New student organization hopes to support campus leaders


A new student organization forming on campus hopes to mobilize the leaders of various student clubs and their different experiences into a partnership that will support and enhance the entire university.

The Student Leadership Association is an effort begun by senior business major Sarah Campos to bring leaders from different student organizations together in the hopes that they can learn from each other’s experiences and make their own groups better.

Campos, president of the Christian Students for a Free Enterprise club, said that idea came to her last semester as she was discussing club business with one of her club officers and Students for Life President Cassidy Roderick. Campos said that the three were discussing the different leadership roles they hold on campus and ways that Roderick’s club could learn from Campos’, when they wondered what it would look like to have a group dedicated to providing clubs with a way to feed off others.

What if we had a network for all the different organizations to figure out problems, build each other up, give each other advice and discuss leadership opportunities that we have or issues that go on in our organizations,” they asked each other, according to Campos.

Campos said that it was her background in business that made her realize the need for an organization like this on the Franciscan University campus.

One of the things we (business people) like to do is network and get to know more people in order to get more information,” she said. Looking at Franciscan and at all the clubs and versatility we have on this campus, there really is no connection between these organizations. … What we want to do is create an organization that will be the basis for that connection.”

Campos and Roderick soon began formulating a plan for the proposed group, which would be named the Student Leadership Association, toward the end of the fall semester. Campos became president of the group while Roderick took on the position of vice president.

Ideally, the Student Leadership Association will hold a meeting once a month, where student leaders can come and present problems or issues that they have faced in their organizations and have other leaders provide feedback on how to address the problem moving forward, Campos said.

If a certain club is having a problem with membership retention, then another group that is perhaps much bigger and has more experience with membership retention can come and lead discussion on the issue,” she said.

Creating an environment where students can problem solve and build each other up as leaders is very important to Campos, who considers building up leaders a huge part of running a successful organization.

You have a leader sitting at the top helping people grow, running meetings and having a support system,” said Campos about the organizational structure of student groups. Having a support system is essential for any person, whether it’s in business, student organization or just as friends.”

Campos said that there are currently seven members of the Student Leadership Association, which is still in the process of being approved by Student Life. Current members include Student Government, The Troubadour, Liturgy Committee, Household Council, Women’s Ministry, Christian Students for a Free Enterprise and Students for Life. She hopes that that number will be closer to 20 by the end of the semester and said that she and Roderick are currently compiling an email list of other clubs that they believe would like to be involved.

Campos recognized that the student organizations involved are all different: some are more administrative, like Liturgy Committee and Student Government, while others are focused on more specific areas of students’ interests. However, she sees this diversity as a strength and not harmful.

Because there is such a variety (among the groups), and they aren’t necessarily the same, I feel like leaders will be able to provide perspectives on issues and situations that others might not have been able to see before,” she said.

Campos and Roderick are actively working with Student Life to obtain formal recognition and are in the process of writing a contract and additional documentation that are required for that recognition.

Campos acknowledged that, as a senior, she won’t be able to see the project all the way through, but that didn’t deter her from wanting to provide a starting point for communication, or clarity, between student groups.

I know leadership is very important and its a gift for a lot of people,she said. I also know that a lot of people struggle with it. It’s not the easiest thing to stand up in front of 100 people and lead them in something. But having an organization where leaders can get together and discuss issues knowing that other people are going through the same thing and will help them succeed is something that this school doesnt have, and thats why I wanted to create this group.

The Student Leadership Associations next meeting will be March 2 at 9 p.m. in the J.C. Williams Center.