As the spring 2018 semester wound to a close, both the First-Year Internship Program and the Emerging Leaders Program held receptions honoring the early-career SUNY New Paltz students who chose to devote significant time and energy in these programs, serving the campus community and developing valuable personal and professional skills.
Though the two programs are distinct from one another, they share an appeal for high-achieving New Paltz students who eagerly seek co-curricular opportunities immediately upon arrival at the College.
The First-Year Internship Program, a collaboration between the Career Resource Center and the Office of Development & Alumni Relations, pairs students and alumni employees at the College in professional internships that typically support students’ academic interests.
Launched in 2015, the First-Year Internship Program mixes service and professional learning; students make real contributions to offices across campus, and in turn gain experience and networking opportunities that often lead to paid employment.
“Our first-year interns this year completed 1,605 (and a quarter) hours of volunteer internship work this semester, which based on national averages is roughly equivalent to more than $37,000 of impact to our campus,” said Erica Wagner, service learning coordinator at the Career Resource Center.
Students work under the supervision of New Paltz alumni, who are uniquely equipped to offer guidance and mentorship regarding their academic pursuits, adjustment to campus life, and future career ambitions.
“We have first-year interns working in the Career Resource Center, EOP, the Departments of English and Biology, the Athletic & Wellness Center, and many other places on campus,” Wagner said. “We have students working all over campus because we have alumni working all over campus, and I think that’s part of what makes New Paltz really special: so many people study here, then choose to return here to work and find ways to give back.”
The Emerging Leaders Program was developed more than two decades ago, and in the intervening years it has grown into a fun and dynamic opportunity for cohorts of first-year students looking to take on leadership roles on campus and in their communities.
Emerging Leaders calls on students to participate in workshops and community service meant to develop them along five dimensions of leadership: Global/Community Perspectives, Ethics and Values, Personal Empowerment, Interpersonal Skills and Service Learning.
These areas of emphasis help students assume roles as reliable, trusted allies to friends and family members, and impressive, self-motivated candidates for future employment, including in a variety of roles on campus.
“The purpose of this program is not to develop CEOs and college presidents – though I’m sure many of you will end up there – but instead to help you think about the importance of leadership in all your endeavors,” said President Donald P. Christian. “What you’ve learned here will affect your own life and your future, and also it will have an effect on those around you, because of the examples you set.”