On Friday, Oct. 18, Muhlenberg had its first “Fall Foundations Leadership Fair,” where different student groups gathered to discuss potential leadership positions on campus. Some of these groups included Orientation Leaders, Tour Guides and members of student government.
“In my time here at Muhlenberg, there [have] been questions from students who say they’ve missed opportunities because they didn’t see flyers or they didn’t see emails,” explained Jan Schumacher, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Director of Student Engagement and one of the organizers of the event. “So this is supposed to be a nice way to showcase opportunities that students can take advantage of on campus during their time here.”
“The focus on this is trying to really look at the leadership-specific pieces, positions that really require that leadership experience,” said Shumacher, describing how the Leadership Fair differed from the Student Involvement Fair held in August.
Many students who were representing different groups on campus spoke of the impact that being a leader on campus had on them.
“Part of the Presidential Assistant (PA) position is that you are a part-time student part-time employee of the College,” explained Gabrielle Baum ‘20, a PA for Housing and Residence Life. “So what that means is you work 20 hours a week. Through this opportunity it’s really nice to be able to have that work experience as well as to also be a student and still enjoy both sides of the equation. It’s really allowed me to learn a lot of new skill sets, be a leader in the office with the employees that I work with [and] get ready for what may come after for next year.”
“I feel like I reached a point in my time as a student where I wanted a greater purpose here, and I found that doubling up with working for the school, applying what it had given me and in a way giving it back,” said Laura Diorio ‘20 who is also a PA and works in the Office of Communications. “I feel as if I act as a bridge for students and this office specifically…It definitely prepares me best for the kind of work that I do want to do post-grad and what I don’t want to do.”
“Being a leader on campus is just all about getting the community together and having all the students get their resources from credible sources from…students who have been trained in specific areas”
“I am working right now as the Presidential Assistant for religious life mostly based in Hillel and Jewish life on campus. It’s really fun for me to get to see students engaging with a part of their community and get excited about it,” said Zoe Spiegel ‘20. “We have a lot of new freshmen coming in who are in a new place, trying to find their friends, their interests and everything, and to get to offer something familiar for them but still new and something that [they] can be interested in and be a part of, it’s cool to be a part of that.”
Involvement with religious life is another way students can find leadership opportunities on campus.
“I’ve been a part of the interfaith group since I was a freshman here on campus, and it’s blossomed into sort of a leadership role just by the nature of my interest in it,” said Marta Rardin ‘20.
Rardin also explained some of the other benefits of being a leader, saying, “For me the greatest part about being a leader is seeing different people come together and enjoy each other’s company…really learn from each other and us all to increase our knowledge.”
Other students also explained the impact being a leader has had on them.
Michael Bonaddio ‘20 explained how his involvement in the Cardinal Key Society, which consists of student-alumni ambassadors who help plan campus events, has impacted his time at the College.
Bonaddio ‘20 said, “I got involved in the Cardinal Key just because I really want to help out the campus. I want to give back to the students by helping out when they’re here as well as when they graduate because we’re direct liaisons between the current student body and the alumni. I’ve gotten a lot out of it. I’ve learned a lot of different skills in myself. I’ve learned that I am able to delegate to others.”
Emily Kapelsohn ‘20 is currently the Tour Guide Coordinator and the president of her sorority, Phi Mu. She talked about her leadership in these programs, sharing that “in the tour guide program I manage about 90 people and in Phi Mu about 70, and being able to just work with that many people and manage them and take care of all the different things…the communication skills and the other things that I’ve learned have been really incredible, and [they’ve] been definitely the most fun things that I’ve been a part of.”
Lauren Padko ‘20 talked about the importance of some campus groups such as Voices of Strength, which focuses on domestic and gender-based violence, and Peer Health Advocates at Muhlenberg (PHAM), in which members act as peer educators on campus.
“I feel like I reached a point in my time as a student where I wanted a greater purpose here, and I found that doubling up with working for the school, applying what it had given me and in a way giving it back”
“Being a leader on campus is just all about getting the community together and having all the students get their resources from credible sources from…students who have been trained in specific areas,” added Padko.
First-year students who attended the fair were able to learn about opportunities on campus that they may not have been aware of, and many plan to apply for different positions as a result of attending the fair.
“I looked a lot into the tour guide and RA programs, and I learned about the different things about what the expectations are,” said Abigail Lofton ‘23. “I plan on applying to be a tour guide, and I’m considering being an RA.”
Elle Holzhauer ‘23 was also interested in being an RA, among other positions.
“I would also like to be a part of the Alliance for Justice Active Leadership winter break experience,” said Holzhauer. “Discussing leadership and social change away from school sounds incredible.”
Holzhauer added, “I learned that there are so many more opportunities for leadership than I was previously aware of and that leadership at Muhlenberg is in no way elitist. If you want to succeed in a leadership role, Muhlenberg is here to grant you the resources.”