Mosaic / April 3, 2019

Club leaders share their passions for their organizations

Junior Michaela Kowalewski checks off a list while helping Food Recovery Network, of which she is the Co-External Relations chair. Kowalewski has been involved with the club since her freshman year. (Alicia Olejniczak/TKS)

Students join clubs for all sorts of reasons when first arriving on campus and some even start their own. For junior Fiona Munro joining the Students for Sustainability, a club that promotes sustainability and environmental issues on campus, was a logical choice.

“I knew when I came that I wanted to do environmental studies and I was excited to do environmental stuff extracurricularly as well, so it was one of the first clubs I joined and just stuck with it,” Munro, now the President of Students for Sustainability said.

Sophomore Isaac Hughes, the Co-Founder and President of Tea Club, came up with the idea last fall with his suitemates to create a club where tea-loving people could come together to drink tea, socialize, learn about different kinds of tea and plan campus-wide events.

“We would have our own little tea clubs where we meet and exchange tea and drink tea together informally, in the common room in our suite. And one time when we were doing that, we were like hey we should make this a real club,” Hughes said.

And for some, like junior Michaela Kowalewski, a passion for volunteering led her to join and eventually become the Co-External Relations Chair for Food Recovery Network, a student run organization that recovers food from the cafeteria and gives it to those in need.

“I got involved my freshman year, the club is actually fairly new, started a year before I joined. I just heard it was a good volunteer opportunity to get involved with and then really fell in love with the work we were doing,” Kowalewski said.

For these club execs, being put into a leadership position offers many challenges such as an increased level of responsibility and unseen challenges.

“There’s definitely a lot of responsibility and there’s always things that are coming up and you never actually know what’s required of a role until you are in it,” Kowalewski said.

For some students who have found themselves in leadership roles for this academic year, leading a group of people goes against their natural instincts.

“I’m kind of more of a listener, so in terms of leading the club, that’s the most difficult thing. Trusting myself to be like, I am going to tell you what to do and what we are talking about today,” Munro said.

Sometimes, even something as simple as low turn-out to meetings is the biggest challenge for club executives.

“One of the hardest things is that there are so many things going on around campus that it makes it hard to gather a person’s attention for an event that we are holding or for people to come to meetings,” Hughes said.

Yet with all the difficulties and challenges of being in a club leadership role, all enjoy the rewarding aspects of leading a club they are passionate about.

“Meeting the people in my club and seeing what they’re passionate about and what they think, I think that’s the best part for me. Just seeing really excited people come together and do stuff together,” Munro said.

Hughes is excited about the quick expansion of tea club and being an active member in the community.

“It just makes me feel good that we are active members of this community. And on top of that, when we are hosting a campus-wide event and someone who’s never been to a meeting before comes because at that point we made a connection with them,” Hughes said.

Kowalewski feels that being in a leadership position has helped her grow as well as given her the satisfaction of working for a good cause.

“I think [you learn] professional skills [through] just being able to deal with different things that come at you … I have learned a lot from it … The impact we are able to have, specifically the community outreaches, are really great in that way,” Kowalewski said.

Dmitri Chambers

Tags:  exec members food recovery network leadership roles student organizations students for sustainability tea club

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