Open Student Senate forum empowers students, promotes leadership

By Ashlyn Miller
Student Writer

A special edition of Student Senate was held Thursday night in Boyer Hall as part of Lead Week at Messiah College.

Offering a variety of events throughout the week, including a presentation of the film The Queen and a discussion on leadership issues, Lead Week was held to “show that leadership is not just for the go-getter,” according to Jacob Pelkey, Vice President of Organizations.

The open forum at Student Senate was no different, as student chaplain Jonathan Fuller began the meeting with lessons in leadership from Matthew 6–the Sermon on the Mount.

Fuller reminded students that as a leader, it is difficult to resist the urge to “look like you’re being a good leader just when people are watching.” He urged students to not act out of hypocrisy, and to not look for attention in their position.

“As a Christian, often you will do what you need to do in places where you won’t get much recognition…maybe just from God himself,” said Fuller.

To introduce student guests to the operations of the Senate, a mock vote was held. Ben Taylor, Director of Student Involvement and Leadership Programs (SILP), presented a new Messiah program—Experiential Learning Initiative (ELI)— for students to consider.

ELI is a program that is in the first stages of implementation as a general education requirement for Messiah students in the class of 2019 and beyond. The initiative focuses on five areas of student involvement—Internship/Practica, Leadership, Service Learning, Off-Campus study, and Research—-and requires each student to choose at least one area to participate in and complete in-depth reflection. Study of that area is supplemented by a faculty member who would fulfill a mentor role for the student.

Taylor said that the pilot program was implemented this fall in order to “detemine what needed to be fixed or tweaked”. ELI is currently in review this semester, and will be finalized at the end of the year.

ELI passed in the mock student vote. Taylor encouraged students to return to Senate and consider getting involved in Student Government.

“If you’re resonating with this, and maybe you’ve held back because you thought you weren’t the right type, that’s a terrible reason to not get involved. Take a chance and get involved,” Taylor said.

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