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Starfish Program to set the standard for student leaders at SU



A young woman is throwing starfish on the beach back into the sea, when a man challenges her that there are many other beaches with starfish stuck in the sand.

The woman tells him that she knows that, but wants to try and make the most difference in the world she can.

This “Starfish Story” is the basis of a new leadership training program at SU, which is being debuted by Center for Student Involvement and Leadership (CSIL) graduate assistant Savrae Garnett.

Starfish is a leadership training program designed to benefit student leaders at all levels of experience, from those trying get more involved to members of club or organization executive boards.

“Another purpose of the program is to engage students who may not already be in a leadership role on campus,” Garnett said. “For those looking get their foot in the door and test the waters.”

Garnett developed the Starfish Leadership Program over the last year based on her graduate work in post-secondary education.

The training covers several different subject areas.

“It encompasses certain skills, transferable skills particularly, that would definitely assist you on your next chapter of life,” Garnett said.

Garnett believes that leadership is the most sought after skill in the workplace. It encompasses team work, creating and executing a vision as well as working under pressure.

The training is also designed to help with skills that are difficult to learn in the classroom.

The program appeals to different levels of student leaders, and has three tiers: emerging, established and advanced.

The first track, the emerging level, is specifically intended for freshmen with little to no experience and will help to teach the basics of leadership. The established section is for student leaders that have held a leadership position on campus.

The advanced level is reserved for those that have held two positions and have completed the established track of the training. More advanced members learn theories and other aspects of interpersonal communication that aid leadership, such as emotional intelligence.

Styles of leadership like motivational or transitional are another aspect to the higher track.

Organization leader is the final track for students on the executive board of their club or organization. This training is designed to help those board members in their organization.

A student can apply to the track best suited to their level of experience.

Members take part in workshops, sessions and service learning as part of the training process. They also write a personal vision statement.

One on one coaching sessions help participants develop their own vision and leadership style. The emerging leadership level focuses on that personal development.

The program places emphasis on the servant-leadership method, with community service as is an integral part of participation and advancement. Starfish is designed to work with Student Government Association (SGA) events like I Love Salisbury.

Members are also expected to attend Career Services workshops as well as Cultural Affairs events.

The writing and participation goes into a portfolio submitted for review, and then the members get a certificate of completion for taking part in Starfish. After completing one track they can move up to the next level.

With multi-level training and a long term vision, Starfish’s goal is to improve the standards and number of campus leaders.

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