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Taking Charge

News Feature

News & Events

April 23, 2012

A group of male students learned how to become successful leaders on campus and beyond during a weekend retreat led by faculty and staff facilitators at Camp Wingate-Kirkland in Yarmouth Port.

The 36 students engaged with facilitators in leadership training sessions and activities aimed at helping the young men prepare for leadership roles in their groups, on campus and in their communities. Activity topics at the retreat ranged from individual and group leadership to community building and diversity issues. The students learned valuable group and interpersonal communication skills.

"The overall connector between all of these topics was the focus on change and preparing our students to lead change in their chosen professions, organizations or community settings," said Cindy Kane, director of the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership who organized the retreat.

Facilitator Justin McCauley, resident director of Resident Life and Housing, said one aim of the retreat was to encourage campus involvement among male students, who are overall less likely than women to take on leadership roles at BSU.

"The students saw firsthand that there are other men from different backgrounds and experiences that share similar thoughts and opinions," he said. "They needed to come together and share ideas and experiences and push each other to branch out when they got back to campus. Their actions will hopefully then inspire other young men to take similar steps."

Participant Cody Lyne of Swansea, said the retreat has since encouraged him to get involved. "For the past few weeks, I have been embracing the idea of becoming much more involved on the Bridgewater campus, and extending my abilities not only as a leader but as a successful individual and contributor," he said.

John Rodriguez of Worcester, senior resident assistant of Durgin Hall, said the experience taught him many lessons, specifically in conflict resolution and diversity sensitivity issues.

"This retreat helped me see other ways to be more inclusive to diversity and other unique ways to handle conflict and remaining professional and unbiased," he said.

Perhaps most important for Mr. Rodriguez were the interpersonal connections he made. "The relationships that are so easily formed in this one space are pretty great and I am glad to have been a part of this experience," he said.

Mr. McCauley, who is also resident learning communities coordinator, said the chosen facilitators were perfect for leading the retreat. "I have never had an opportunity like this to work with such impressive, impactful and caring men," he said. "They were all ideal and willing role models for the students."

Participating staff and faculty facilitators were: Matt Miller, assistant director for programming, OSIL; Richardson PierreLouis, Residence Life and Housing; Dr. Michael Kocet, associate professor and acting chairperson, Counselor Education; Dr. David O'Malley, assistant professor, Social Work; Ed Cabellon, director, Campus Center; and Dan McHugh, director, and Robert Brock, assistant director of operations, from Conference and Event Services.

All male BSU students were invited to apply to attend the retreat. Students were selected based on their projected learning and life goals for their time at BSU and beyond.

In the end, Mr. McCauley said the students walked away with a strong sense of community. "These men, from their many different backgrounds came together and from a close brotherhood," he said. "They really felt interconnected by the time the buses pulled away from the camp." (Rob Matheson, '07, University Advancement)

The men's retreat group
Student Reza Lashkari, a mentor and student leader, delivers a presentation on leadership
Students participate in a team building exercise

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