First-year students attend leadership workshops on campus
Centre has long produced student leaders, and with leadership workshops currently underway on campus, it’s clear that this tradition will persist.
For the second year, the Student Life Office has arranged a series of four workshops on leadership, which began on Oct. 25 and will continue consecutively every Tuesday until the final session on Nov. 15.
“For a long time, our office wanted to offer a co-curricular look — as opposed to an academic one — at leadership. We brainstormed with our staff mainly in order to answer the question, ‘What do you wish all students that you work with knew?’” says Student Life Coordinator Laura Pasley. “From there, we came up with four topics for the sessions: Personal Leadership Awareness, Ethical Leadership, Effective Communication and Turning a Vision into Action.”
To participate, students were nominated by members of the faculty or staff as good candidates for the workshops. This year, 38 students accepted the offer to attend the leadership sessions, which focus on an array of subjects.
James Barnard, associate director of annual giving, gave a presentation at the first session on personal brands and common characteristics found in strong leaders.
“One example we drew upon was Centre’s very own President Roush, whose personal brand is well-defined and instantly recognizable across campus, which contributes to make him a strong leader,” Barnard says. “The discussion was designed to encourage the students to think about their own strengths and how they might capitalize on them and use them to their advantage.”
Executive Director for the Norton Center Steve Hoffman will be presenting at the session focusing on Turning a Vision into Action, where he will discuss how to implement goals.
“I try to show students how to take an idea to execution — how to get from setting goals and objectives to implementation, which has a very practical application. I use those skills with my job every single day,” Hoffman says. “The entire program starts to set the stage so that once a student graduates — or even before then — they’ll have developed skills and have notions of what to do when they’re someday put in a leadership position.”
While the workshops were open to any student nominated in the past, this year’s sessions focus solely on first-years. Other students on campus, however, have also been involved.
“We incorporated upper-class student leaders into the workshops so that they can use their breadth of experiences to be role models for the first-year men and women,” Pasley says. “Further, each session incorporates a member of the faculty or staff who can also give personal experiences and wisdom as part of the session.”
Student Activities Council President Sara Muren ’12 has participated in the workshops in the hopes that she can impart some advice to the students attending.
“My involvement has been primarily as a resource for these young leaders — to be a fellow student who has experience in leadership positions on campus,” she says. “The unique obstacles to being an effective leader can sometimes arise spontaneously, but by learning some of these challenges at the outset of their leadership experience, these first-years will be well-equipped and way ahead of the game.”
Muren believes the sessions have given the Centre first-years confidence and experience that will benefit them in the long run.
“It seems like the most fulfilling aspect of these workshops would be a sense of empowerment they are gaining. Centre students are sharp, and it typically just takes placing the right tools in the right hands to have amazing ideas and visions come to fruition,” Muren says. “These students are gaining a sense that they are the future leaders of the College.”
“There are some important lessons to learn in these workshops that are not necessarily part of the in-classroom curriculum,” Barnard says. “The sessions are not so much about teaching academically as they are about encouraging students to think about how they will approach the leadership roles that will inevitably fall upon them in the future.”