Pursuing goals and stepping outside of your comfort zone to continually grow as a student, a professional, and as a leader can be stressful. That's why meditative practices and de-stressing is so important, as the Marietta College chapter understands so well.
Chapter President Mackenzie Grigsby, and her Executive Board, saw World Mental Health Day as a great opportunity to shine a light on such an important topic today, while also doing something to help.
“Marietta College's chapter of the NSLS has already taken part in two service events this semester. We helped place flags in front of our campus library to honor 9/11 and we also ran a table for World Mental Health Day where students were able to participate in de-stress activities.”
Having the intent to shine a light on such a tragic event as 9/11, and implementing a de-stressing day to help students unwind is one thing; it takes true leadership to make it happen.
Reinforcing Bonds Between Members and Students
Grigsby says their experiences helped reinforce their commitment to serving their community and fellow students. It also built stronger bonds between chapter members, and between the chapter itself and other organizations on campus.
That’s because they chose to partner and collaborate with other Marietta student groups to create and host even more helpful events and expand their reach to those they wanted to serve. Both events were designed to truly reach out and support others in different ways.
“The 9/11 memorial gave us a chance to shine light on the tragic event, and give those impacted a chance to feel seen, heard, and cared for. The mental health event gave our student community a chance to take a break and talk to someone if they needed to. It was a great opportunity for everyone to relax and de-stress.”
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Rising to New Challenges, Developing New Skills
Both of these events were significant in size, scope, and focus. The 9/11 memorial event centered around the placement of flags in front of the campus amphitheater. Each flag represented the nation of origin for each of the nearly 3,000 victims who died in the attacks.
Subsequently, the mental health event offered a participatory opportunity for all students to de-stress and talk to others about their shared experiences.
Grigsby says their experiences gave chapter members the opportunity to work on their communication, collaboration, and organizational skills.
“We worked with our advisors and other student organizations to come together and make a difference on campus. To make these events successful, we had to use our communication skills to inform our members, while also taking charge in setting up materials, providing extra materials needed, and answering any questions that may have arose.”
Participating in larger scale events with multiple organizational sponsors can be challenging for groups of any size. As Grigsby and the other chapter members discovered, the key to success rests in strong communication skills paired with a deep commitment to teamwork.
Serving As a Chapter Leader Brings Growth and Clarity
Becoming an NSLS member comes with many tangible benefits, such as the hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships awarded each year and the opportunities to develop leadership skills.
Grigsby believes that serving as a chapter leader also has its own benefits, including the invaluable experience of being both challenged to grow and simultaneously supported in one’s efforts to achieve personal and professional goals.
“Being a chapter leader has definitely made me open up more and be willing to talk to people I don't already know. It has also made me more confident in my work and my passion to help others.”
In addition to these opportunities for growth, Grigsby says the experience of serving as Chapter President is also helping her refine and embrace her own perception of what true leadership really is.
Many chapter leaders report a similar experience as they shift from a traditional, autocratic leadership style to the more supportive style of servant leadership. The ability to serve chapter members both practically and personally is a big part of Grigsby’s perspective on leadership now.
“Leadership to me means using knowledge and practical skills to help guide yourself and others to accomplish a task or get through tough times.”
Servant Leadership Helps Everyone
Grigsby and other chapter leaders are now committed to putting the principles of servant leadership into practice with new chapter members.
“We are now working to help our members in finishing some of their last steps toward induction. We are sending reminders and offering any extra help we can to ensure these events are completed.”
She also offers two pieces of advice for other chapter leaders who’d like to put the “serve” into servant leadership.
“Don't be afraid to try something new, and collaborate with other organizations!”
For another example of servant leadership and a commitment to teamwork in action, read about another NSLS member who founded and leads a nonprofit organization that helps active military and military families.