Emerging Leaders Begin New Chapter

SUNY New Paltz’s Emerging Leaders Program ushered in a new group of student leaders at its four introductory sessions held in early September.

The 45 minute-long sessions were held Sept. 10, 11, 12 and 18, giving prospective leaders a glimpse at everything the program has to offer first-year students.

Luisianna Sosa, one of three program mentors said the purpose of these sessions “is to create leaders in the small scale, but who can grow into better leaders and get other leadership positions, like R.A.”

Sosa, a second-year political science major, decided to become an emerging leader after attending an introductory session her first month of college. Her experience ended up being so fulfilling that she applied to be a mentor in the spring.

“It was flexible and could work around the other clubs I was involved in,” Sosa said. “It didn’t interfere with my school work, which is always a big plus for a lot of the first-years in the room.”

At the intro sessions, Sosa said the program director, Emily Bazinet, explained the program and its requirements to the students.

“At our first intro session, Emily talks about the pillars of the program, what is required of you to be an emerging leader to graduate and lets students get to know us, the E.L. mentors,” Sosa said.

Sessions also featured interactive portions, mentor Dana Stuono said.

“In the intro session, we had people write down their own definitions of leadership, and they collectively make a definition of leadership,” Stuono, a second-year English elementary education major, said. “We talk about it just to get the juices flowing.”

Stuono estimated  there will be 50 to 70 students becoming emerging leaders for the 2012-13 school year, surpassing the 40 to 50 students who participated last year.

According to the SUNY New Paltz Emerging Leaders page, emerging leaders must attend one leadership retreat per semester, and participate in a variety of workshops that address one or more of the five dimensions of leadership. They also must complete five hours per semester of group service learning projects and five hours of individual community service.

Bazinet said the program was promoted at the “Getting to Know New Paltz Business and Services Fair,” held after convocation, where “a lot of interested students spoke to us.”

The two mentors said they are considering applying for further leadership positions on campus as R.A.s and/or orientation leaders.

Third-year public relations and Spanish major Payal Batra was a mentor last year, and said her experience played a significant part in developing her leadership role on campus.

“Being an emerging leader let me develop many leadership skills,” Batra said. “And then being a mentor allowed me to further increase these skills, but also gain a mentoring perspective, which comes in handy as an R.A.”