By Adam Reno
“It’s important to develop yourself outside of the classroom and outside your academics so in that way you can be successful in the workforce and in society. So learning how to lead yourself to the best of your ability will help you to be successful professionally and personally.” – Becky Lindley
The Office of Student Development has a series of programs for students who wish to develop their leadership skills so as to effectively act as leaders. There are three levels; the first, called “The Emerge Program,” enables younger and older students to come together four times in 4 weeks to develop themselves personally. Here they learn about leadership and how to become better leaders themselves. The second level is “Develop”, and the third is “Advance”. These programs help the students come together, become more cohesive and grow stronger.
Becky Lindley, Coordinator of Commuter Affairs in Leadership, described the program; “The design of the program is meant to be for new and developing leaders who are just starting to learn about how to become leaders and about themselves as leaders. So the point of the program is to go through different activities and sessions to learn about leadership skills. This includes learning what your leadership style, strengths and weaknesses are as well as how you make goals for yourself.
The activities planned for the group in “Emerge” this semester included brainstorming which qualities might be important to leadership, identifying your personal leadership qualities, and coordinating with other people to help develop new ideas. The website online states that, the students will learn about “Personality Assessment, Leadership Styles, Self-Trust, Evaluation Strengths & Challenges, Communication, Basic Teamwork and Self-Assessment.” The development of these skills is what helps people mature. Potentially they will help change the world and solve its current problems.
The program accomplishes this with a methodology that keeps the students actively engaged. “It’s not the type of program where you sit and get lectured at, you actually do activities in it and I think they enjoy doing that and they have fun while they’re learning.” said Lindley.
The students in the “Emerge” program vary from year to year, but this year the participants are mainly freshman, according to Lindley. “It’s very interesting because they’re just getting used to what college is all about and going to different programs.” They are connecting with people, most of them they have never met before, and growing to realize how they will be able to construct their own leadership skills and help each other out at the same time.
The students who are learning from the “Emerge” program are growing as a unit, and many of them are already starting to develop themselves and be more outgoing in their activities. “I am aware of some of the participants that are in the process of starting a new club. I also know of another participant who is on the executive board of another club and I know of another person who is in multiple different activities on campus, so it is encouraging people to get involved and be leaders at Fitchburg State. So it is still a little early to tell, but it is heading in the right direction.” said Lindley.
People should take note of the “Emerge” program and its potential benefits. When people get out in the real world, they should have the resources to make the world a better place. People who learn from the Emerge program and the more advanced programs are growing to become adults who care for and want to share good ideas with others.
Lindley has said that she learned something too. “What I’ve learned is that there are different kinds of leaders and that everyone develops at a different pace and with a different style. But it is important to get to know each and every individual leader personally; to find out what their passions are and encourage them to go for them in any way that is the most successful for them. Having that support and being there for students is something that I’ve always known would be proven through this program. I’ve seen a lot of people be successful from participating in this and that’s the ultimate goal.”