The Insider: Actions define real leadership

Leadership development is a central part of the Statement of Community Values adopted in 2001. It emphasizes the importance of service to others.By Jetty Hartsky

The mark of a genuine leader is his/her motivation to serve the different people in his/her daily interactions. Some students choose to serve in Rider’s array of clubs and organizations. These organizations represent students’ interests and in turn, students foster those communities. During the academic year, leaders commit themselves to others because they recognize that true leadership is derived from service to others.

Leadership of this variety requires an ability to be aware of the needs of both campuses while having the motivation to do the work to satisfy them. The Student Government Associations (SGAs) of the Princeton and Lawrenceville campuses exist for this reason and its members strive to attain this goal. However, other enthusiastic leaders on these campuses, whether they are in organizations or in other positions of influence, work with this end in mind. Many ask themselves, “What will help the people I am working with?” But more importantly, “How can this organization help the greater community?”

Most leaders work in the areas they are passionate about and it shows in the service to their peers. The passion exhibits their sincerity. As sophomore Kenneth Jacobs, a leader in the Protestant Campus Ministry, states, “You don’t have to have a title to be a leader; you have to be willing to put yourself aside for a moment.” When I was leading the school’s chapter of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, my primary goal was to better the situations and lives of those who were around me. I was able to do so through weekly programming and events. Dynamically, I made an effort to listen to the needs of those around me and work diligently to meet them. I still desire to do this everyday and in fact, anyone can in his or her relationships, positions or roles in the college atmosphere and in life.

University wide, one can see this principle at work. Courses like Minding Our Business give students the opportunity to teach youth in Trenton about starting and managing their own business. This provides the children with hope and encouragement. Also, students organize Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week (HAHA) each year to educate their peers. The SGAs consistently serve the students in many capacities. Students annually have the opportunity to write down their questions on Make It Happen Day, making their concerns known to the Lawrenceville SGA. In turn, the requests are reviewed and steps are taken for betterment in those areas. As senior Joy Clayton, the president of Black Student Union, said, “Leaders don’t just talk about getting something done, they actually execute the plan.”

The welcoming and overall theme for this year is “Community Connections.” This emphasizes students leading one another by serving as connectors. The hope is that students will not only interact and connect to their interests but also to one another. Its appeal is simple: Anyone can serve another and in turn become a leader by allowing themselves to emotionally connect. In these ways, Rider’s academia, students and departments recognize that true leadership is derived from service to others.

Recognize that leadership is an art that when practiced in your life, is often repeated. You can increase your influence by joining a club or making a community service commitment. Leaders are not dictated merely by title, but rather by a motivation to serve.

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