I Dreamed a Dream: A Plea for Appreciation of Student Leaders


Published: October 20, 2010

I had an epiphany the other day.  I was halfway through my $5 footlong when it came to me, suddenly—I, and others like me, could one day be truly credited for being student leaders. Credit that transcends positions, titles or club affiliations; supersedes positive or negative attendance at programs and events; and most importantly sheds light on the dedication and hard work of the nearly 200 student leaders at FCLC.

Leaders on our campus sacrifice their time, money and energy, contributions which undoubtedly factor into the functionality of our community as a whole. It is my opinion, among others’, that the commitments of such leaders too often go unnoticed; the numerous hours spent devoted to the needs of the student body too often overlooked.

We, the students, frequently attend events ourselves merely for the free food, stealing a few slices of pizza before slipping out the back door (you know who you are). It becomes less of “what is this event about” and more of “what are they serving;” less of a willingness to give a club and its event a shot and more of unnecessarily critical, and arguably unfounded opinions (you also know who you are).

I envisioned a more grateful community in which students and administrators alike had appreciation for one another. Apathetic and indifferent behavior wasn’t fostered, as it has been. Student leaders were respected, along with their work. Credit was given where credit was due.

The challenge for students became a progressive movement towards dissolving the apathy which has infected our community.  Students attended club events and, despite their personal views, understood the work behind it. They joined together, unified, towards building the community up rather than tearing it down—to empower others, rather than to discourage them. Leaders weren’t criticized for trying to do a good thing.

One may consider the community I speak of as utopian or “far-fetched.” I simply seek a just and fair society—an open-minded community consistently considerate of a hardworking few. Respect and support for others. This is what I envisioned.

I would like to think that I give back to the Fordham community as best I can and that I am not alone. My fellow student leaders and I have chosen to perform our roles sans monetary gain or special benefits. At other universities such as Creighton, Georgetown and American, students receive advantages like housing stipends, leadership scholarships and free parking for their positions. I seek neither monetary gain nor special benefits, but rather a unified understanding that my peers and I work hard for our campus (not that a “thank you” wouldn’t be accepted here and there).

Consider this a call to the middle man, the underappreciated, the unrecognized. I have heard the denigration along with you. “That event was lame.” “That club stinks.” “The paper sucks.” “The food was horrible!” It is not the role of the student leader to be embarrassed, ashamed or disappointed in his or her ventures, but rather to take pride in his or her devotion to this university, even if others do not.

Perhaps my vision will one day be fulfilled, or perhaps not. Just remember that the next time you’re at an event, getting your free meal, or simply having a good time, someone’s hard work was behind it. They, above all, should earn your thanks and admiration. Let it begin now.

Take a bow, student leaders.  You deserve it.