Today: Apr 23, 2024

Leadership Luncheon encourages students to get involved

Lexi White- General Reporter

Being your truest self can be intimidating. Sometimes, you may feel like you are being judged. Other times, you may think that you are not able to be of influence to others.  

Head Coach of the women’s cross-country track and field team Melissa Stoll hosted a lunch event that helped students to gain better insight on the types of leaders they can be.  

“Leadership is a set of skills that you can learn and improve,” Stoll said. “And people need to learn about collaboration and having difficult conversations.” 

Stoll and the Office of Student Involvement provided a free catered lunch to all the students who attended before the talk got started.  

Stoll’s exercises were designed to help students become better team builders, better motivators and better communicators. 

She began by splitting the 20 students in half, with one half forming a small circle and the other creating a bigger circle around them. Then she paired everyone up with someone who they did not previously know. 

Stoll then had each pair ask each other three questions: “What is your mood?”, “What’s your biggest mistake?” and “If I visited your hometown, what local spots should I see?” After each question, the students found a new unknown partner.  

This was so students could become more relaxed and comfortable in the atmosphere by opening up about how they are feeling.  

 “I really liked that activity because you don’t really think of leadership as talking to people, but that’s what it really is,” psychology major Xochitl Sanches, a senior, said. “Interacting with people and getting practice on that was really fun.” 

Stoll also educated students on what it means to be your own person and how to go far professionally.  

“We need everyone to succeed, so we don’t do it alone,” Stoll said. “Being in your teens and early 20s can be unsettling, and sometimes you don’t know where you’re going or what you want to do.” 

Stoll had a couple students demonstrate what it means to communicate. She put a blindfold on one student and had the other give them directions on how to throw a ball in a bucket.  

It was later revealed that communication without being direct can be ineffective. Therefore, to be a true leader, an individual must be clear with their words and intentions.  

In Stoll’s presentation on being a leader, she highlighted that everyone is a leader and has influential tendencies.  

“I want everyone to know that it doesn’t matter what age you are to be a leader,” Stoll said. “Even in the professional world, while you may not be the boss, you can still carve your own path.” 

Stoll also implemented her personal experience of leading others by informing students how impactful she is to her athletes on the track team, which encouraged students to become more engaged with the people around them. 

“I have 36 athletes that I come across every day, and yeah, you probably don’t exactly interact with 36 people every day,” Stoll said. “But you can be aware and connect with others.” 

Psychology major Helen Peralta, a freshman, said, “I’m definitely going to apply the things I’ve learned today into my daily life and when I’m pursuing becoming a peer mentor.” 

At the very end of the event, Stoll gave everyone a candle and said, “I just want you to know that you are all a little light in this world.” 

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