What is Emerging Leaders?
Since 1987, a select group of first-year students at Berry have participated in the Emerging Leaders program, a leadership development program sponsored by the Student Activities Office. Although the format has changed over the years, the purpose and intention of the program has remained the same…to cultivate future leaders for campus and community leadership opportunities.
Who are Emerging Leaders?
Students invited to participate in Emerging Leaders are initially nominated by faculty, staff or upper-class student leaders who have identified them as potential leaders. These freshmen may have already stepped forward during their first semester and become involved in student life or they may just need a little direction and support to feel confident in taking the next step as a student leader. There are other cases where nominated freshmen have no past experience in high school and may not think of themselves as a leader but someone here at Berry recognized potential in them, or the nominators see this as an opportunity for a new student to find his or her niche on campus. No matter where you fall on this spectrum, Emerging Leaders may just be what you are looking for to help get you connected at Berry.
Now you certainly are not required to be an Emerging Leader to be a campus leader but being a part of this program allows you to network with future leaders from your class, as well as current student leaders, meet and talk with faculty, staff and administrators, and learn about the opportunities available to you on campus and in the community. It’s not unusual to find Emerging Leader alumni as SOAR Leaders, RAs, KCAB members, First Year Mentors, Volunteer Services Coordinators, Student Organization Officers, and in many other leadership positions on campus. Plus, you join an elite group as one of only a few hundred Berry students who have participated in this program over the past two decades.
How to become and Emerging Leader
Well, we’ve talked about why you should participate in Emerging Leaders but what exactly are the requirements and activities for the program? First, participants attend an overnight retreat in January. Led by the Director of Student Activities and Emerging Leader Alumni known as ELFs – Emerging Leader Facilitators- the retreat gets the ball rolling, with icebreakers, team building exercises, and some quality “bonding time.” After returning from the retreat, the program continues with bi-monthly meetings throughout spring semester where a variety of topics and speakers are addressed. However, it’s up to the Emerging Leaders to determine who and what that will be, as the program is designed to fit the needs and interests of the current class after some brainstorming at the retreat. In order to be considered an Emerging Leader alum and recognized for completing the program, you are required to participate in the overnight retreat and attend a minimum of 4 out of the 6 meetings during spring semester.
Throughout the retreat and additional meetings, information is also shared about upcoming leadership opportunities and application processes, many of which occur in early- to mid-spring semester. Past Emerging Leaders classes have also joined forces in service projects for the Berry and Rome communities. Additionally, the Emerging Leaders help plan and implement the annual spring Leadership & Service awards, from designing programs and invitations, selecting some award winners, and even serving as the emcees for the event. Finally, the program wraps up with a celebration for all participants.
Once spring semester is over, you officially join the ranks as Emerging Leaders Alumni! You continue to be plugged in to the Student Activities Office and receive notification of other leadership programs. You have the opportunity to assist in future Emerging Leader retreats. And you’ve established those connections to help you as you continue down the path as a Berry student leader. All of this for a small commitment spring semester during your freshman year…so apply today and begin that journey as a student leader!