By Madison Basco
September 15, 2022
Being a new student at Ouachita can be overwhelming, especially for those students who have heart and passion for leadership, but have no idea how to get involved on campus. It’s at this time in a person’s life that true guidance and mentorship are needed in order to find their place on campus. Campus Ministries provides a solution to this problem with their new ministry, Leadership Connections.
This ministry was created specifically for freshman and transfer students who are looking for places to lead on campus, but need help figuring out the culture of Ouachita and all of the opportunities it provides. Campus Ministry’s director James Taylor presented this idea last semester, and many student leaders felt very passionate about it.
“A lot of times freshman show up on campus and they were leaders in their youth group or on their high school teams, and they’ve had all this leadership experience and they’re ready to jump in [when they get to campus],” Taylor said. “Leadership Connections was created to connect with those students that wanted to learn more about CM and about ways they could serve, but also talk about what it means to be a biblical leader, so it was really a way for us to connect with freshmen who feel like they may want to step into leadership and help send them into a good direction.”
Campus Minitry’s Assistant director, Hannah Walker, believes that this is a great opportunity for new students.
“We’ve done a few freshman ministries in the past, but none that really give them a chance to learn more about leadership, “ Walker said. “ [The new ministry] is a great example of how there are tons of ways to get involved at Ouachita, and you don’t have to do them all, you can’t do them all, but we hope that you do get involved somewhere.”
Leadership Connections hosts six lunches throughout the semester where new students can come and listen to different speakers and learn more about Campus Ministries and other organizations on campus and around the community. These lunches take place on Wednesdays directly after Noonday, and anybody who wants to attend can sign up through a google form that is sent to their school emails. The first session took place on Sept. 7. Around 25 new students came to the lunch.
“It went great, “ Walker said. “We had four speakers and they all shared about their leadership experiences both through CM and in other realms, and they also talked about finding a place on campus with friends and the timing that [comes with that].”
Seniors Noah Sanders, Jay Brumsy, Emma Anderson, and junior Emma Donley are all student leaders for the Leadership Connections ministry. Brumsy hopes to impact new students the way that he was impacted.
“[I hope to] make a difference but to also help and guide students on their walk while at Ouachita,” Brumsy said. “ I remember being in their same shoes trying to navigate through college figuring out where I belong so this was a perfect opportunity for me to give back what was also given to me . As a ministry, I would say that we hope to impact students by showing not only the love Christ showed but also His servants heart. We hope that our impact molds them into great leaders who make a difference in this world through the Gospel.”
Anderson remembers the struggles of being a new face on campus and wants to help lead new students.
“I wanted to get to know freshmen who really wanted to pursue biblical leadership, “ Anderson said, “ I just want them to feel at home because I know that it is hard adjusting to a new place. I was so scared as a freshman.”
Anderson speaks about the struggle of transitioning from high school to college.
“It’s hard to transition from being the seniors of high school and being involved in everything and everyone knowing who you are to going to a college campus and being such a small part of the culture here,” Anderson said. “My hope is that I in a small way help them get connected, but also give them other resources [such as] other people to reach out to, so that they can represent clubs and organizations all over campus and around the community.”
Donley believes it is important that freshmen seek out guidance from those older than them.
“I have a heart for discipleship, and I think that young students who want to be a part of leadership often need older, wiser people to come alongside them and help them to understand more about being a leader and really invest in them,” Donley said.
Donley hopes to impact these students by showing them what being a leader truly is.
“I think a lot of times [new students] come in and [leadership] is part of their identity, but oftentimes when your identity is ‘I’m a leader’ it becomes a pride issue,” Donley said. “ I want to show them what Christ was like as an example of how he was a servant leader, and how we put others before himself and that He just loved on other people and the way he loved on people well– integrity that is what made Him a good leader. That is what biblical leadership should be”
There are so many ways to get involved at Ouachita. Taylor hopes that new students understand the value in getting involved without placing too much pressure on themselves.
“If new students want to be leaders on campus, then I’d just encourage them to reach out to different organizations and talk to juniors and seniors, “ Taylor said. “It’s also okay to wait and if leadership opportunities don’t come to you right away. That’s normal, and it can sometimes take time to find your place where you really fit in.”