New Course at Longwood University

Greek Emerging Leaders Experience course is attempting to prepare students

Walking into the room of Hull 129A, students from different Greek organizations across Longwood Universities campus file in.

All of the student’s flock to their specific Greek organization once in the classroom, but little do they know, with this new up and coming course the option of only sticking to your comfort zone, is impossible.

Chloe Abshire, associate director of fraternity and sorority life, started the course at Longwood University. The course is the Greek Emerging Leaders Experience (GELE). This course is designed to prepare students in the Greek community to become better leaders.

The course is held once a week on Mondays at 5:30 p.m. for the fall semester. The classes are an hour and 15 minutes long, and contains topics filled with team building exercises and how to become an efficient leader in society.

“We do personality tests, true color activities, and value alignment tests as well.” says Absire.

Students from Greek organizations at Longwood can choose whether or not they want to participate in the course. At the conclusion of the class, students will receive a certificate for completing the course.

Linze Jakobs

Linze Jakobs, a student in GELE, says team groups are one of the main components in this course. “You walk in the room and sit down with your team group. All sororities and fraternities are intermingled into team groups. Then she (Abshire) will introduce the lesson, lecture on the lesson, and then the team groups do an activity on it,” says Jakobs.

The team groups were formed on the first day of class so that students would step out of their comfort zone and meet students from other organizations. Within their team groups, students have the opportunity to become leaders within them.

Yet, many students like Jakobs feel as though even in these smaller groups they cannot live up to their leadership potential, and do not feel as prepared to be a leader. “When the class elected leaders and presidents, I was not present. Now I am not able to be one which kind of defeats one the main goals of the class,” says Jakobs.

One fact about this course that is significantly different, is that this class does not count towards a student’s credit hours. Students who take this class must be genuinely invested in the topic of being a better leader, to want to take the class. Yet, some students just take it for the representation of their Greek chapters. “In my chapter we got to volunteer whether or not we wanted to take the course. I think volunteering to take it is a better option because then all students in the class will care,” says Kaila Epperson, student in the class.

The students that do not care about the course genuinely hurt the other students. “I really like to learn about the topics so sometimes it can be frustrating when people in your group are only doing it because they were forced,” says Epperson.

The option of this class expanding to more than once a week has yet to be discussed, and some students are wishing they had class more. “I would like the class more than once a week because I feel like we could not only cover more topics but learn more and really test those skills,” says Jakobs.

“I would consider having class more but I worry about time management though, because students who attend GELE are up and coming chapter leaders, and are getting demands from their chapters. I want it (GELE) to be rewarding and not inconvient,” says Abshire.

Though the class is not over for the semester, students are saying they enjoy the class and feel better prepared to be leaders. “I have a leadership role in class and it has already prepared me to take on more roles in not only Greek life, but in future roles, which is great because it is not even over and I have seen improvements in myself,” says Epperson.

Despite the bumps in the roads, seeing the improvement in student leadership skills is what GELE aims for, and the outcome of those aims have been somewhat accomplished so far. Epperson says that she plans to use these skills in her upcoming role in Greek life.

While on the other hand, some students like Jakobs do not feel as well prepared because they do not have a leadership role within their team group.

In the future for GELE, students like Jakobs are hoping for rotating leadership roles so that everyone can see the potential they have to be a leader, and feel more prepared. “I think rotating leader roles would really help more students see the lessons come to life, and not just have one person reap all the benefits,” says Jakobs.

“This is the second year of GELE, so every year we learn something new. This (rotating leadership) is a great idea yet how adaptable it would be could be tough since GELE is such a short period of time,” says Abshire.

2017–2018 GELE Class.