance your leadership, teamwork and critical thinking skills.
  • Scholarship opportunities: Up to seven students will be selected for the Hastings College Scott Scholars program, which includes a scholarship that covers 100 percent of tuition, fees and room and board. Other scholarships may also be awarded.
  • Network building: Connect with leaders and like-minded students to begin growing your network.
  • Community impact: Tackle community-centered problems ranging from economic to social to developmental issues.

Event Highlights

  • Engaging workshops: Learn about design thinking and its application to real-world problems.
  • Inspiring speakers: Connect with influential leaders sharing insights on engaged citizenship and community leadership.
  • Project showcase: Present and solve community problems, with the chance to be recognized by Nebraska leaders in partnership with Hastings College.


  • All-inclusive: The conference covers housing, meals and transportation (if needed) to the Hastings College campus.
  • Housing: Selected students will stay in a Hastings hotel, two students per room. Adult chaperones will be present at the hotel.
  • No fees: There is no fee to apply.

How to Apply

If you’re a high-achieving high school senior in Nebraska with a passion for leadership and community impact, apply today! 

The application for the 2024-25 Community Leadership Challenge will open in the fall.

Application Details

  • Activities resume: Share your academic honors and involvement in athletics, activities, service, jobs and other areas.
  • Essay: You’ll need to provide a 500-word essay that answers at least one of the following prompts:
    • What does community mean to you?
    • What role do you believe you play in a community?
    • How has your community impacted you personally? And if it hasn’t, why do you believe that is?
  • Video (optional): Submit a link to a video you created that answers this question: How have you been involved in your community, and what change do you want to make?
    • Prepare a 3-5 minute video touring and/or exploring these concepts.
    • This could mean videoing what you believe are the most impactful places in your hometown and the role you play within them.
    • Be creative, think about what you want to see in your community that you can be a part of.
    • Make sure the video is accessible by anyone with the link
  • GPA and test scores: You’ll self-report these but there are no GPA or test score requirements. Scores will also be excluded from those selecting participants.
  • Academic interests: Students pursuing any major in college are welcome to apply.
  • Apply to Hastings: To be considered for the challenge, you must submit your application to Hastings College if you have not already.

We will notify selected students by: TBD.

Your participation in the Walter Scott, Jr. Community Leadership Challenge is a step towards shaping a brighter future for Nebraska. We look forward to seeing the amazing work you do!

Our Partners

Thank you to the City of Hastings, the Hastings Chamber of Commerce, the Hastings Economic Development Corporation, the Hastings Community Redevelopment Authority, the Hastings Community Foundation, and the Suzanne and Walter Scott Foundation.

What about Bronco Scholars Day?

The Walter Scott, Jr. Community Leadership Challenge is separate from Hastings College Bronco Scholars Day events. Students who meet academic requirements for Bronco Scholars Day (those who have received a Crimson or Ambassador scholarship) are still encouraged to register for Bronco Scholars Day.


Contact Dave Rippe, director of the Scott Scholars Program, at

You can also reach out to your admissions counselor or the Hastings College Admissions Office or 402.461.7315.