Growing Program Enters ‘Silver Level’

by Peter Kaspari

The President’s Leadership Certificate program is back this year and is recognizing a wide variety of leaders.

The program was started by the Center for Vocation and Integrative Learning last year and has three levels of participation: Bronze, silver and gold. The first level, bronze, was introduced last year, which were the beginning stages of ideas for leadership and service plans. This year, CVIL began offering the silver level of participation, and next year the gold level will be implemented.

Bobby Nalean, leadership and service coordinator for CVIL, said each level of the program deals with different stages of development in leadership.

“For that first year of the program, we do a lot of personal identity development, so we can get students to say ‘these are some of the things that I’m passionate about and I can see myself making a difference in these issues,'” Nalean said. “The silver level is really about beginning to develop and reinforce some of those skills that will help them accomplish that change in those areas of passion that they have.”

The third part of the program, which will be implemented next year, is about taking the skills the students have learned and using them to make a difference as a leader.

Nalean said that, to be involved with the PLC, students need to be involved with at least three leadership experiences.

“What we classify as leadership experiences are basically any type of commitment where they’re working with other people toward some type of positive change,” Nalean said. “People hear ‘leadership experiences’ and they might think president or director, but this program really celebrates and encourages leadership in all types and forms.”

Junior Jordan Vorrie has been involved in the PLC since last year.

“The first year was really great for me because it showed me the ways in which I lead and how I lead best,” Vorrie said. “It showed me what kind of leader I actually am when I’ve never given real thought into the whole situation.”

Career Counselor Erin Swancutt said the PLC can be very advantageous to student leaders when they graduate college and move on to find jobs.

“It’s a great standout for employees,” Swancutt said. “It’s one of those things on a resume that’s a little bit different and unique that employers will look at. It’s a great starting point to open up a conversation and say, ‘here’s what I was involved in at Simpson and here’s how I was a leader.'”

Swancutt also said that all students should take advantage of the program, regardless of the organizations that they belong to.

“It’s not just for one group or organization,” Swancutt said. “It’s something that all Simpson students can be a part of. We need more of those types of programs.”

Nalean said the deadline to participate in the PLC has passed, but there will be other opportunities to join. This year, 28 students have started the bronze level of the PLC.

Nalean added that everyone on campus should participate in the PLC.

“Leadership is not just about positions,” Nalean said. “The freshman who’s new to an organization and just getting their feet wet is just as much a part of that leadership process as the senior who’s been engaged for four years. It’s all about being committed and being with other people to make change happen in an organization.”