More Than 200 Students Wrap up a Week of Leadership Training as Orientation Gets Underway

August 23, 2013

On August 23, more than 200 Wellesley student leaders finish a week of intensive training in preparation for the arrival of new students.

The student leadership corps consists of house presidents (HPs), resident assistants (RAs), academic peer tutors (APTs), first year mentors (FYMs), athletic mentors (AMPs), Slater international student leaders (ISLs), and the members of the College Government Cabinet. In order to be considered for a leadership position, students undergo a thorough application and interview process early in Spring semester.

This pre-Orientation week included sessions like Tuesday’s Leadership Lab, a three-part bootcamp on how to care for yourself, individual friends and residents, and the Wellesley community at large. Speakers included Claudia Trevor-Wright from Health Service and Megan Edwards from the Stone Center Counseling Service, who spoke about the importance of self care in student life and strategies in caring for others; and Residential Director Don Leach on the role played by the Honor Code. At the end of the day, Provost Andy Shennan and Dean of Students Debra DeMeis treated the group to a formal tea in Diana Chapman Walsh Alumnae Hall Ballroom.

On Wednesday, Wellesley Centers for Women researcher Amy Banks, M.D., gave a keynote lecture on how humans are “hard-wired for connection,” and what that means for community-building. Students then participated in conference-style breakout sessions on a range of topics including physical education, diversity, and social media. Thursday and Friday were dedicated to position-specific training, as well as preparation for the arrival of international members of the Class of 2017, who have begun moving to campus.

Hundreds of Wellesley students have gone through the student leadership training program over the years, creating a cohort of women prepared to lead on and beyond campus.

“Most of these student leaders are not compensated for their work, but they rearrange their lives and cut short their summers to volunteer their time and energy,” said First-Year Dean Lori Tenser. “In fact, the College literally could not open in the Fall without the involvement of our student leaders. They provide guidance, support, and encouragement to new students. They offer welcoming smiles, genuine warmth, and upperclasswomen’s wisdom to students and their families when they first arrive. Above all, they do so because they are committed to making Wellesley a welcoming community and creating a climate of acceptance and possibility.”

With all of that energy and goodwill so overtly expressed, plus all of the fresh potential of starting a new semester, Tenser added, “This is absolutely my favorite time of year.”

Photo courtesy of Shawn Cooper.