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Student organization presidents celebrate their leadership roles with President Lambert

More than 100 student organization presidents attended a Sept. 14 event to celebrate student leadership and provide a platform for meeting fellow leaders.

Center for Leadership Student Organization Development Directors McKay Sutley '17 and Courtney Crowell '16 with President Leo M. Lambert.

More than 100 student organization presidents attended this fall’s Student Organization Presidents’ Dinner on Sept. 14.

The annual event includes a plated dinner, keynote speakers and a discussion activity. The Student Organization Presidents’ Dinner celebrates student leadership and provides a platform to meet fellow leaders and engage in reflection and dialogue to prepare for the school year. The program is a result of preparation from Center for Leaderships Organization Development Directors Courtney Crowell '16 and McKay Sutley '17, CFL Senior Director Kate Sims '16 and support from the Center for Leadership and the President’s Office staff.

The evening began with a welcome from Dana Carnes, associate director of the Center for Leadership. Carnes thanked the students for their service to the Elon community and encouraged them to connect with fellow leaders.

Elon President Leo M. Lambert shared his thoughts on the importance of student leadership. He encouraged the students to be intentional about leadership transitions and inspire new members to make a difference. Lambert elaborated on the concept of servant leadership and non-positional leadership within student organizations. His words motivated and energized the room and left a lasting message of the impact of student leadership.

Avery Steadman '16, SGA president, spoke candidly on her leadership journey. She openly admitted her lack of formal leadership knowledge, yet reflected on her experience with wisdom and genuine emotion. Steadman related leadership to elementary school line leaders and provided a relatable depiction of servant leadership.

"I think a student learns the most from being at the back of the line, where they are not being as closely watched by their teacher, when they learn the most about self-discipline and leading others," Steadman said. "Behaving properly, and encouraging those around them to behave properly, is a sign of true leadership." She related this to her own experience, asserting "my time at Elon as a leader began the moment I stepped on campus."

Students and staff enjoyed a delicious plated dinner as staff and faculty facilitators led each table in a meaningful discussion on leadership and organization development. Organization presidents had the opportunity to share their challenges and provide feedback to help others overcome challenges. It was a collaborative process that generated powerful ideas.

After dinner, Crowell and Sutley shared information about the Center for Leadership’s resources for organizations. They invited students to reach out for help with brainstorming, team building activities, workshops, or programs tailored to specific organizations. Crowell and Sutley also shared information about upcoming Center for Leadership programs such as workshops for student leaders and LEADSTRONG week.

The event concluded with a reflection from Center for Leadership Graduate Assistant Elizabeth Beavers. The student leaders were left with thoughts about their impact on campus, resources for support and appreciation of their hard work.

Click here to learn more about the Center for Leadership’s resources for Student Organization Development or email orgdevelopment@elon.edu.

Dana Pursley,
9/22/2015 4:40 AM