Lead By Example

A group of Randolph students helped a camp prepare for a community festival.

A group of Randolph students helped a camp prepare for a community festival.

Dan Phung ’15 planned to spend fall break this year working on a paper. But he changed his mind after hearing about an opportunity to volunteer at a camp in rural Virginia.

“It was a great opportunity to make more friends and contribute to the community,” Phung said. “It was a good way to develop leadership skills and learn more about group activities and team work.”

In total, 13 Randolph students spent several days helping to prepare Camp Friendship, a residential summer camp in Palmyra, Virginia, for a community festival. The students cleaned ashes and old wood from a fire pit, scrubbed graffiti off of cabins, and weeded an outdoor volleyball court.

The alternative fall break trip was part of Randolph College’s expanding focus on leadership development and community service. The idea is to inspire students and help them make a difference in the world.

Student volunteers clean up a local summer camp.

Student volunteers clean up a local summer camp.

“Through service and leadership, we can support students as they foster a stronger sense of civic duty to local communities and a better understanding of the world,” said Matha Thornton, vice president for student affairs and dean of students. “We hope this will encourage dialogue around issues of social justice, provide opportunities for students to reflect on their experiences, and encourage a commitment to life-long civic engagement.”

Last year, Amanda Denny, who served as the student activities coordinator, assumed the position of director of leadership and engagement. She has implemented leadership development programs for first-years, sophomores, and seniors for this academic year. These programs help students understand their leadership styles and apply leadership lessons to campus leadership and in careers.

Students are encouraged to pursue internships, study abroad, and participate in other valuable experiences during their junior year. These leadership programs complement the Susan F. Davenport Leadership Program by giving leadership development opportunities to more students, Denny said.

Caitlin Jones ’17 had many leadership positions in high school, so it was natural for her to join the first-year Emerging Leaders program. She enjoyed the weekly meetings addressing a variety of topics such as discovering your leadership style, delegation, and conflict management. Some of those topics helped Jones identify areas for improvement. “I have definitely learned more about my weaknesses and how I can strengthen those,” she said.

Jones believes other students can get a lot out the new leadership programs if they take advantage of them. “You’re going to learn more about yourself and how to handle yourself in different situations and how to be a leader,” she said.

“I hope that the knowledge I’ve learned about how to manage myself and work with others will come into play here at Randolph,” Jones added.