Leadership Day 2012!

Isaak Kifle

Whether they know it or not, every student at UNH has been impacted by, or at least interacted with, a “student leader.” The term itself is something that everyone has likely heard at some point on campus, although not everyone may understand what that means. Students that live on-campus have had questions answered by their Resident Assistant (RA), members of clubs and organizations interact with and learn from the members of that club’s executive board (E-Board), and students that have struggled academically, socially or personally at the university may have received support from a mentor. Student leaders work hard to support other students, help make their organizations excel, and serve as positive role models on campus and in the community, which requires a constant learning process on how best to achieve these goals.

Every year, the Office of Student Activities, along with the Office of Residential Life and the Undergraduate Student Government Association (USGA) holds Leadership Day, a day before the start of the spring semester where student leaders come together to develop and refine their leadership skills. This year, on Tuesday, January 17, while most students were still enjoying the last days of winter break, a large group of students gathered in the Alumni Lounge and Kaplan Hall to participate in a series of presentations and roundtable discussions on topics related to leadership.

Student leaders in attendance included RAs, Academic Peer Mentors (APMs), First-Year Mentors, Diversity Peer Educators (DPEs), members of the LEGOS leadership program, and the E-Boards of a multitude clubs and organizations, as well as various other leaders on campus. They ranged from freshmen preparing to enter into leadership positions on campus, to sophomores and juniors climbing the ladder of leadership further, and finally to seniors gaining skills to prepare them to lead out in the world. While attendees also varied in major, background, club/organization or group represented, and nearly every other criteria imaginable, everyone had one thing in common: the desire and drive to lead and improve the campus and community around them.

Lisa Saverese, Assistant Director of Student Activities and one of the driving forces behind Leadership Day, brought together a team of presenters from various offices on campus, as well as a special guest as the keynote speaker. The day began with President Kaplan and Rebecca Johnson, Dean of Students, welcoming everyone, reminding attendees of the importance they have in their various roles as student leaders and how they all serve as role models to others. The first set of presentations included: “The Best That They Can” by Shannon Jackson, Psy.D., M.S.Ed, Associate Director of Counseling and Psychological Services, “Event Planning: What You Need to Know to Plan a Successful Event” by Mario Pierce, Conference Services Coordinator, “Charger Connection 101” by Andrew Mayer, Student Activities Office Coordinator, and “Creating Inclusive Events using Universal Design” by Crystal Hill, Assistant Director of Campus Access Services. After having lunch, everyone took part in rotating round table discussions moderated by students, with topics that included how to get people to events, programming ideas, working with a small budget, dealing with stress, time management, and a few others.

The next set of presentations consisted of: “A Case Study on Leadership Styles” by Brian Carlton, Resident Director of Sheffield Hall, “What are Safe Zones?” by Wanda Tyler, Director of Intercultural Relations, “Let Social Media Work for You… for Free!” by Tiffany Green, Student Success Coach in the First-Year Success Center, and “How Well Are You?” by Michelle Scott, Assistant Director of Campus Recreation. The final set of presentations were: “The Comfort Zone” by Chris Reid, Resident Director of Bixler Hall, “Nutrition: Health=Happiness” by Carolina Marrero, Resident Director of Botwinik Hall, and “Event Planning for Success: Get the Word Out” by Aschlee Cole, Student Success Coach in the First-Year Success Center.

For the final event of the day, everyone gathered into the Alumni Lounge for the keynote speaker: Jack Gottlieb. As Director of Campus Impact & Team Performance for Collegiate EmPowerment as well as a Certified Collegiate EmPowerment Coach, Jack has presented seminars to 1.5 million college students in over 2,100 universities across North America.

Speaking to the crowd of students at Leadership Day, he explained that organizing and leading a group of people into achieving a goal requires an integrated process of imagination, inspiration, association, and application. Taking risks will be necessary, as will having passion and giving all of your effort, as Jack put it: “The mind never forgets what the heart remembers.” At the end of the day, everyone walked out of the Alumni Lounge better prepared to serve the students, clubs and organizations on campus, and the community as a whole. Leadership Day was a fun and educational experience for everyone involved, which will means it will be a benefit to everyone on campus. A huge thank-you to Lisa Saverese and everyone who presented for making the day one to remember!