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[Fresh] FRESH@news: Spotlight on Leadership


During this edition of Fresh@News, we will find out more about leadership opportunities on-campus through our interview with Ralph Gigliotti, Assistant Director of Student Development for Leadership Programs.  There are some great new initiatives being developed for freshmen that will benefit the student individually as well as the campus community as a whole.


Fresh@News: Can you explain how leadership development fits into the world of Student Life?

Ralph Gigliotti:   The Division of Student Life seeks to develop confident and well-rounded students outside of the classroom. By getting involved in any of our leadership programs, students are challenged to grow both personally and professionally during their time at Villanova. Grounded in the social change and servant leadership models, all of our leadership programs and opportunities encourage students to take on leadership positions for sincere and earnest reasons: to enact positive change for those around you.   We are also in the process of working with several academic departments on campus to incorporate leadership education inside the classroom. By collaborating with our friends in Academic Affairs, students will be able to develop an expansive understanding and appreciation for leadership.  I am excited to have this position that allows me to work with many aspiring and current student leaders at Villanova.


Fresh@News: What kind of programs or services do you offer to the students?

R.G.: The office runs many leadership programs and opportunities for undergraduate students at Villanova. We sponsor multiple tracks of the Villanova Leadership Academy in both the fall semester and spring semester. In addition to the on-campus leadership series, we often bring in speakers from off-campus to focus on leadership from many different perspectives. Once you enter your junior or senior year, experienced student leaders can apply to become a Student Leadership Coach and serve as a consultant for various student clubs and organizations. Finally, our office will regularly host workshops and training sessions for leaders of any student organization on a number of different topics including recruitment and retention, transitioning, and crisis management.


Fresh@News: Many students at Villanova were involved in their High School.  If a student is looking to get more involved on campus, how can they get started?

R.G.: We are blessed with a dynamic and motivated student body at Villanova. Many students were involved in leadership positions in high school and can often become discouraged when rejected from a club or organization in college. My advice to these students: stay motivated! There is a place for everyone at Villanova. Our office hosts numerous programs for emerging leaders and we are happy to assist you during your leadership journey. More information regarding upcoming programs and workshops can be found on our leadership website (http://www1.villanova.edu/villanova/studentlife/lifeatvu/leadership.html).  


Fresh@News: Your office is sponsoring a talk about leadership by Somaly Mam.  What will she talk with Villanova students about?

R.G.: Born in a tribal ethnic minority family in Cambodia, Somaly Mam struggled through poverty and was sold into a life of sexual slavery many times by a man who posed as her grandfather. She made it her mission to escape and later find a way to stop this vicious cycle. In 1996, Somaly established a Cambodian non-governmental organization called AFESIP which translates into “Acting for Women in Distressing Situations.” Under Somaly's leadership, AFESIP has rescued thousands of women from sexual slavery and employs a holistic approach that ensures victims not only escape their plight, but have the emotional and economic strength to face the future with hope. With the launch of the Somaly Mam Foundation in the United States in 2007, Somaly has established a funding vehicle to support anti-trafficking organizations and to provide victims and survivors with a platform from which their voices can be heard around the world. Her incessant diligence and perseverance to combat sex slavery and human trafficking has brought Mam enormous international recognitions including being honored as a “CNN Hero,” Glamour’s “Woman of the Year,” and one of Time’s “100 Most Influential People.” She presents a unique perspective on leadership and we look forward to welcoming her to Villanova University on Thursday, February 2 at 4:00 pm in the Villanova Room.


Fresh@News: Is this open to the public?  How can a student buy tickets?

R.G.: Tickets are currently available at www.villanovatix.com. Student tickets can be purchased for $2 and non-students can purchase a ticket for $5. 


Fresh@News: What can parents do to encourage students who are interested in exploring leadership opportunities?

R.G.: There are many resources on campus for students seeking leadership opportunities. A good place to start is by visiting our Office of Leadership Programs website at http://www1.villanova.edu/villanova/studentlife/lifeatvu/leadership.html. Students should get involved on campus as a general member of a club or organization. As I often tell students, “leadership is a process and not a position.” Even if you are not “president” of an organization, you can still play a significant leadership role in the life of a club or organization. Finally, I am always available to discuss leadership opportunities at Villanova. Any student can stop by my office in 108 Dougherty Hall or can e-mail me at ralph.gigliotti@villanova.edu.



Don’t forget to register for the upcoming Health Promotion Influencer Series parent webinars! The next featured parent webinar speaks to the challenges associated with raising young adults in a society obsessed with unattainable beauty and the “thin ideal.” As a parent you are faced with the challenge of how to confront the harmful effects of media, peer pressure and other such influences. While you are not with your student every day, you can still positively influence their lives more than you think possible. To register for this webinar on Tuesday, January 24 at 7:30pmEDT, click here: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/310397038.  Learn more about future webinars at:   www.villanova.edu/healthpromotion, and click on Influencer Series.

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