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Leading with Purpose: How Joining a Student Organization Can Develop Your Leadership Skills

Written by: Mackenzie Lewis

Joining a Student Organization can create a pool of opportunities, ranging anywhere from professional development to handfuls of lifelong friendships waiting to blossom (see Finding Your People: The Lasting Impact of Joining a Campus Organization – iCommunify for more on the benefits of joining a campus club). However, getting involved in extracurriculars at your university can develop an array of Leadership skills that will expand your college experience and carry into years beyond graduation.

Kaci Rae Bartley is a 2024 graduate from East Tennessee State University. Starting college in the wake of the pandemic proved to be incredibly difficult, but getting involved on campus at a time when restrictions were prevalent was a journey of its own. As a member of the ETSU Dance Team, Bartley’s school pride only grew as she searched for more ways to make the most of her college experience. She refused to let restrictions keep her from missing out on opportunities to grow her involvement, and eventually joined the Preview and Orientation Leader Organization as a guide for new students at ETSU. Beyond becoming a POLO leader, Bartley also became a Buccaneer Involvement Guide- a program that allowed her to work even closer with new students as an in-classroom mentor for individuals in their first year in college. Bartley even joined Greek Life and went on to become ETSU Homecoming Queen in Fall of 2023.

“I understand that everyone’s experience of getting involved at their university will be different,” says Bartley, “however, I encourage every student to join for a club that will push you out of your comfort zone and make you grow as both a leader and a person.” Leadership skills and development were among some of the most valuable tools that Bartley obtained during her time at ETSU, including opportunities for improving in public speaking, problem solving, professionalism, and overall self-confidence. Skills like these can be used in professional, personal, and academic opportunities for positions or relationships beyond your college experience and can be the start of your personal growth journey at the roots of your professional career. Leadership development can guide you into self-advocacy and give you the confidence to search for positions that best align with your morals and desires.

Leadership skills are among the top attributes that professional employers search for when recruiting new employees. Demonstrating that you’ve been involved in student organizations will pave the way for opportunities far beyond campus, and iCommunify has made it easy to expand your involvement and find organizations that are the best fit for your personal journey. Simply registering for iCommunify with your school email address will open the door to all registered organizations, and even gives the opportunity to easily create a club if you can’t find one that fits your passions. We have streamlined the application process, and created a platform that cuts the confusion of unreliable communication and complicated recruitment.

Working with new students as a POLO leader has given Bartley insight to how stressful it can be to try and find your way both in life and in college. “For anyone looking to get involved on campus, I encourage you to seek out joining organizations who you can align with their missions and a community that actively supports your passions,” says Bartley, “try and find new experiences out of your comfort zone that will help you grow as a leader and open your eyes to different ways of life.”

iCommunify is the ultimate hub for expanding your involvement within your university and developing skillsets that will bring you further than ever before. Beginning your journey of involvement and self-exploration has never been easier- visit www.icommunify.com to unlock your potential as a student leader and get the most out of your college experience!