This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Communitycenter: In campus life, students say, success is a group practice


AT SKIDMORE, where opportunity and support infuse campus life with the stuff leaders are made of, success “is about setting and achieving goals, taking a risk, being responsible to a group, and developing leadership skills,” according to Beth Hallen- beck, head field hockey coach. Teaching her players individual skills and team strategy—and often mentoring them in their athletic, academic, and social development—Hallenbeck has helped catapult her teams into the NCAA Division III national tournament in nine of the past 11 years. The Thoroughbreds have been ranked among the top 20 field hockey teams in the country every year that she’s been at Skidmore. In directing student leadership activities, Robin Adams ’00 works closely with some 80 clubs across campus, from Frisbee enthusiasts to environmental advocates. He and Hallenbeck have watched many students make personal progress, con- tribute to group efforts, and, beyond Skidmore, realize grad-school or marketplace achievements that are rooted in their experience of academic and cocurricular victories.

They point, for instance, to Lex Curry ’12. “EVERYONE HERE


After serving as president of Wilmarth Hall and chair of the Late Night Entertainment Committee during her sophomore year— roles tied to her term as a Student Government Association sena- tor—Curry spent a fall studying in Paris. Back on campus in the spring, she represented SGA on Academic Council. But when she ran for a senate seat for her senior year, she lost the election. “She was upset,” says Adams. “She wasn’t sure how she was going to be involved in campus life in a meaningful position.” But soon, he says, she became co-producer of the National Col- lege Comedy Festival and was selected as a peer advocate with the Center for Sex and Gender Relations, working for a healthy campus culture with regard to issues of sexuality. “I definitely want personal triumphs, but many goals inher- ently involve cooperation and collaboration,” Curry says. “Al- though I appreciate my achievements, a lot of my leadership


positions have had a significant group element.” And, as Adams adds, “If you want to be successful, you have to be willing to sign yourself up. You have to put yourself out there.” In fact, Curry exemplifies Adams’s definition of a successful student, because she already had a track record as a high achiever and was still willing to look further for a niche where she could apply her leadership skills, if not her specific experience. Though frustrated by the SGA election, she rebounded to spear- head a Comedy Fest whose planning was so impressive that it was featured in the New York Times. Curry’s grace and flexibility were no accident: Skidmore has a proactive process for ensuring that student leaders are mentored by incumbent upperclassmen, faculty advisors, or student-life administrators, who help them put their roles in context and de- velop a healthy perspective on outcomes. “Before classes start, all student leaders attend training on campus—we talk about how to run meetings, Skidmore poli- cies, ice-breaker activities, how to delegate, and more,” Adams explains. “By the time they take on their jobs, they feel a level of confidence, and

the upperclassmen feel invested in their success. The fact is, everyone here wants students to be successful, including other students.” In practical terms, that means that when an outdoor spring festival is rained out four years in a row (sad but true), or- ganizers accept that the weather is out of their control and move the good times indoors. “I’m not saying it doesn’t cause anxi- ety,” Adams notes, “but the students handle it, and the event is still a success. These are the skills and attitudes they’ll take with them to law school or the entertainment industry or medicine. They believe in themselves, and that inspires others to believe in them. They’re not afraid of the next challenge, whether academ- ic, professional, or interpersonal.” Similarly, Hallenbeck’s students get extensive preparation to be successful team members. They come to Skidmore two weeks before the fall term starts for a unique orientation de-

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64