by GENESIS AQUINO
The Emerging Leaders Program has changed the behavioral and community atmosphere in Spellman Hall for the new 2014 freshman at Manhattanville College; a new program implemented this year by the former Resident Director of Spellman Hall.
The Emerging Leaders program was built to provide a strong sense of community spirit, create opportunities for involvement, and develop a strong leadership foundation so students are able to communicate effectively with a diverse group of people. Students that were part of the Castle Scholars Program (an honors program here at Manhattanville) were automatically given an application to become a part of the Emerging Leaders Program. Others who are not in the Castle Scholars Program were also encouraged to apply. In the end, there were a total of 40 participants accepted to the Emerging Leaders Program that would reside on the third floor of Spellman Hall. The Resident Advisors in charge of the third floor and the Resident Director of the entire building, would oversee these participants.
Students in the program have to complete 15 hours of community service and attend three required leadership development workshops per semester. The program tracks the student’s participation for the semester through student blogs where they display their community service and workshop attendance. On these blogs, the students are able to openly discuss their experiences, not only in the Emerging Leaders Program but also personal entries as a first year Manhattanville student.
Early indicators suggest that the Emerging Leaders program has been a success. Freshman blog entries show the students enthused by the many community service opportunities they have participated in. One such opportunity was when a student got to spend the night in the shoes of a homeless person. Other blogs use the words as informative, I really enjoyed my night, or sense of community to all describes their personal experiences through the Emerging Leaders program. (fix sentence, clarify)
Another positive effect of the program is the decrease residence hall damages as well as roommate conflicts. According to the monthly reports done by Silvestre, by this time last year there was a total of $4,300 in damage fees in Spellman Hall while this year that number dropped to $920. As for roommate conflicts, all of the mediations, changes, and sanctions have dropped by 50%.
“I wanted to create this program to see a change in the community of Spellman Hall and I am very happy with the outcome so far” Alexandra Silvestre said.
Javon Joslyn, the current Resident Director of Spellman Hall, explained, “The hallways could not be quieter and as an RD that makes me really happy, way less commotion compared to last year!”
Alexandra Silvestre, currently the Assistant Director of Residence Life and creator of the Emerging Leaders Program came up with the idea last year when a conflict between two residents that were roommates in Spellman Hall occurred. The two residents were not getting along due to having different values on their education. The parent of one of the residents brought up this issue to Silvestre’s attention because she wanted her daughter to receive a new room assignment where she would be able to concentrate and focus on her studies rather than being distracted by her roommate’s activities. The policy at Manhattanville states that a room assignment cannot be changed within the first three weeks of school. The problem escalated and became a greater issue when the parent did not receive what she had asked for which led to the involvement of a higher authority in administration on campus. After the conflict, Silvestre came up with the idea of the Emerging Leaders Program.