Saturday December 16, 2017

How a Meeting with President Spina Transformed my Semester

Besides having the opportunity to see Dr. Spina's spectacular office, here is what I got out of our meeting

Last year, the University of Dayton welcomed Dr. Eric Spina as the new president fo our illustrious institution. He brought with him a call to all Flyers to find a calling that would allow us to be substantial servant leaders for the common good

Common Good. 

To be a leader for the common good means to make a conscious decision to contribute to a global, diverse society with the interest of all in mind, not the interest of self. To do this, leaders need to be able to come together in deliberate dialogue, to learn, engage and experience a diverse mindset, style, and perspective than one's own. 

As a leader of a student organization on campus, I was given the opportunity to practice this principle of dialogue n diverse settings. Getting an invitation from President Spina to Black Action Through Unity showed BATU members that our new president truly cared about the mission of our student organization, wanted to see it grow, and wanted to help in any way that he could as we continued to expand during this academic year. We were able to discuss the fundamentals of the missions of BATU-- to bring together student of color on campus and advance excellence, social justice, and community in an inclusive environment--our goals for the year as leaders-- to increase and maintain membership and create meaningful opportunities for students of color on campus-- and how Dr. Spina and the administration could personally help us to achieve our goals. 

What I learned in this process is the importance of building relationships with the administration of the University. There are so many faculty, staff, and campus professionals willing to lend a hand to students and especially student organizations, whether that is coming to meetings (Like. Dr. Fischer did when he met BATU members), aiding in programs and events, funding, or simply advice and guidance during our everyday operations. It truly meant a lot to me to see that Dr. Spina valued the partnership that we were able to begin to build in meeting with him as a collective.Discussions such as these open the door for communication and a closer connection to campus leadership that is so valuable to learn from. It allows growing leaders to apply their passions to the next level, and the community at UD fosters those types of challenges for students who want more out of their experience through conversations such as these. 

Dr. Spina gave us a chance to excel in his presence and offered his guidance, but the bigger picture here highlights what each student has the opportunity to do if they apply their passions to their actions. Being in a student organization is one part of the story, but asking yourself, as a leader, what you want to get out of that experience besides a few words on your resume is the greater part of that same story. Greatness is at the fingertips of every University of Dayton student--we all have the potential to make a significant positive impact on other students if we please. It's about actually using your resources, listening, taking notes, and reaching out to people who have been in your shoes before that will get you to the next level of excellence next. 

Because of my conversation with Dr. Spina, I was able to pitch the idea about the Black Perspective to him. the idea was to have a newspaper written and published by students of color on campus, with a similar scale to current campus magazines, that would also be accompanied by an online platform for students of color to connect with alumni, exchange resources, and experiences, and stay connected year-round. After being so inspired by the wonderful time that the Black Alumni shared with us during Alumni Weekend, I wanted to continue the momentum and give alumni a better way to connect with us, as well as bring back an old newspaper that was started and published by earlier administrations of BATU.  Dr. Spina loved the idea so much that he's moving us forward to further discussion and development.

It could soon move from an idea to something that actually exists, which is a great feeling!

I'm looking forward to building these relationships with more UD admins, leaders, and given more opportunities to bring my peers together in a number of ways. Hopefully, this demonstrates that UD truly does value its student organization leaders, especially since this year you are able to become an AVIATE campus partner to hold your own PATH-eligible events. It's important for student leaders to take the initiative to advance their organizations in any way that they can, I believe, because doing anything less can actually do your peers a disservice. Creativity, healthy imagination, goal-setting, and time management are just a few things that come in handy when striving to be the best leader that you can be. I'm grateful to Dr. Spina for being a catalyst for the advancement of my community, and I am so excited for the year to come!

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