LEAD program not scheduled for next fall

Paulina Firozi

Due to Fall Quarter’s later start date, Elder LEAD, the pre-Wildcat Welcome program for freshmen that began this year, will not be available to incoming students for the 2012-2013 year.

Kimberly Scott, Elder Residential Community’s area coordinator, said because Wildcat Welcome will start on Thursday, Sept. 20, instead of a Monday, it would not allow time to train the staff necessary for LEAD. Scott said she hopes the program will be reinstated the following year.

Scott found the experience to be a positive way to encourage incoming freshmen to fulfill leadership roles on campus she said. More than 75 students participated in LEAD last fall, moving into Elder two days prior to other freshmen and engaging in community building and leadership training activities such as the LeaderShape Catalyst program.

Some students who were a part of LEAD said it was a way for them to bond with other freshmen.

“I found it was a really, really good way to make friends,” Communication freshman Jules Cantor said. “Many of my friends right now are a lot of the friends I made on LEAD. It shaped my year as far as the organizations and groups that I joined. Socially, it was one of the best decisions I made here.”

Community Assistants in Elder also moved in early to help facilitate the program. James Hoover, a Senior CA in Elder, said the program attempts to foster student leaders.

“We wanted to create student leaders early on in the year,” the SESP junior said. “Once we’ve identified them as leaders among their peers, we can hopefully get them interested in hall government and other leadership positions, and they will continue helping their peers.”

Cantor and Weinberg freshman Steven Goldstein said they both felt the program at times lacked structure or programming.

“There was one day of community service and then there was just one leadership workshop that not a lot of people took very seriously at all,” Cantor said. “I happened to enjoy it a lot but I know it didn’t do much for a lot of people. I think if they restructure it, it has a lot of potential.”

Goldstein said he felt many freshmen signed up for the program because of the guarantee of living in Elder for the entire year. Though he said the program didn’t work for him, he said it is something that many people may enjoy.

“Getting a bunch of 18-year-olds who are excited about college and throwing them into a room and preaching leadership is more difficult (to engage freshmen) than maybe some more hands-on things,” he said.

Scott said if the program continues in the future, she will look at student feedback to determine ways to improve LEAD.

“Maybe it could be a year-long commitment where freshman can learn and continue to have conversations about leadership and build relationships and share information,” she said.

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