By Taylor Frey
Elm Staff Writer
Are students ready for life after WC? How can the College help students be successful and advocate for their success on and off campus? Are there ways that the College can integrate resources available to students and package them in helpful ways? Every student leader and SGA should be asking these essential questions as they develop their goals and programs. As the SGA puts the final touches on the Launchpad Initiative, it looks like they might have hit every one of these questions out of the park.
In the words of Launchpad’s chief organizer, SGA Vice President Maddie Zins, Launchpad is a “senior success seminar targeted to prep students for life after Washington College,” scheduled for the very end of winter break before students typically return to campus. With a $50 cost, and a minimal application that was due on Nov. 1, Launchpad is co-sponsored by the SGA, the Career Center, Alumni Relations, and the Office of the Provost. It is the best planned and most student- and goal-oriented program the SGA has launched in years.
Launchpad goes beyond a typical career seminar. Students who attend the Launchpad program will actively interact with successful alumni, workshop cover letters and resumes, tackle personal finances, and receive tips on finding housing and planning meals after college. The list of sessions students can attend includes a networking session, instruction on employer research, a session on entrepreneurial leadership, considerations of a gap year, a personal elevator speech workshop, a social networking talk, a public speaking session, and other programs with titles like “Your Liberal Arts Education and the Job Market,” and “Beyond Ramen Noodles.” These programs perfectly marry student needs with the resources that make them successful. If Launchpad succeeds as expected, then it will stand out as a model for future SGA initiatives.
Launchpad will be successful because of its focus on student needs as they relate to larger goals of moving the college forward. Launchpad will also be effective because it relies on collaboration with multiple sections of the greater WC community, and provides students with the potential for tangible results. SGA initiatives created and structured in the Launchpad model are the epitome of “talking the talk and walking the walk.” Next semester and in future years students can look to the SGA to plan additional effective, result-based initiatives that attempt to increase freshman retention, create a stronger sense of campus pride, increase the bonds within a diverse student population, ease town-gown relations, encourage participation in the annual class gift, and increase student involvement in internal College politics.
As a student advocate, a Student Representative on College Committees, a club leader, a Student Affairs collaborator, and former SGA Senator, I fully endorse the Launchpad program as a huge projected success and a big step in the right direction. The key to SGA success in the coming year will be continuing programs like Launchpad and developing similar student-advocacy based, goal-oriented programs that strengthen the WC family. Students should keep our eyes out for new SGA initiatives, and continue to support leaders like Zins who advocate for student needs, and can roll up their sleeves and work with WC offices, faculty, and alumni to create effective programs and meet our goals as a student body and institution.
To learn more about SGA initiatives or to apply to the Launchpad program visit http://www.washcoll.edu/campuslife/sga/sga-initiatives/.