Learn more about student leadership opportunities
You might be surprised at how many ways your student can get involved in leadership roles at WWU.
“Millennials are more driven in leadership based on interests and issues,” says Joanne DeMark, WWU’s leadership development specialist and director of the Leadership Advantage Program.
“They’ll get connected, or they’ll create it."
They’re motivated to lead not only to build valuable, resume-building skills, but because they want to have a real impact on the world around them, says DeMark, who holds a doctorate in psychology.
So if a club they want to join doesn’t even exist yet, DeMark says, socially networked college students aren’t afraid of starting it themselves.
“They’ll get connected, or they’ll create it,” she says. “Anytime you have three to five students with the same interest, you’re about to have a leadership opportunity.”
For families and students thinking about leadership at WWU, here are a few places to see some examples:
- Western’s Leadership Advantage Program offers a clearing house of resources for students to learn more about leadership.
- Associated Students leaders range from elected officials to students who organize concerts through AS productions. Students who are passionate about a cause might find a home in an AS Resource and Outreach Program. Or, they might find kindred spirits in an AS Club.
- Student Affairs “paraprofessional” student leaders, including assistants at orientation, lifestyle advisers for Prevention and Wellness Services, and peer advisers in the Academic and Career Development Services Center.
- Colleges and departments offer leadership opportunities, too, from student chapters of professional organizations, student leaders in academic centers and institutes, to service learning opportunities that take classroom concepts into the community.
Pursuing leadership roles on campus is an important part of students’ education, DeMark says. Working in clubs, college departments, or other organizations teaches skills students will use their whole lives.
“You learn skills when you’re working in a team, when you have to do project planning, when you organize an event,” she says.
Plus, today’s students will be graduating at a time when a large number of baby boomers are retiring, leaving behind a “leadership void” that will best be filled by young people with solid leadership skills.
“So students who graduate in their discipline with documented leadership skills will be better met for the rest of their lives with opportunities,” she says.