ATHENA Connections

What?
This event was hosted by Grand Valley State University Women’s Center and I had an amazing opportunity to listen to an ATHENA Award recipient who shared her professional and personal journey of leadership. Following her presentation, we had an opportunity to discuss issues with professors and staff from campus. The speaker was excellent in telling her story about success and how to achieve exactly what she achieved, and she was exceptional in motivating others to get active in their society and try to make social change.

So What?
This speaker was the epitome of all that I have learned while attending GVSU. She inspired and encouraged all of us to be leaders- to be catalyst in creating social change. The speaker introduced each of the ATHENA Leadership principles in personal ways through sharing her journey. This allowed me to evaluate my leadership journey, to affirm leadership as a process instead of a position. As other undergraduate women and men students shared their perspectives of leadership, we recognized uniqueness in defining our own values and beliefs around leadership.

Now What?
Through this event, I see myself as a leader. I recognize the work that I do as a volunteer, student, and engaged community member is leadership.The speaker at this event challenged me to see myself in a new way and encouraged me to take risks as necessary steps to personal and professional growth. I continuously seek events and programs where I can learn new tools, resources and information that make me a better leader. I never realized networking with peers, faculty, staff, and community members would teach me so much about myself.

Martin Luther King Jr. March

What?

I have had many great experiences here at Grand Valley and today was no exception.  In observance of one of the world’s greatest leaders, Martin Luther King, Jr., I took pride in marching side by side with the wonderful people of this community.  Demonstrating our strength and solidarity, we braved the cold and wind to honor someone who fought so much adversity for something we take for granted sometimes, equality.

As we continued to walk over the Little Mac Bridge and past Padnos Hall, I felt a sense of purpose and took comfort in the fact that even though I didn’t know many in this crowd, I felt at home on this campus.

So What?

From young and old, men and women, to people of all races and backgrounds, I realized we make up this university. As we approached the end of our silent march, we were led into an event hosted by the Office of Multicultural Affairs.  A fascinating civil rights author and documentary filmmaker by the name of Judy Richardson, reflected on Dr. King’s message and how that translated into the freedoms we enjoy today, especially at a college institution.  Judy words made an immediate impact on me as she spoke about her latest documentary piece, Scarred Justice, which examined the tragedy of the Orangeburg Massacre at South Carolina State College.  An event that I never knew had happened and a violent incident many overlooked during the civil rights movement.

Now What?

This day left an impression on me that will stick forever.  As a society we hope that the tragic things that happened throughout history don’t repeat themselves.  But it takes an open mind, dedication, unity and leadership to continue to grow.  I learned so much from so many just by walking, listening, and observing.  Today made me think broader, look further and build stronger relationships.  I know I can be a better leader and I’m proud to be a Laker.  It’s funny how before today I thought my only classrooms were within four walls, but I realized I have learned so much here at Grand Valley outside of them too.

Leadership University Reflections Go Here

Here is where Leadership University reflection posts will go. Posts will be structured to address the what?, so what?, and now what? of each of Louie’s leadership experiences on campus. By launch time, we will ideally have reflections from every department on campus that is willing to provide us with content. This will provide students with not only many samples of reflection posts, but also a glimpse at the type of programs that are offered by the various departments.

Posts will be tagged by the student to highlight different topics within each post. Examples of tags per post might include; GVSU, campus, Hauenstein, education, challenge, mentor, etc. Students will also assign a category (or two) to each post.  Examples of a category could be; Leadership University, Lives, Professions, Societies, thier class standing, etc.