Becoming a leader at the University through active involvement in organizations

Kristen Vasas and Kristen Vasas

Upon entering college, students are subjected to an array of organizations just waiting for their membership. Through the continued support of the group, some students may develop into leaders and begin to take initiative in different organizations as well.

For Undergraduate Student Government Speaker Jeremy Lehman, involvement in a number of campus groups brought leadership and political interest early in his college career.

Lehman’s interest in campus organizations began with his involvement in Alpha Tau Omega, a fraternity founded on Christian principles.

‘When I first came to campus, I wanted to start a fraternity from the ground up,’ he said. ‘That fell through, so I decided to join [Alpha Tau Omega].’

Lehman joined the fraternity in October 2005 as a freshman. At the time, it was made up of only five members. There are now 36.

‘We worked hard to get more guys to join, but we were not 100 percent official according to national fraternities or the University,’ Lehman said. ‘Actually, Dec. 8 of this year will mark the day we become an official fraternity in their eyes.’

During his involvement with Alpha Tau Omega, Lehman served in a number of different positions within the fraternity, namely as vice president.

‘I worked as [vice president] for a majority of the time which really gave me a lot of organizational experience,’ he said. ‘I would take ideas that existed, mix them up and make them my own.’

After serving as vice president of the fraternity for two years, Lehman began work as the scholarship chair.

‘He’s a good worker and is completely dedicated to the fraternity,’ said Eric Young, the current president of Alpha Tau Omega. ‘He makes sure chapter is successful and has worked hard setting up a scholarship committee.’

Lehman also worked a as chaplain whose main priority was to make sure everyone involved with the fraternity got along.

‘Making sure that people worked together really benefited me,’ he said. ‘I would pull things I learned from ATO and make them work inside USG.’

As the speaker for USG, it is Lehman’s responsibility to run the general assembly meetings. He also serves as the governing authority over all USG internal committees.

‘Sometimes disagreements will break out among USG senators within internal committees,’ Lehman said. ‘I just use the same techniques I used as chaplain to settle everything down and get moving again.’

Although Lehman’s involvement with USG and ATO comprise a large chunk of his life, he still manages to find time for other organizations as well.

Lehman joined the President’s Leadership Academy, which was founded in 1997 by University President Sidney Ribeau, during his freshman year at the University. The PLA, which is a four-year program for students who are dedicated to developing leadership skills, accepts 30 students a year from different geographic locations.

‘Jeremy wouldn’t be where he is today without the PLA,’ Lehman’s father Jay said. ‘That group has given him the exposure and the contacts that an average college student just doesn’t have.’

Through the academy, Lehman has come to know the Ribeaus personally, as well as the president of the Latino Student Union, USG President Johnnie L. Lewis and members of the University spirit group SIC SIC.

‘The PLA gives you that support structure that not everybody has,’ Lehman said. ‘It has given me the chance to learn about leadership through the different people I have met.’

Lehman has used the leadership skills given to him through the PLA in order to benefit USG.

He determines the course of new legislation and creates the agenda for every regularly scheduled USG meeting, which he manages through skills learned from the President’s Leadership Academy.

Although he sees ‘the academy as a blessing,’ Lehman mentioned he almost was not included in the organization.

‘I was actually on the waiting list because a couple of things didn’t work out when I first came to Bowling Green,’ he said. ‘I originally didn’t intend to get involved with the PLA, but I’m really grateful that things worked out the way they did.’

Lehman’s father, who agreed with his son concerning the benefits of his contacts within the PLA, feels that his leadership positions within the organizations he has joined will ultimately work to serve him later in life.

‘His work within the PLA and his fraternity will open a whole lot of doors for him later on,’ he said. ‘The contacts he has made at school will go with him when he leaves Bowling Green and you simply cannot put a dollar sign on that.” ‘