Promoting student success: What student leaders can do
Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research
Student leaders reap many benefits and rewards as a result of their involvements with campus organizations. In addition to enjoying the respect of their peers, they have opportunities to meet a variety of faculty, staff and students, exposing them to a range of different personalities and cultures. They typically grow in self confidence and practical competence as they learn how to manage their time, energy, and their group's financial resources. In addition, the challenges they encounter in the course of these and other activities draw them out of their comfortable patterns of thinking and responding to situations, helping them to become more flexible, responsive, and reflective (Kuh, 1995; Kuh & Lund, 1994). In addition to these personal benefits, student leaders can contribute much to the quality of the learning environment, the experiences of their peers, and the larger campus community. Unfortunately, too often these potentially positive effects are not fully realized. Student governments get sidetracked on trivial issues. Social organizations inadvertently discourage participation by students from diverse backgrounds. Service clubs touch in relevant ways only a small fraction of those who need assistance. Established campus governance structures ignore or limit active, meaningful involvement by students.
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