Want to Become a Student Leader? Here’s How!
By: Noel Lopez
Want to know how to become a leader here at Marymount University? Positions like Community Assistant, Orientation Leader, Peer Mentor, and Student Ambassador are the four student leadership positions offered at Marymount University. However, there are more ways of becoming a leader through clubs, work positions, athletics, and programs. Being a leader can be described in so many different ways from the usual examples portrayed in the media. Anyone can be a leader in their respective skills and traits which make us unique.
Obtaining one of the four student leadership positions is a significant accomplishment as they are very competitive amongst students. The reason they are so competitive is because students receive a stipend granting them money off their tuition or check to spend. Some may not realize becoming a leader is more than just obtaining a check. Being a leader allows students to become what is known as the “Face of Marymount.”
The Face of Marymount as student leaders are referred to are individuals presenting and representing Marymount. This is important in order for our community to keep growing. Student leaders are on the frontline to showcase new and current students on what it means to be a part of the community. Involving and inspiring students to be more active are the responsibilities of Student leaders.
Lana Milligan is a senior, majoring in Psychology and the positions she used to hold here at Marymount University were Dance Captain and Orientation Leader. When asked what was her favorite aspect of being both a student and leader here at Marymount, Lana Milligan expressed, “I think its really fun, I especially like it because we’re such a small campus already knowing everybody and becoming a leader here you are able to be in touch more with students. It’s an easier way to connect with people and it feels more like you are in a community that way.”
The Orientation Leader Role is to help assist New Student Orientation in the fall and spring semesters prior to the university opening for classes. They make students want to feel welcomed and be part of the community. The bonus of becoming an Orientation Leader is receiving a one thousand dollar stipend.
Peer Mentors can be similar to a teacher assistant as their purpose is to help students in Discover classes throughout the semester to be adjusted to university life. Peer Mentors are to aid freshmen and transfer students to be more familiarized with the resources available to them on campus. Peer Mentors are given a stipend in the fall and possibly spring semester of money to use for any expenses.
Community Assistant has now become the new Residential Adviser where they not only help oversee dorm life but are meant to unite residential students from the entire campus. They provide support to those mentally struggling to balance life away from their homes. Community Assistants are granted free room and board off their tuition as their position requires to oversee dormitory life every day.
Tait Brooks is the Assistant Director of Residential Programs of the Office of Student Living. Brooks describes the structure and module have changed for Community Assistant as they used to work individually. However that has changed this year, Brooks explains, “I took the initiative to change the program model to now work in teams. We have three residential buildings Ostapenko, Butler, and Rowley each of the CA’s in those halls are now a team and they rotate CA leads each month to put together all of these programs.” In addition to the last statement made, Brooks adds in “Last semester the CA’s in Osta worked together with the CA leads to make a program about relationship abuse and interpersonal violence which is really important to know.” Brooks notes “Community Assistants are learning to be leaders among leaders.”
Student Ambassadors are tour guides welcoming in potential students looking to commit to Marymount University. Their role is really important as they might be the first face students and families see here at Marymount welcoming them into the possible community they might be a part of in the future. Ambassadors obtain eight hundred dollars off their tuition in the fall and spring semester of employment.
Although these are the four main student leadership positions there other opportunities to become a leader here at Marymount. First is joining clubs that Marymount has plenty to be a part of in the community. Each club works differently than others in how they are structured. Clubs have goals towards what they represent in each demographic. Second, Student Government helps student voices to have more of an active role in the community. Third is athletics where student-athletes must be able to cooperate teamwork and motivate each other to become better players. Fourth, work positions involve taking the initiative to have tasks done responsibly, communicatively, and in an organized way.
Diana Vazquez is the Events Manager for the Department of Student Engagement here at Marymount University. When working with clubs, Vazquez stated, “I help with the logistics of student organization programming and I am connected with most of the active student clubs.” Clubs have different goals and positions to create a community of students interested in the same topic. Vazquez detailed the potential members in each club, “Student-President, Student Vice-President, Club Secretary and Club Public Relations Representative. Each club is different, we encourage if a club is able to make up their eboard and if they have multiple members to represent the same position to grow.” In other words, only two people can share one position together during their term as an active role member in the club. Seniors are no longer to be active members for their last year in the club but are more than welcomed to volunteer and assist the new members.
MUENGAGE is a website that enables students to have access to see all of the organizations, clubs, and athletic program events coming soon. Attending events builds engagement with students and staff here at Marymount University. This allows you to build relationships, networking skills, and the ability to be inspired by student leaders.
Anne Aichele is in the transition of a new title here at Marymount University known as “Senior Director of Transition, Inclusion, and Leadership” and her past title was “Director, Student Leadership and Learning.” Aichele states, “We are trying to build strong teams that will provide good support, guidance, and leadership for other students.” Marymount University offers programs to help students seek out involvement on campus. Furthermore, when asked about programs made available for students, Aichele explains, “We are always trying to have students start small clubs, possibly work their way up to Association of Campus Events or Student Government to work on more responsibility.” When speaking with Aichele about programs on specifically leadership training, she details “In the fall there was a leadership workshop training series that was about seven to eight weeks long. Students can opt into the mini-meeting information sessions for hirings in resume, interview skills, and meet other students that were in those leadership positions.” Continuing on in the spring terms there is another available workshop for all students to be a part of in Marymount University that was eleven weeks long. Aichele describes the overall process, “What we did was collaborate with other departments to push their students, so all hired student leaders, work scholars, student employees, club leaders, students in the judicial system had to attend those to really populate that, so people can understand that things exist and that it’s out there.”
For those wondering about the judicial system, it is where a board of students are in charge of handling cases that involve students breaking Marymount University Academic, Inclusion, and Title IX policies. This results in a committee to vote what happens to students here at Marymount University.
In order to apply for these leadership positions, students must attend one information session that gives a brief summary of each leadership role. From there the student must ask for two letters of recommendation from one student leader and one staff/faculty worker. Then on Handshake is where students will be able to apply for the position, but make sure to have a resume available for the application process. Having a resume is important as it will provide documentation of accomplishments, work-life and skills learned through the years of High School and College. This all happens in the springtime and the interview session is an all-day event that consists of group activities and individual sessions.
Training takes place around the end of the semester to build critical thinking, network, and interpersonal skills for future preparation for the next school semester in the fall. However, student leaders must come back again for fall training in August to keep working on expanding those skills. Another purpose of that training is to make bonds with other student leaders.
Even if you do not get the position there are still plenty of opportunities to be involved here at Marymount. Likewise being involved with clubs is a great step to get involved according to Aichele. People might think leaders are only extroverted people. Aichele gave some advice to all students about being a leader. She said, “Don’t pretend something you’re not. I think it’s important students understand there isn’t one ideal prototype leader. You’re a good leader if you recognize that you can make your strengths work for you.”
Sarah Mcdonald is a senior, math, and economics major currently the position she holds is Student Government President. In the past, Mcdonald was also a Residential Advisor and Peer Mentor. Mcdonald’s advice to all students was, “Think about the future, we get really attached to these leadership positions but I think what’s also important is that you’re only going to be at Marymount for so long.” Furthermore, she added, “I think it’s important to create impact here but don’t lose track of what you are going to do after graduation.”
Self Care is important and leaders sometimes forget that because of their compassion to create a welcoming environment for all students. Nonetheless, leaders are always students but sometimes leaders need guidance as well. At the end of the day, we all forget to keep sight of our goals and potential passion that motivate us to become more inspired students.
Student Leaders are an important aspect to the Marymount community working with a positive spirit and having the interpersonal skills needed for the position. The staff here provide plenty of opportunities to grow as a student and leader here to make sure you are on the best path to success. Being a leader at Marymount University provides many opportunities and memories here in your undergraduate time.