By: Marisa Chambers
The Fitchburg State Leadership Development Program is designed to inspire individuals to develop the leadership skills necessary to create positive change. Nine student leaders have come together on campus to help students realize their leadership potential. They call themselves the Leadership Council. The mission of the Leadership Council is “providing students the interactive opportunity to develop, advance, and practice various leadership skills that will benefit them as an individual, leader, and citizen.”
With the help of the Associate Dean of Student Development and Housing, Hank Parkinson, students are able to sign up for sessions that will give them various leadership skills that will help them in school, the workplace, and everyday life. These experiences are relatable because they are for students and run by students. Examples of the many skills one will learn by attending a leadership council event are building a resume, working with a difficult coworker, how to be confident as a leader, how to work as a team, and so much more. This is an opportunity that students may have heard of, but not pursue; but this is surely not an opportunity to pass up.
Natalie Bergh is a member of the council, a junior nursing major, and a Volleyball Club member. Bergh spoke about why she is on the council saying, “The past lead council members inspired me to leave my comfort zone and challenge my self limiting beliefs, and as a result I have had so many opportunities that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I am extremely grateful that I had such caring, motivational and selfless role models and I want to be able to help my peers the same way that they helped me.”
Some of the opportunities for students that help them go outside their comfort zone and challenge themselves consist of workshops, retreats, and conferences at completely no cost to students. Jairo Hernandez, another member of the council, President of the American Sign Language Club, Treasurer of Campus Ambassadors Christian Fellowship, Treasurer of TEECA (Technology Education and Engineering Collegiate Association), Resident Assistant, and a tour guide describes the programs more saying, “It offers students a great opportunity in leadership training with the full three part series, each with a retreat, and a community service project. In addition, the conferences open to students which are held every semester. In different ways, students are exposed to a diverse group of people and situations in which they can apply the skills they learn and thus practice and retain them. Also, new this year is Council Events. As part of encouraging leadership skills, the council will host fun events and activities in which students can take part and enjoy all while using the skills learned through the series such as communication, teamwork, and trust.”
Dr. Parkinson, the developer of this entire program, is extremely motivational to both the leadership council and the students he speaks with. He speaks out on what he wants students to take with them after completing one of his programs saying, “I want students to learn something new about themselves and others. I want them to identify their strengths and challenges. I created this program because I believe leadership development is important and that every student can learn to be a leader if they they apply themselves.”
That being said, this should be something students should try at least once, because truly, what do you have to lose? These opportunities are always coming up, so be sure to check your emails from the Office of Student Development for an opportunity that will benefit yourself and your future.
If you are interested in getting involved in the Leadership Council, be sure to check your emails for messages from the Office of Student Development, and sign up for the Emerge Leadership Series here.