By Brian Riley
Assistant News Editor
From Jan. 11 to the 14, the Office of Campus Life held a Student Leadership Retreat for the leaders of student organizations on campus. The goal was to better their interactions with their club members and the campus as a whole. Sixty-five students attended the three-day program at the YMCA Camp in Greenkill, N.Y., which included a series of speakers, team builders, and sessions on building an inclusive and fun campus.
Amal Zeidan, the President of Brothers and Sisters in Christ College Ministries (BASIC), attended the event, and felt that there was not a dull moment, describing the retreat as a “vacation.” BASIC became a club in spring 2014, and their goal is to help students grow, and expand their relationships with others and God.
A lesson taught at the retreat was that being a club leader is more than delegating roles, but building a deep bond with your club members. “The retreat reconfirmed that personal relationships are eternal and better than just job titles in a club,” Zeiden stated.
One of the highlights of the retreat was keynote speaker Tom Kreiglstein. Kreiglstein learned how to lead when he founded Discounted Depot, his first business, which he began while he was in college. He also founded Student Launcher, which was designed to help student leaders fundraise online. He informed the students on how to be better leaders in their own organizations, “by branching out and stretching an arm to someone who is less interested in campus activities,” Zeidan said.
Abagail Van Vlerah, LIU Post’s Dean of Students, felt that even though only 50 student organizations attended this retreat, the campus could feel the impact. “Events like the Student Leadership Retreat help build an informed campus community, and motivate our student leaders. In turn, these students bring that renewed spirit back to campus,” Van Vlerah said.
A similar event was held last year, according to Michael Berthel, director of Campus Life. Due to the event’s success, Berthel said that the retreat was reworked to include more student leaders and add a professional keynote speaker this year.
“The event was a complete success, and we are going to continue to offer the Student Leadership Retreat on an annual basis,” Berthel added. “These types of events give us an opportunity to work with all of our student leaders to make significant improvements to campus life.”
Next year, Campus Life will hold the retreat during the fall semester in hopes to have all 80 Post clubs in attendance. As for this spring, Campus Life plans to hold events exclusively for Greek leaders. This retreat will be a three-day program held on campus. “We want to continue the dialogue on how to improve the experience [in] our fraternities and sororities,” said Berthel.