Through the Second Annual Leadership Opportunities Fair at The University of Texas-Pan American, students were given the chance to sign up and learn more about campus organizations and departments. The fair, which was held March 16 and sponsored by the Student Leadership Academy (SLA), allowed students to discover how they can get involved and make a difference.
Amy Martin, coordinator in the Dean of Students Office, said many organizations felt they were successful in connecting with students interested in gaining leadership positions on campus.
"Our goal was for students to learn about leadership roles that would be a good fit for them as individuals. I believe that goal was accomplished," Martin said. "Students were provided the opportunity to build connections with numerous campus groups and explore ways to become involved with those groups."
Melissa Uriegas, a junior biology major from Edinburg, said the fair was informative for her because she was finally able to decide what organization she wanted to devote her time to.
"I've been finding out how much more I really want to be involved here at school because I know it will add so much to my campus experience," she said.
Stephanie Banda, a junior English major who was representing the Residence Hall Association (RHA), also believes being involved with campus organizations enhances a student's University experience.
Banda said the reason she wanted to represent RHA at the fair was because so many people are unfamiliar with that organization.
"I thought it was important for them to realize that with residence life, they have the opportunity to have a big voice on campus because we sit on so many committees," Banda said.
Samuel Smith, director of the Student Union and assistant dean of students, believes it's important for students to be involved in committees and participate in the decision-making process.
"There are all kinds of ways that you (the student) can influence decision-making at UTPA," Smith said.
Uriegas said she too realizes the importance of leadership and the role students play in laying the foundation for the future.
"Somebody has to decide what path we're going to take," she said, adding that she wanted to be a part of creating that path.
According to Martin, 12 groups were represented at the fair, and the SLA is planning on sponsoring the event again next year.
"When students get involved in leadership organizations, they have the opportunity to become connected to UTPA, make a difference on and off campus, develop leadership skills, and enjoy a variety of experiences," Martin said.
For more information on the fair or how to get involved in student organizations, contact the Dean of Students Office at 956/381-2262.