Organizations around campus gathered to discuss leadership options available to students
On Tuesday, the Office of Student Affairs and the Career Center hosted a “Leadership and Coffee” event Campus Life Lawn. The event was designed to bring students in contact with various offices and programs available at Azusa Pacific. Aside from informing students of the services available to them, the event was also geared towards encouraging students to take on leadership positions.
Among the most active organizations and programs present at the event were Campus Life, the Office of Women’s Development, First Generation Scholars, Study Away, the Center for Student Action and the Spiritual Life office.
Many students and faculty behind the booths shared their hope for students moving forward. Kelly Roth, director of Campus Ministry, said that being in a leadership role in college was transformational to her growth as a young adult.
“It was really formational for me [and] helped me see myself in ways that I wouldn’t have had I not been in a leadership position,” said Roth. “I learned a lot about myself and about how to lead and how to work with people.”
Roth explained that for some students, the only thing keeping them from taking on a leadership role is fear of the unknown, especially if they have never had such responsibilities in the past. Despite this, Roth said she believes the rewards outweigh the risks.
“I think the skills that you learn in these kinds of positions can be transferable for your long-term future, for any kind of job or ministry that you might have, you can learn things here in this setting with good mentoring, good support, good feedback to really help you understand who you are and what you have to offer,” Roth said.
Among the positions available in the Office of Campus Ministry are leadership roles in D-Groups, Discipleship SALT teams and peer mentors. The Office of Corporate Worship is also looking for chapel band members and senior chapel interns.
First Generation Coordinator Cassandra Gonzalez spoke about the resources her organization offers. According to Gonzalez, First Generation Scholars, or Gen 1 Scholars, is looking for future student ambassadors. The student ambassadors fulfill various roles on campus such as peer mentoring and event coordination. These student ambassadors represent a third of APU’s student population, as more first generation college students are enrolling in the institution, according to Gonzalez.
“Being the first in your family to go, or consider going to college, [is about] learning how to navigate the university here at APU. We have a lot of things that are required of students and as a first gen student, it can be really difficult to explain to your family,” Gonzalez said. “You may not have classes every day, but you have homework that takes up your whole weekend … having those communications or those conversations with family and having to explain to them the world of being a college student … [to somebody who] did not experience it themselves, I think it’s one of the biggest struggles.”
As time passed, more students began to arrive, but the amount of student engagement was lacking overall. This led the raffle to be cancelled and all the booths to pack up roughly half an hour earlier than expected due to low participation. Despite this, organization representatives expressed their gratitude for the students who did come, saying they were excited to speak more with future applicants as the semester comes to a close.
Nicholas Jimenez, a Commuter Life assistant, said his office is looking forward to publicize their organization more through Handshake, social media and their office on campus. Currently, they are looking to fill the commuter life assistant and the commuter life intern positions for next year.
Jimenez said Commuter Life has been getting more publicity due to the Foothill Transit pilot program, which all APU students can sign up for in the Cougar Dome. The Dome has been the nesting place for commuters for several years, but is limited in its ability to serve all commuters because of its placement on east campus.
Because of this, Commuter Life has created a pop-up shop this semester on West Campus to provide commuters with snacks, free printing and other resources they may not otherwise have.
“We’re looking for fun, welcoming, energetic, passionate people who are interested in making a difference in the commuter experience at APU,” Jimenez said. “We’re also often compared to the Alpha Leaders of Commuter Life because essentially our main mission is to create that sense of belonging for commuter students, and especially first year commuter students.”
Among the student visitors was Keely Mackey, a senior sociology major, who spoke of her favorite services offered by some of the offices at the event. In particular, Mackey said she appreciated the Study Away options at APU, which she believes allows students to engage with cultures different from their own, and the Career Services Center, which has helped her and others revamp resumes and navigate internships. However, Mackey said the office that has helped her most is the Office of Women’s Development.
“Their pantry for the food insecurity … was a really big help to me and it made me realize it’s not something to be ashamed of,” Mackey said. “I think the publicity of it needs to be expanded, also the assumptions around it. I think a lot of people are ashamed of food insecurity and there’s a whole community on campus who deals with that and it’s something that should be talked about.”