Students learn how to be better leaders

by Aishwarya Ramani / Beacon Correspondent • October 2, 2013

The ELA schedule of events is posted around campus.
The ELA schedule of events is posted around campus.

Emerson College is sometimes said to be overflowing with take-charge students who love to steal the spotlight. On Saturday, Oct. 5, beginning at 9 a.m., those students will have an opportunity to hone their leadership skills at the annual Emerson Leadership Academy in the Cabaret.

According to Director of Student Activities Jason Meier, the daylong event will consist of interactive group sessions, lectures, and keynote speakers, all of which will address essential aspects of being a better leader. Inspired by TED talks, Meier said, the various events will also aim to promote discussion and interaction among some of Emerson’s active students. The activities will be broken down according to skill level, he said, with sessions ranging from beginning to veteran leaders.

The ELA, which is organized by Student Life, Student Activities, Multicultural Student Affairs, Off Campus Student Services, the Office of Housing and Residence Life, and Counseling and Psychological Services, has been hosted two previous times, in March 2012 and October 2012. According to Meier, this year’s event attendance will likely surpass last year’s, which was roughly 45 students.

Throughout the day, attendees will hear from keynote speakers on pressing social issues. Christina Marin, an assistant professor in the performing arts department, for example, will discuss social justice.

According to Tikesha Morgan, director of multicultural affairs and LGBTQ student resources, understanding the diverse issues facing students today is a critical component of being a good leader.

“[You need to know] how to stand up for yourself and other students,” she said. “A say-something [and] do-something attitude, and making sure our campus is a safe and inclusive for everyone [makes someone a good leader].”

 Meier said the goals of the event areto start the year right and provide both new and returning students with an opportunity to experience leadership training.

“You never know what skills you need to be successful in the real world,” said Meier. “Learning these things now is vital [and I hope students who attend will] go out there and do good things.”

 Morgan also said that the benefits of taking part in the ELA will go beyond a student’s college years.

 “The way students are active on campus really leads to their career,” said Morgan. “[This event is designed to get students] ready with the skills they need.”

 Moving ELA to the fall semester, according to Meier, will hopefully inspire new students and first-time attendees to give the workshop a try. Megan Kay, a sophomore writing, literature, and publishing major, said she is planning on attending the event for the first time after hearing from people who participated in previous sessions and enjoyed it.

“I love holding leadership positions,” said Kay. “[I want to learn to] better stand out in a group environment.”

 Jessica Slavin, a senior writing, literature, and publishing major, and former Orientation Core Staff member, said she attended last year’s ELA and learned invaluable lessons on how to encourage and motivate her peers.

 “I gained some new insights on how to lead,” she said.

 Having also attended similar workshops throughout her high school years, Slavin said what distinguishes Emerson’s event is that it teaches individuals to embrace their strengths. She said she is hoping to attend the session again and encourages those who have not been before to sign up.

 “If you want a leadership role at Emerson, get involved where your passions lie,” she said. “One of the most important skills a leader should have, especially in a group, is to know the strengths of the people [they are] leading.” 



Katy Rushlau, Lifestyle editor, contributed to this article.