On any given day, the members of the Purdue University North Central Dean’s Leadership Group (DLG) can be found planning or taking part in an event on campus or in the community.
DLG is dedicated to leadership and volunteerism at PNC and the community. Students must apply for membership based on their academic background, record of volunteerism and accomplishment and their intent to take on leadership roles as a student and following their graduation from PNC. Once accepted, each student is required to volunteer 50 hours a semester. A scholarship is also included.
DLG members take part in a non-credit, semester-long Chancellor’s Leadership Seminar led by PNC Chancellor Dr. James B. Dworkin. The seminar meets once a week and features a variety of guest speakers who address various aspects of leadership.
There are now about 50 DLG members. They say that their involvement and personal commitment to leadership and volunteerism now extends far beyond their initial desire to be involved in their campus and community.
“I’ve found that being a leader means taking the extra step to give something of yourself,” said Janelle Taylor, an Elementary Education from LaPorte, and a DLG co-president.
Alexis Lange, of Valparaiso, is a freshman who got involved on campus during the first few weeks of class. “There are so many benefits to volunteering and helping out,” she said. “There are so many opportunities. I’ve learned about what it takes to be a leader and I’ve learned a lot about myself, too.”
Sometimes their leadership lessons come in a more subtle form when the individual DLG members take on projects.
“You really learn what it takes to complete a project, from start to finish,” said Kara Moon, a Business major from Morgan Township. She noted that the key lessons she learned as a project leader was to make sure that planning gets started on time and that there always seems to be more involved than initially meets the eye.
“A good leader must be comfortable taking on responsibility,” added Greg Mohlke, an Elementary Education major from Wanatah, and DLG secretary/treasurer. “It also means that you don’t take on more than you can do.”
Mohlke was one of the students who took on the job of planning the campus Haunted Trail in October. “It was the most difficult thing we’re done,” he admitted. “So many things had to come together.”
An unforeseen rainy week forced the cancellation of one key night. After all that, however, “it exceeded our expectations,” he said.
Each student is required to take the lead on a project during the year. Their projects have included the haunted trail, a coat drive and a variety of children’s parties. They also helped plan activities for Spirit Week, Pride Week and orientation. They’ve traveled to meetings and seminars and met the governor at a book signing.
“I’ve been exposed to so many things that I would never have been able to do otherwise,” said Lange.
While each student admitted that taking the lead on project seemed daunting at first, they learned to take it step by step and do what a good leader should do – enlist the aid of trusted volunteers.
“Once you know your strengths and weaknesses, you can build from there,” noted Katie Hines, DLG co-president and graduate of Washington Township High School.
They also found that they’re now volunteering to take on leadership roles because they enjoy it.
“After you get into your first project, you realize you are involved because that is what you want to do. The only way to learn is by doing it,” said Mohlke.
The DLG members also found that thanks to their campus involvement, they’ve been able to meet countless students and are comfortable dealing with faculty and staff members.
“I came here not really knowing anyone, but now I know someone in every class I walk in to,” said Mohlke.
“Knowing people, understanding how things work on campus, makes being in college less scary. I have a lot more confidence now,” added Hines.
“Getting involved, having friends is part of the college experience. PNC has a lot to offer. People need to check it out,” advised Moon.