Eastern University’s Leadership Grant Program (LGP) has entered into a new era. In addition to a slight name change, the program, newly christened the Leadership Fellows Program (LFP), has also doubled in size.
In the past, 20 members of each freshmen class were accepted into LGP. This year’s freshmen class includes 40 Leadership Fellows.
According to Tess Bradley, the director of LFP, the reason for the size increase lies in what the Leadership Fellows contribute to Eastern’s campus.
“They were twenty really phenomenal people,” Bradley said, “and Eastern wanted more of them.” The Fellows are, she said, “need people who are good to have on campus.”
Junior Andrew Zetts, chairman of LFP’s Leadership Board, agrees. “These are the people who want to be servant-leaders,” he said.
LFP’s mission is “preparing Eastern University undergraduate students for future leadership roles in the struggle to address the world’s great needs,” Zetts said.
In the coming year, the increase in Leadership Fellows will have a profound effect on student life at Eastern. LFP students are each required to hold a major leadership role on campus during their sophomore or junior year. This means that students can expect to see more clubs and other organizations forming, as new positions will need to be created in order for the increased number of LFP students to meet this requirement.
The goal of this is not, however, to arbitrarily create an excess of clubs.
“We want Fellows to create sustainable groups that they are passionate about,” Zetts said.
Forty-member cohorts allow for more diversity in interests and passions within LFP. This will ultimately result in a greater variety of the clubs formed and more diversity in the needs met by these organizations.
The size increase in the LFP had immediate implications, which were especially evident during its annual Leadership Week. Freshmen Leadership Fellows arrived at Eastern before the rest of their classmates so that they could devote a week to bonding as a cohort, becoming familiar with Eastern and LFP culture and participating in various leadership activities.
Zetts said that this year was “way different than what [he] was used to.” For one thing, the various natural disasters that occurred that week made campus life interesting, to put it nicely.
However, Leadership Week 2011 was ultimately a success due to careful planning, improvisation and assistance from other Leadership Fellows.
“The leadership of the upperclassmen was great,” Zetts said.
After what Zetts describes as an “eventful and memorable” start, Eastern University can expect new and exciting things from this group of students.