Dinner unites student leaders across campus

Greg Doyle

Student leaders from every corner of the Villanova campus joined faculty and administrators for the second annual “Leading the Way: An Evening to Inspire Student Leadership” dinner and program on Sept. 9.

Nick Tumolo, the primary facilitator of the dinner, had been planning the event for nearly five months.

“I began preparations last April by coming up with a master list of all the clubs and organizations on campus,” Tumolo said. “Before, there was never any updated campus directory, let alone a leadership directory. I went through every facet of the school to find all the clubs on campus.”

As secretary of Student Leadership for Student Government Association, it is Tumolo’s job to foster relationships among leaders and act as a liaison between the student body and SGA.

The attendees were given an opportunity to interact and collaborate with fellow leaders who shared a common interest in the school’s welfare. At each table sat students, diverse in their positions and interests, as well as faculty members and administrators.

“We only know a certain kind of community,” said Kat Mayers, recruitment chair for the Blue Key Society. “It’s important to take the time to collaborate and be more aware of what’s on campus. It’s easy to get sucked into what you’re involved with.”

Collaboration was the theme of the dinner, as each table was encouraged to discuss issues on campus and possible solutions that could be reached.

“We have so many resources and opportunities at Villanova that if we don’t take advantage of them, we’re going to miss out,” Tumolo said. “If we pull them together and collaborate, there are possibilities that we are now capable of accomplishing.”

“Collaborating with other leaders makes things a little less insolated,” said Michelle Altura, co-chair for the Service Learning Community. “The sheer volume of people here shows that people really care about the school and campus.”

Almost 200 guests were present, nearly double the number of attendees of last year’s dinner, according to Tumolo.

“My initial idea was to have some kind of event that focused on collaboration for all student leaders,” Tumolo said. “We have over 250 clubs with some kind of leadership, but none really know each other. I wanted to create an event so they could know everyone’s working toward the same goal.”

Student Body President Dan Gelwicks, Co-Editor in Chief of The Villanovan Laura Welch, Assistant Vice President of Student Life Kathy Byrnes and University President Rev. Peter Donohue, O.S.A., all spoke at the dinner, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and passion.

Gelwicks explained this year’s motto for SGA, “Leadership, unity, communication,” saying it applies to all student leaders at Villanova. According to Gelwicks, the necessity of these aspects is universal.

Welch cited the famous saying, “Love what you do, and you’ll never have to work another day in your life” to reinforce how valuable passion is to a leader.

Byrnes built upon this idea by asking the audience, “What is your heart on fire for? What are you fired up about? What are you passionate about?”

According to Byrnes, these are the questions leaders must ask themselves. She went on to emphasize the need for creating trusting relationships with each other.

“When we care about one another and trust one another, then we can make a positive change,” Byrnes said. “Every good leader must have patience.”

Donohue concluded the night by acknowledging a leader’s individuality, but reiterating the importance of collaboration to effectively utilize all of the resources available at Villanova.

The purpose of the dinner was to recognize that all Villanova leaders are working toward the same goal.

“A Villanova leader is someone who is truly trying to carry out the mission of Villanova,” Tumolo said. “They take an extra moment to really think about how their actions reflect the objectives of the school, which are veritas, unitas and caritas.”