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Leadership Summit Reflections

by Brooke Parsons, SGA President

On September 30, 2011, the Campus Center had a great flurry of activity. At 4:15, a bus pulled up in front of the Rondelieu Campus Center full of Stonehill College student leaders looking to gain new knowledge and joining fellow students here at BSU. I was sitting outside of the large ballroom, checking students in until the event started. This event happens once a year, and I have been involved with it for three. As a student leader, most would think that the leadership summit only offers programs for those who are looking to get into the field. This is definitely a common misconception. The summit offers a wealth of knowledge to all that attend. Not only do you learn how to become a leader, but you also learn how to hone your leadership skills, gain new knowledge to pass onto others, and learn how to organize your everyday life.

The leadership summit offers different breakout sessions every year. All of these sessions vary by subject. The two breakout sessions that I had attended at last week’s summit were a Roundtable about Careers in Student Affairs, and Expand your Leadership through Technology. The two breakout sessions that I attended we completely different from each other and also very different from the rest of the sessions that were also held. Some of the other sessions that were held included Team Building and Delegation: How and When to Empower People, Professionalism, Shared Visions: Collaborative Leadership at Work, and Building Buzz. These are not even half of what was held at the summit, and all provided different resources to everyone.

At about halfway through the summit, dinner was served and a keynote speaker was presented. This leader was a Bridgewater State alum and had a resonating lecture. Dr. Maura Cullen spoke about Diversity in Education and Social Justice. She talked about how everyone should be treated as an equal and what we can do to get the world thinking that way. Dr. Cullen’s speech was not only empowering but also provided that “ah-ha” moment to many in the room.  Dr. Cullen held your attention throughout the entire lecture, and kept all material fun, and was able to relate it all to each and every person in the room. This was especially noteworthy because the material was such a strong and powerful subject.

As the night neared end, the students of Stonehill College and Bridgewater State University came together one last time in the large ballroom. The closing session also resonated through the room as Kelly Burne and Joanna Darrigo, the two graduate assistants of OSIL, took the stage and presented Be the Change.  These two women stood at the entrances of the Ballroom and gave everyone a strip of paper. On this piece of paper, we were asked to write a random act of kindness that happened to them on that day. Throughout their presentation, these random acts were read aloud and related to the material being covered.

Moral: The leadership summit is a way to connect to other people just like you. It mentors you to achieve your highest standards, and find peace in helping others achieve their goals.

Effective Leadership?

Wordle: Leadership

by Matt Miller, Assistant Director for Programming, Student Involvement and Leadership

To start off, I have to share my own personal excitement for social media week and I hope you have taken advantage of all the great programs this week!  So on to the topic of the day.  The Blogfest topic of the day is leadership, with a focus on what “effective leadership” means to me.  When I think of the phrase effective leadership, two words come to mind that I want to focus on – vision and motivation.

Vision – To me, ability to lead is great, but unless you have somewhere you are leading others, there isn’t really much point.  When someone has a vision, whether for themselves, their job or their organization, I believe they are often more productive and more effective.  I have had the pleasure of working with numerous student leaders while working here at BSU and although they all had their strengths, the ones with a clear vision and view of the future were often the best leaders.  A vision can be for any length of time, or can connect to a small project or to a whole organization.  Planning ahead and creating a vision of what you want the outcome to be is a great way to help you or your group reach that goal.

Motivation – You can break this into two main parts, personal motivation and motivation of others.  If you have a vision you are most likely going to be more effective then without one, but personal motivation is going to get you there.  I hear great ideas all the time, but many people are not self-motivated to accomplish or take on those ideas.  Often you can’t take it all on by yourself, especially when you are trying to make changes within an organization or plan an event as a group, then you have to motivate others.  Many leaders just expect others to work with them, to follow, and then complain when those they were working with walk away.  Especially when working with a group of fellow volunteers you have to keep them motivated – motivated to be there, motivated to do work, motivated to work toward your shared vision.

Although there are many other aspects to being an effective leader, I think that these two are pretty important. When setting a vision for a group, it’s always good to have your own, but make sure you create a shared one that everyone can also agree on, then help motivate each other to accomplish it.

What do you think?  What characteristics would you say are require for effective leadership?  Have you had any successes or challenges relating to setting a vision or motivating others that you would want to share?

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