Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, in collaboration with other multicultural organizations, hosted a Leadership Panel on Tuesday, Sept. 13.
The goal of the event was to inspire more involvement with leadership positions in on-campus organizations. The event involved two hosts asking panelists open-ended questions that they could freely answer before opening up to the audience, who could ask additional questions to the panelists. Each panelist was either president or vice president of a multicultural organization on campus.
Kevin Agyapong, president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and a senior majoring in computer science, was one of the hosts of the event. He said the idea for the event came from talking to freshmen who were looking to get more information about how to get involved on campus.
“I feel like the panelists spoke really well,” Agyapong said. “People were asking questions and were engaged. Everyone got their food, so I think it was a successful event. What I want people to really take away is not being afraid to be a leader. I want people to get involved, and know how to get involved.”
Each panelist came from a different organization, giving the audience different perspectives of leadership. Panelists were selected from several organizations such as the Black Student Union (BSU), SHADES, Powerful United Ladies Striving to Elevate (PULSE), African Student Organization (ASO), Men of Color Scholastic Society, Caribbean Student Association (CSA) and Latin American Student Union (LASU).
Elissa Morales, vice president of the LASU and a junior majoring in human development, was one of the panelists. Morales wrote that she participated in the event to share her experience as a leader on campus with those looking to be in leadership positions.
“So far, being in a leadership role has been stressful but rewarding,” Morales wrote in an email. “I say this because there is a lot that goes into running a large on-campus organization like LASU. However, our events are very impactful, so it is rewarding when people come up to me after an event we have worked so hard for, and state that our event really meant something to them, and that makes everything worth it.”
The event took place in the Binghamton University Union. Food and beverages were provided to attendees. The organizations expressed their goal of giving students insight into what being in a leadership position was like and to encourage them to pursue these roles. The panelists gave different perspectives on what a leader is to them as well as their own experiences being a leader on campus.
Derek Jorden, the resident director of Bingham Hall in Newing College, was one of the hosts of the event. Jorden said he hopes freshmen saw leaders that resemble themselves at the event, and that it would then motivate them to pursue leadership roles.
“I am very big on leadership, especially here at [BU],” Jorden said. “I think [leadership] is one of the things [BU] has to work on. I think we are really big on advocating for research but leadership is slacking a little bit. I don’t think it’s on the University’s side. I think this [COVID-19] generation coming in missed that part of it in high school, at home [and] in the community because we had to be stuck in the house for so long. So I think coming here they are not seeing the importance of it, so I’m really big on making sure students get involved and get that leadership component to college, as well.”
Kaylei Fanfan, a junior double-majoring in philosophy, politics and law and Latin American and Caribbean Area studies, said she chose to attend to hear the perspective of the leaders of the organizations involved.
“How could [BU] make these leadership positions more accessible?” Fanfan said. “I would say to advertise the clubs more. As organizations, we do that ourselves. [BU] could do a better job of advertising, definitely with the minority and [person of color] organizations. I think that would be very beneficial to getting more people into these leadership positions.”