How does one inspire new leadership? By socializing! When I was an incoming freshman, I was very impressionable and very ready to make friends. I wanted to find my place in my new community, and did not want to be left out of anything. That is why when I saw one of the “cool kids”, who seemed to always have someone to hang out with, go to a complex council meeting I knew I had to check this student leadership idea out! Once I went to one of the meetings, I was hooked. The rest of my love story for housing goes on from there, but for this point I will keep on-topic.
The main point is that had it not been for an existing student leader to show interest in myself and others, and show how fun and accepting student leadership can be, there may very well be many less student leaders of today. Knowing this, I try my hardest to exemplify those positive traits as I follow in my role model’s footsteps. Whenever I see a student who looks lost, or just needs someone to sit with while they are eating their lunch; I make an effort to brighten their day. It is the small efforts that we all can easily fit into our daily schedules that will encourage and inspire new leadership throughout not only campus involvement, but involvement in all aspects of life.
Along with this, comes a positive attitude. The idea of encouraging student leadership through social means only works when the student leader who is promoting the idea has a positive attitude themselves. If I had seen a grumpy person who did not include people in activities go to a complex council meeting, I would never have had the desire to attend one myself and see what an amazing opportunity it was. To recap, it is the welcoming and socially accepting attitude of already existing student leaders who encourage new leadership throughout campus life.
Lastly, I believe it is the role of the student leaders’ supervisors to encourage the student leaders to act this way. Had the student leader who encouraged me to get involved worked for a negative or stress-creating supervisor, he may not have had the excitement or energy to reach out to me the way he did. Simply put, involvement and leadership alike stems from a long chain of people being motivated by their superiors or people they look up to. If one person in the chain becomes negative, the chain is broken. This may seem like a lot of pressure or responsibility, and sometimes it is, but it is totally worth it when you see that new student leader emerge and you know you played a key role in making that happen.
Spencer Willson is currently a junior studying political science at Texas Tech University, a 2nd year Community Advisor for University Student Housing, and the NRHH chapter president.