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Lead The Way: Meet the Office of Leadership

By Megan Hart
On March 2, 2013

Office of Leadership oversees all student clubs, organizations, fraternities, sororities, government associations, leadership minor program and the freshman institute at Western Carolina University. Office of Leadership also partners with Residential Living, First Year Experience and College of Education.

"Our office is mainly about getting our students involved on campus and engaging in leadership development," said Mike Corelli, associate director for leadership programs.

Corelli is in charge of the students and staff workers in the Office of Leadership and takes care of the advising in the leadership minor.

"We are the glue to a lot of different things," said Tacquice Wiggans, assistant director of leadership programs. "We help guide them [students] on campus in whatever direction they want to go in."

Wiggans works specifically with the Freshman Leadership Institute to help incoming students transition.

"They are in a group and part of a community, and I teach their Lead 140 class and transition course," said Wiggans.

She also oversees Cat Camp and Whee Lead. Upper level students can become Cat Camp counselors by having a good GPA, resume and an interview. During the interview, students discuss their own vision that they want to bring to the Office of Leadership program. Being a counselor provides students the ability to share their excitement about university life and WCU. The campers also benefit from the "transitional program," as Wiggans called it, by gaining friends before moving into their dorms and encouragement from their upper level peers.

Cat Camp occurs the week before school starts, with 50-150 students participating.

"Leadership is everywhere on campus. If we do not feel that they can take on a place of leadership, we encourage them to be the best that they can be in the leadership opportunities that they currently are in," said Wiggans.

The Whee Lead Conference is hosted by the Office of Leadership each year, led by students to oversee different programs.

Students become more involved with the Office of Leadership by joining committees like Dance Marathon, which is an event coming up on March 9. Dance Marathon raised over $8,000 in the fall during its fundraising efforts before the big event.

Mentoring and conversing with other students is also an important aspect in the Office of Leadership.

"Student government provides students to be on the front line of making decisions that affect a lot of the students here," Corelli said.

Students go to seek advice at the Office of Leadership because it is like a second home. The program makes way for students like resident assistants and other leaders to tell their stories with first year students on campus.

"'Telling Our Story' is the big theme this year for the Office of Leadership," said Corelli. "We love building relationships with the students, so that they can become comfortable in their environment at Western Carolina."

"We help them become the best students they can be," Wiggan said.

Students come through the program and carry it out in their communities. Students create legacies, lead legacies and graduate with the leadership minor. While balancing budgets in their chapters, students work together in the fraternities and sororities, building lots of service learning programs.

When asked what leadership means to them, Wiggans stated, "No matter what position you face, leadership is global and in every aspect, leadership is the process of knowing when to act and how to act."

Corelli agreed with Wiggans, saying, "Leadership is not always the position; it is the process, doing something for the community, others and yourself. It is not just about the title. It the action and those shared values that you have. Always trying to determine the perspectives, in the role you are going to play. Using an old quote, 'leadership is doing something when no one else is watching.' What legacy do you want to leave behind?"

Both Wiggans and Corelli mentioned how much they wanted to expand on Whee Lead Conference and bring outside university speakers into the program. They hope to see 250-500 students attending the Whee Lead Conference this year. The regional leadership conference allows students to go to workshops and develop their leadership skills.

For students who want to get more involved, Corelli suggested Orgsync.

"Orgsync is our online community that is for the campus," said Corelli, "a way for students to get connected with opportunities. All clubs are on there. Service learning partnership is on there. [The] mission is civic and student engagement. [It's a] one-stop shop for leadership development for faculty and staff and students."

For more information about Office of Leadership and other organizations on campus, visit http://westerncarolinauniversity.orgsync.com.


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