Quinnipiac molding future leaders

Karla Robator

Emerging Leaders and Collaborative Leaders are the two current leadership programs for incoming freshmen and sophomores at Quinnipiac.

The Student Center and Student Leadership Development is providing the students with the opportunities to become more effective leaders in the Quinnipiac University community, and to carry the skills and experiences throughout their lives.

Kathleen Swift, freshman and physician’s assistant major, is one of the 20-30 students that participate in the Emerging Leaders program.

“I chose to participate in the Emerging Leaders program in the Fall of 2003 because I thought it would be a great way to meet people who have similar interests as me, as well as prepare for other leadership positions,” Swift said.

“I think getting involved at QU is very important, especially as a freshman.”

Swift is also the vice president of the freshman class, and will be an RA in Commons next year.

“Emerging Leaders is an introductory element designed for students to become self-aware. Individuals who are aware of their thoughts, feelings, strengths, and weaknesses are well prepared to succeed in a variety of leadership experiences,” Swift said.

The Student Center describes the program as teaching participants to “reflect on what “leadership” means to them; assess their style and learn about other styles; begin to learn how to balance their time and involvements; start to develop their own goals; learn and practice communication and listening skills; and consider their perspectives about others who are “different” from themselves.”

Collaborative Leaders takes those who have completed the Emerging Leaders program to the next step.

The Collaborative Leaders, working in groups, learn how to facilitate more effectively. They learn how to initiate discussion within a group and how to run meetings.

They also have the opportunity to put into practice what they learn throughout the semester: the students teach the last two sessions of the Emerging Leadership program.

“The programs really emphasize that leadership is much more than a title. The things you learn about aren’t just for leadership, they are lessons for everyday life,” Lauren Arthur, sophomore public relations major, said.

At the end of each session, there is a retreat for the students to partake in.

The Emerging Leaders overnight retreat is facilitated by the Collaborative Leaders and members of faculty including Jeanne Liu, Jodi Bailey and Melany Smith of Residential Life, and Susan Hyde-Wick, Carleen Roy-Butler and Michael Clear of Career Services.

This past March the retreat was held at Camp Jewel.

“We learned from the activities as well as each other, which is what people need to do to live their lives to the fullest: learn from others,” Swift said.

Having been a facilitator as a Collaborative Leader, Arthur could not have asked for a better experience.

“Everyone just clicked and the whole weekend ran smoothly. I became close with so many people in such a short time; that’s an amazing feeling.”

William Davenport, Leadership Program Assistant, encourages students to make the most out of the opportunities provided at Quinnipiac.

“The program depends on the students that come through and what commitment to the program they are willing to make,” Davenport said.

“It is also important to receive feedback from the students in order to meet their needs.”

Davenport is a freshman political science major. He has been involved in leadership programs throughout high school as a member of the Boy Scouts of America.

He has run a council level leadership course, Junior Leadership Training Conference, and has participated in the National Level Training Conference for BSA with students from all over the country as well as parts of the world.

Kerstin Soderlund, director of the Student Center and Student Leadership Development, Ed Kovacs, associate director of the Student Center and Student Leadership Development, and assistant directors Daniel Brown and Scott Hazan are looking forward to adding another level to the leadership program.

It will be running for the first time next year.

“We are creating another level and it will run for the first time next year,” Soderlund said.

Kovacs is involved with a reading club being offered to all students, for the first time at Quinnipiac. The group is currently reading “Tuesdays with Morrie,” by Mitch Albom.

There are leadership themes in the books that the group then discusses with one another. The group currently meets on Monday evenings.

The Quinnipiac University Annual Leadership Conference will next be held Saturday, Oct. 30.