She writes about how her work with Lafayette Activities Forum and the Lafayette Leadership Education Committee has taught her skills for college and beyond
Neuroscience major Lauren Howland ’11 (Vestal, N.Y.) is the executive chair of Lafayette Activities Forum, an intern for the Lafayette Leadership Education Committee, and is involved in a number of other campus organizations. She believes the organizational, communication, and teamwork skills she has developed through these leadership roles are helping her in the classroom and will help her in her future career.
During my first week of classes at Lafayette, my First-Year Seminar instructor Kevin Worthen, former dean of students, said something that made a profound impact on my view of campus involvement. Since our FYS was focused on the structure of higher education systems and how to get the most out of the college experience, Worthen wanted to stress the importance of being involved here at Lafayette. Our first class was the night of the annual activities fair, and he told us to go and sign up for a couple clubs that seemed interesting to us. He then told us that we should not be passive participants in our college experiences, but to take an active role on campus so that we can leave a lasting impression on the Lafayette community.
I signed up for the Lafayette Activities Forum (LAF), which hosts over 60 events a year. It seemed like a fun organization and a great way to meet people. Over the course of the first semester, I went to the biweekly general meetings and found that I really enjoyed the events that LAF produced. As I settled into college life, I decided that I was ready to take on a greater leadership role. At the end of first semester, I applied to be on the executive board and was selected to be Gilbert Cafe’s co-chair. I held this position for three semesters and worked to bring coffeehouse-style concerts to Gilbert’s. Since I love music, I really enjoyed planning the events and working with all the agents and musicians. The experience taught me a lot about acting professionally and how to network.
At the end of sophomore year, I was selected to be the executive chair of LAF. I knew that the position would involve a lot more work and I would have more responsibilities, but I wanted to challenge my leadership abilities and take on a bigger role on campus. I was already involved in other organizations, such as The Spot committee and Friday Night Tunes at Gilbert’s, but I wanted to do more with my time here at Lafayette.
Through my participation with LAF, I learned of other ways to be active in the Lafayette community. I became involved with the Lafayette Leadership Education Committee and was selected to be the student intern for the 2010-11 school year. This program works to educate student leaders and help them develop their leadership skills for Lafayette and beyond. It has been a very rewarding experience so far. I anticipate learning a lot about being a leader in the real world and making great connections with alumni.
I have also become involved with the Landis Community Outreach Center. I volunteer each week down at the Third Street Alliance in Easton. During my visits, I do activities with children in transitional living situations and act as a positive role model. It is an extremely rewarding experience and I plan to continue this sort of work when I complete medical school and become a doctor. While I participate in many other organizations and committees here at Lafayette, it is LAF and the Lafayette Leadership Education Committee that have helped me become the student leader that I am today.
My experiences with student organizations have helped me refine my leadership skills and learn how to interact in the professional world. While these activities may seem irrelevant to a neuroscience major, the organizational, communication, and teamwork skills that I have developed have helped me excel in my classes and will allow me to be a better physician in the future. Furthermore, I feel that I am making the most of my time here at Lafayette and that I will have made a difference by the time my four years are over.