Student Life launches leadership program
September 10, 2009
A new leadership structure, Community Life Team (CLT), has been added this fall to Student Life. As a compliment to the residence life team, it is empowering 16 upperclassmen to return to Corban’s residence halls as positive influences and, additionally, as initiators of new student groups whose purpose is to be a bridge for students into the Corban community.
Nancy Hedberg, Vice President for Student Life, said, “I am excited about the program. It will provide leadership opportunities for juniors and seniors and will enhance the residence hall experience of underclassmen through mentoring and personal growth activities.”
Brenda Roth, Dean of Students, said specific efforts of the CLTs will be directed toward involving “under-attended” student groups, especially from the sophomore class. Roth said research shows one in four college students fails to complete sophomore year. Ideally, increased retention will also be a byproduct of the program.
As a mid-level commitment, CLT leaders will receive scholarships for one-fourth of their room and board. They are accountable to the Dean of Students with their goals and programming, and the team will meet one Saturday per month for encouragement and further training.
This program originated, said Roth, from a conversation with resident assistants about how Corban could be more intentional in helping campus maturity, growth, and retention. Roth and Hedberg then designed a proposal. The dean said, “I like creating opportunities to broaden involvement in leadership, especially since there’s not one way to lead.”
Coming early to campus for training, the CLTs have already been active moving students into residence halls, guiding orientation activities, and beginning many friendships. Junior Nate Stevens said, “While I have only been a CLT for less than a month, it has already had a dramatic impact on my life. I have formed new interactions with classmates and professors that will help me be a more active part of the Corban community and help me to reach out in new and exciting ways.”
The CLTs have also been developing individual programming to enable them to reach out in the areas in which they feel called and/or gifted. Stevens’ specific ministry is a prayer group for men. He envisions the group as a place “where it is OK for them to not be perfect and to be able to talk, pray for each other and help carry the burdens of their fellow brothers in Christ.”
“Freshman year was a rough time for me,” said Stevens, “and there wasn’t always someone there to help me. The RAs do a great job, yet inevitably there are some who ‘slip through the cracks.’” For Stevens, some of his professors played that important mentoring role. Stevens said he applied for the CLT program wanting to be that person that guys “like him” could lean on for support.
Other CLTs may conduct Bible studies or other student-interest groups such as around a sport or international-student cultures. Regardless of programming elements, relationships are the key component. Roth said, “It’s about providing opportunities for leaders that matter.”
By Jenny Hirschfelder, Staff Writer, Office of Marketing & Communications
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