Leadership Column Offers Important Questions

This letter is in response to the Nov. 1 opinion column, “Student Leadership: Responsibility or Role-Playing?” Firstly, I am grateful that a fellow student has finally given voice to the discrepancies between our greater student body and those student leaders and organizations often considered to be at the proverbial “head of the ship.” It is not to say we are a campus that promotes or rates the value of students based on their involvement, but it is to say the sense of importance and lack of criticism that exists for those student leaders and their organizations is often detrimental in creating leaders that have an understanding of “doing” versus “being.”

Effective leadership comes from the individual acting out of interests rooted in exploration, not pragmatism. It isn’t so much that a “student leader” who seeks to gain extracurricular experience is padding his or her resume; it’s that the structure from which he or she will pursue these desires on our MSU campus will leave little room for critical and active engagement. It seems that either one will learn to plan events or to sit actively in meetings.

Surely this is not indicative of every campus organization that involves student leadership, but in my opinion
some simply do not promote the type of activity that feels worthwhile to the student who both attends classes and holds a part-time job. How do we include the interests of these students into a structure of leadership
that currently functions without them? This is often difficult to evaluate, but last week’s article is a great place to start in offering important questions that no student leader or organization should fear, but rather embrace in a new effort of growth.

– Abbie Bandstra, senior in English