Student leaders gather for first USG leadership round table

Tristan Buirley

Student leaders from organizations across Kent State, such as student media and Black United Students, gathered in the balcony of the ballroom to discuss leadership at the first Undergraduate Student Government leadership roundtable on Friday.

Marvin Logan, president of USG, said that they came up with the idea for the roundtable over the summer as part of their analysis of USG.

“We said, ‘What could we do to better improve as leaders and to better improve our outreach?’” Logan said.

USG hosted the event as a way to gather student leaders together in order to discuss issues they face.

The theme of the roundtable was “building community through collaborative efforts,” and in his opening presentation, Logan gave seven topics that he thought leaders should be looking at and discussing. These topics included: connecting to the real world, understanding how work gets done, designing a collaborative organization, helping other leaders drive collaboration, empowering an organization, aligning support systems and developing a culture of collaborative entrepreneurship.

Abby Greer from the Crooked River Alliance of TimeBanks was one of the guest speakers at the event.

Members of the TimeBank offer services to other members to get time credits — one hour equals one credit — which they can exchange for services among other members

“We can all help each other as members,” Greer said, “but then these little societies develop and then you have this little community that really cares about you.”

The second guest speaker at the roundtable was Jennie O’Connell, director of the Office of Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services.

O’Connell spoke about SRVSS’ Green Dot initiative, which has two aspects. The first is a workshop to teach people how to recognize red dot, or an act of power-based personal violence, such as sexual assault, intimate partner violence and stalking, and ways to make those situations green dots, any behavior or choice that promotes safety for all, instead.

“Even one red dot is one too many,” O’Connell said. The second is the social movement behind the initiative, educating the community on these acts and how to prevent them.

Logan said that the two guest speakers both had something to do with leadership, with Greer talking about how to build communities and O’Connell talking about how to address issues in those communities. Logan then called on members of the audience to share their struggles and the issues they face as student leaders.

Student media involvement and outreach were the starting discussion of the roundtable. Audrey Fletcher, senior news major and editor-in-chief of The Kent Stater, talked about how students involved in student media barely have time for other things.

“We are so hyper-involved that we don’t have time to have other jobs,” Fletcher said. Although the experience is worth it, sometimes students are overworked and need to find a support system, she said.

Another issue that student media faced is outreach – getting more students involved. The discussion led Megan Carrasco, senior communication studies major, to talk about social media use and outreach for all organizations.

“People want more people to get involved, so they turn to social media,” Carrasco said. “However, interested people are probably already on social media for your group. You need more face-to-face time with people to get them involved.”

Sophomore journalism major Savanna McCarthy, representing Black United Students, spoke about her experiences with inclusion.

“When we go to events with our title, students feel like they can’t join if they aren’t black,” she said.

McCarthy said that organizations have to stop being cliques and start reaching out to a more diverse group of students.

Logan announced one more special guest speaker at the end of the event, executive director of AALANA initiatives Keith Wisdom, who left the student leaders with some parting advice.

“There is a basic problem that exists in every university – communication,” Wisdom said. “As leaders of these groups, you have a duty to change as a way to change student lives. Do one thing that will leave a legacy for students after you.”

Contact Tristan Buirley at [email protected].