The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Campus clubs mold future leaders

They fight for their cause by leading the way for others who have similar views. They try to make right everything that’s wrong. They are chosen among the few who represent the majority. They are the leaders of our campus clubs and could end up being the leaders of our nation.

At EC, club leaders are responsible for representing students on campus. There is a big commitment that is made when becoming a leader on campus.

Freshman Mohammed Elshorafa is the vice president in charge of finance for the Associated Student Organization. He has been involved with the ASO for one year now and realizes the importance of leadership on campus.

“There must always be a leader to represent the students,” Elshorafa said. “ASO provides that leadership for students on campus.”

Students recently approved a representation fee increase of fifty cents that will go to the ASO budget to address student issues. Some of those issues were made vocal last semester in Sacramento.

“The march on Sacramento last semester to keep tuition down at community colleges was organized by ASO,” Elshorafa said. “ASO members from community colleges all over California were involved in this march that in the end, kept tuition at $18 a unit, rather than the proposed $26 a unit.”

In addition to the group effort made by the ASO, there are individual tasks that each member must accomplish.

“I manage the budget given to the ASO,” Elshorafa said. “The money is used to organize fundraisers or events that deal with issues affecting students.”

Cameron Samimi, ASO president, is in charge of overlooking the progress made by the organization and responsible for raising student awareness on campus.

“Our leader attends conferences that help develop leadership skills,” Elshorafa said. “He is responsible for attending committees in which he represents EC and its students. He pretty much keeps everything in order.”

Student awareness is important

Among the things that the ASO president learns at these conferences is how to maintain and increase student awareness on campus.

“Student awareness is increasing since I’ve been with ASO,” Elshorafa said. “I’ve been seeing more students getting involved with campus issues.”

Various issues are addressed at ASO meetings such as; food service, class sizes or fundraising for student events. Yet good leadership requires more than just discussing the problem.

“A good leader is organized and has a good balance of what’s important,” Elshorafa said. “The very important thing for a leader to have is the ability to speak in public. You can’t be afraid to speak to people.”

Communication is key

While communication is a critical factor in becoming an effective leader, for Josh Lo, president of the Libertarian Society on campus, an informed leader determines how much he’ll accomplish.

“For a leader to be successful, he has to know what the people want,” Lo said. “He must respect those people and strive to accomplish what they want. It’s like a mirror; you must see everyone as yourself and respect them.”

Lo is aware of the responsibility that he has as a leader but realizes that he is only there because he was chosen.

“I pretty much started the group alone with a few of the current members who are involved,” Lo said. “I was just lucky enough to be named president by everyone else.”

Getting involved to be successful

Just like the ASO, Lo and the Libertarian Society strive to get students involved with current issues.

To political science professor Lance Widman, being involved is a key factor for students to get what they want.

“What’s really important is that students get involved,” Widman said. “You don’t have to be an elected leader to get results; all you really need is to be informed.”

Student leadership is important because it is a more direct source of communication between students and administrators.

“Student leadership allows students to directly represent each other on important issues,” Widman said. “Student leaders can take student concerns directly to board members.”

Widman said he believes that students have to be involved and think about their interests. If nothing is said, nothing will be done.

Among the activities held on campus to increase student awareness was an affirmative action bake sale by the Libertarian Society, in which prices were based on the color of the skin of the customer.

“We did get a negative reaction,” Lo said. “That always happens when you bring up a controversial issue.”

Such issues are what Lo and the Libertarians aren’t afraid to address: anything ranging from taxes to racism. No topic is too delicate for them and no opinion is ever rejected.

“We like to talk to people with any sort of opinion,” Lo said. “If someone feels our opinions are wrong, we want to know so we can be right.”

The Libertarian Society’s goal as a group is to create public awareness. They want to spread the word of liberty among the students.

As important as leadership qualities are, the people who support the leader can make a significant difference as well. Ultimately, the people give the leader the power.

“In a democratic society like ours, people can agree with each other on anything they want to agree on,” Lo said. “Sometimes a leader might not really be needed.”

Lo not only makes it clear that there are circumstances where leadership is not only needed, but it also makes the difference between success and failure.

“Of course there are situations where a leader is definitely needed.” Lo said. “In a classroom, for example, the instructor is the leader because he knows more than the students.”

To Lo, good, strong leadership involves more than just knowledge. The circumstances must be right.

“Leaders are needed when there’s lots of confusion or ignorance,” Lo said. “A good leader must be open minded at all times. He must have the dedication and passion that goes with being a leader.”

Socializing with your peers

Aside from all the hard work that is involved with being a campus leader, there are also some more pleasant and less stressful things that come with the job.

“Being a leader teaches you how to balance your life and to set your priorities,” Elshorafa said. “You also get to meet a lot of interesting people.”

Principles of leadership

Good leaders are made, not born.

* Treat each situation in life with respect and compassion.

* Know yourself and seek self-improvement.

* Must be trustworthy and be able to communicate a vision.

* Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions.

* Know your people and look out for their well-being.

* Keep your people informed.

* Ensure that tasks are understood, supervised and accomplished.

* Use the full capabilities of your organization.

* Be a good role model and set the example.

(*by Donald Clark, “Concepts of Leadership”)

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