After the weekend ended, I got ready for our LEAP closing event: LEAP Graduation, on Tuesday.
I have been involved with the LEAP program (a leadership development program for first-year students through the Leadership and Ethics Institute) since the spring of my freshman year, then I became a mentor during my sophomore year, and this year I served as one of the LEAP co-chairs with Ryan and Jimmy, helping to make LEAP happen! The fall semester involved a lot of planning and scheduling as well as selecting the first year students who would participate and the student leaders who would serve as their peer mentors. Then this semester, we saw it all unfold, Tuesday after Tuesday for eight weeks in the Glenn Maloney Room, on the ground floor of the Student Services Building from 3:30-5 p.m. always starting with some mingling time, then a prominent speaker would give a presentation on a topic relevant to leadership.
We had the pleasure to have and interact with Dr. Juan Gonzales, vice president for student affairs; Dr. Soncia Reagins-Lilly, dean of students; Dr. John Daly and Dr. Sharon Jarvis from the College of Communication (and one of my current government professors); Jefferson “Beak” Howell Jr.; Eric Bowles from the Rapoport Service Scholars Program; LEAP alumni including Sly Majid from the Eastside Community Connection, current Student Body President Liam O’Rourke, law student Elizabeth Brummett, and Rita Thornton-whom I have known since I was a confused freshman and have had the amazing opportunity to get to know even more through her advising position in LEI as a graduate assistant- I don’t know what we would do or what campus would have been without people like Rita when she was an undergraduate and now as a graduate student.
The following are a couple of pictures from this semester with LEAP:
If you are an incoming freshman next year, I highly encourage you to get involved with the LEAP program. If it wouldn’t have been for my participation in LEAP as a first-year student I would most likely not be where I am today when it comes to student leadership. If you are an upperclassman at UT- Get involved as a mentor! There is always so much to learn. Even this year when I served as a co-chair I learned all kinds of new things and I definitely learned a lot from the first year students who were involved.
The point really is, whether it is LEAP or another student organization- find something that you enjoy doing, something that in your involvement you don’t do your tasks as responsibilities as part of your role in the program or organization but that you do them because you are passionate about it.