By Jo Kadlecek
December 21, 2010
Wenham, MA—They met at The Castle at Boston University (BU), overlooking the Charles River. Almost 20 student leaders from eight campuses in the greater Boston area gathered before the holidays not to celebrate the end of a semester or a much-needed break. Instead, they came together to think about the future and to exchange ideas about how they could make their campuses better.
Gordon College Student Association (GCSA) president Jesse Adams ’11 and his long-time friend Arthur Emma ’11, student body president at BU, cohosted the group on Saturday, December 11, for lunch, a lecture and a discussion. For Adams and Emma—both of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin—it was the culmination of many conversations they’ve shared since they left their hometown for Massachusetts; the two often discuss how to encourage one another in their leadership roles on their respective campuses. They even helped each other with their campaigns.
“We’ve wanted to get other student leaders together for a while,” said Adams. “By bringing senior student leadership teams together, we can build each other up in the face of challenges we’re all experiencing on our campuses.”
Student government presidents and vice presidents from Gordon College, BU, Harvard University, Brandeis University, Emerson College, Wellseley College, Berklee College, and Endicott College took part in the first of what Adams, Emma and GCSA vice president Corinne Ventura ’11 hope will be many more conversations. The group—which has tentatively called itself the Boston Colleges and Universities Student Presidential Council—also plans to create an online interactive forum where leaders can upload initiatives and strategies while commenting and sharing ideas with one another.
At the December meeting, Dr. David Young, founder of Oxford Analytica and husband of Gordon College Trustee Suannah Young, offered the emerging leaders a personal lecture. Young specifically challenged the students to consider the power of relationships throughout their lives, intentionally pursuing experiences that would stretch them in ways that expanded their perspectives. He invited questions and helped them reflect on who they were as well as what their goals were for the future. The conversation then continued in a round table setting where Adams, Emma and Ventura helped direct the discussion.
“We were from large and small, private and public, faith-based and non-faith-based colleges and universities, but we realized how much we have in common,” Adams said. “We share common challenges as leaders just as our student bodies encounter similar issues.”
By openly discussing effective strategies, knowledge and experiences, Adams said the student leaders gained a sense of what they could offer each other, especially as they seek to remain consistent in their campus work and with student leadership transitions. They will meet again in February to formalize their group, maintain momentum as an existing cohort and schedule monthly conference calls as well as meetings at rotating campus sites.
“The opportunity for collaboration and doing things on a larger scale is great,” Adams said. “Something so simple as lunch made us wonder why we never did this before.”
Gordon College is a multidenominational Christian college of the liberal arts and sciences on Boston’s North Shore, offering majors in 38 fields with graduate programs in education and music education. Gordon is nationally recognized for excellence in academics and in character building, and ranks as one of the nation’s top Christian colleges. www.gordon.edu