This week’s Campus Spotlight will focus on the Office of Leadership and Community Engagement. The office specializes in developing the leadership capacity of students and the skills necessary to successfully complete their respective careers.
The office has various organizations, such as the Student Leadership Institute, the Nick Mamalakis Emerging Leaders Program, and the Student Leaders Program. These organizations help cultivate a mission that emphasizes local service and travel opportunities.
Specifically, the Nick Mamalakis Emerging Leaders program is for incoming first year students and is connected to Southern Leaders, a multi-level leadership development program. Level one is about emerging leaders of Nick Mamalakis, level two is about teamwork and level three is about positive change in the community.
There’s a community engagement side too, including Serve 912, a local focus on community projects here in Savannah. Alternative Breaks is also included, a travel service. Finally, the Service Learning organization is included, which connects a classroom and faculty who then identify a specific community need and work on it throughout the academic semester.
Brandi Hoffman, leadership and community engagement coordinator for the Office of Leadership and Community Engagement, says students should consider working for the office because it offers great personal development and community engagement.
“You get the technical skills and the soft skills that people turn to. By working with community partners, you are essentially in communication with them, you are building a professional network. You also learn to be reliable and responsible and learn the skills you need to be successful in a career, ”Hoffman said.
As students study in their respective fields and advance in their academic careers, internships and experience are required. The Office of Leadership and Community Engagement offers this while giving students a chance to engage and improve their community.
If students feel the urge to try something new or to get out of their comfort zone, they can walk into the office.
“You can just try something new because you don’t know what participating in our programs will do for you. It might just be new interest aroused that you didn’t know you had, ”Hoffman said.
Although the office encourages student participation, it can still be unappealing to some, who may have doubts or think the opportunity is too good to be true. Therefore, Hoffman explained in detail the qualities and skills she acquired while working for the office.
“Being connected to all community organizations just opened my eyes to what the Savannah community has to offer. I also learned so much about myself because you can’t teach leadership without thinking about who you are; leadership is the truest of yourself. Plus, I did a lot of self-reflection, which in turn led to a lot of personal development, ”Hoffman said.
Since the onset of COVID-19, the world has been hit hard by the virus; the Office of Leadership and Community Engagement is no exception and has undergone significant changes. Although, unlike others, the office has benefited from these changes, with the changes having a positive impact on the future of the office.
“Our Holiday Helper Tree is coming, we never had that here in Armstrong, it was done physically in Statesboro but due to COVID we had to put everything online. Now that we have this online platform that COVID has pushed us to build, we will continue to expand it, ”Hoffman said.
Another change for the office due to COVID-19 is the introduction of its Alternative Breaks program which was previously mentioned as part of the office’s community engagement programs. Before COVID-19, the office offered travel services outside of the region, but now they can do it closer to home for students. The breaks take place on November 13th and 14th.
The main objective of the office is to focus primarily on the philosophy of servant leadership, which focuses on service to others. For Hoffman, she says this philosophy leads to a particular investigation of values and a review of what leadership means to you.
The opportunities presented by the office leave students with a lot of experiential learning and a lot of community service. The programs promote the idea of getting involved and serving your community, which aligns with the office’s goals.
“Students should expect a really exciting spring and calendar of events because we’re ready to take the plunge,” Hollman said.
Students can access the office by walking up to the Student Union floor in Suite D234, directly across from the Savannah Ballroom on the Armstrong Campus. Students on the Statesboro campus can access the office in the Russell Union building in room 1056.
Information on employment opportunities is located in the office, and anyone interested in community service can also walk into the office.
Students can contact the office at (912) 478-1435 and email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The office looks to the spring semester as it approaches, with hopes of increased student engagement.