“Being a leader means being a role model, a goal setter, a manager and even sometimes, a mother.”
“Leaders must take team members’ opinions into consideration, and encourage them to be the best they can be.”
“There is no better way to grow than to gain experience leading others to group unity and achievement.”
These are what some of the junior and senior students at Gannon believe makes and are responsibilities of leaders. These students are learning how to be better leaders themselves, each of them taking Leadership Seminar, one of the required classes at Gannon University.
College offers many opportunities to not only become involved in a plethora of extracurricular activities, but to be a leader in them, especially as an upperclassman. Indeed, it is part of Gannon’s mission statement to offer a learning-experience that emphasizes leadership, and Gannon rises to that mission.
Beyond learning how to lead in a classroom setting, students can go out and experience leadership for themselves. Beth Shick is the director of the Student Organizations and Leadership Development (SOLD) Office.
According to Shick, “The mission of the SOLD Office complements the mission of the university by creating involvement opportunities and environments that inspire students to become active members of the campus.”
From event and meeting approvals, to helping start new clubs, to managing EngageU – the club management system – Shick interacts with student leaders on a daily basis. In fact, the students quoted above are from the Leadership Seminar she teaches.
She believes that a successful student leader has the drive and passion to accomplish goals, good listening skills, willingness to delegate tasks, and does what they say they’re going to do.
What makes Gannon a unique place to be a leader in her opinion? “The SGA President is a member of the Board of Trustees.”
Luke King is the President of the Student Government Association (SGA) for the 2013-2014 school year. A senior biology/pre-med major, King has also been a leader in Pi Kappa Alpha social fraternity, Beta Beta Beta biology honors fraternity and as an orientation advisor.
“Growing up in a family of 10 children, it can be difficult to emerge as a leader. I took on leadership roles on the collegiate level because I wanted the opportunity to be more confident, assertive and productive among my peers.”
King believes it’s unique to be a leader at Gannon because of the countless leadership opportunities, as well as the investment of the faculty and staff into student well-being and growth. He encourages incoming students to, “Be courageous! This is your time. At the end of your time here at Gannon, regardless of the number of leadership opportunities you take on, you will see such tremendous personal growth in yourself.”
King has long been a leader in SGA with another King by his side. Megan King is the Vice-President of Clubs and Organizations for SGA. Part of her job includes overseeing Gannon’s Ongoing Leadership Development Conference, or G.O.L.D. Conference.
The G.O.L.D. Conference began after students attended the National Conference for Student Leaders in Orlando, Florida, explained Megan. The G.O.L.D. Conference is now an annual event at Gannon, and includes keynote speakers and breakout sessions around leadership, as well as dinner, a raffle and prizes. This year’s theme is “Strengthen the Leader Within You.” Expecting nearly 180 students in attendance the conference, “provides an awesome opportunity for students to attend a leadership conference that is not only right here on campus, but is also free,” said Megan.
From classes, to clubs, to conferences, Gannon provides the experience students need to become leaders, experiences that will carry over into life after college. And with mayors, United States Ambassadors, state representatives, and CEOs counting themselves among alumni, it’s clear that those experiences are leading students forward.