Student leadership at Milton: does it exist?
By EMMA BRADLEY ‘20
With the seemingly endless selection of clubs, sports teams, acapella groups, and other student organizations at Milton, leadership opportunities abound. Whether becoming the captain of a sports team or the head of your favorite club, leadership takes on many forms on our campus. But can student leadership really make a difference, and how can we encourage younger students to be leaders as well?
There are a few examples of the positive effects student leadership has had on our community. For example, the late-start days implemented last year were the result of hard work from the Head Monitors as well as the entire SGA. These late start days gave students a much-deserved break around some of the hardest academic crunch-times at Milton: before winter break and March break, to name a few. Because of the SGA’s work, the entire student body benefited. But is this always, or even usually, the outcome of student leadership?
While some leadership positions are essential, almost integral to the Milton community, some seem like just placeholders. It feels as though some leadership positions at Milton are more of just a title on the Common App than a role people genuinely care about fulfilling. Now, don’t get me wrong -- Milton is flourishing with bright, bold, and passionate people who are extremely invested in their student-run organizations. However, I feel as though our culture has placed such a large emphasis on being “successful” that people sometimes care more about appearing successful than being wholeheartedly invested in their passions.
Additionally, the idea of leadership at Milton could be more effective. Right now, it primarily reaches the senior class; the majority of club heads and sports captainship roles are held by seniors. That said, by senior year, most people have already established their identity as a “leader” or decided whether or not they feel “outgoing” enough to take on these roles. Therefore, freshmen and sophomores should have more access to these types of roles so they can experience leadership and find their purpose at Milton earlier on. Though positions like Class IV and Class III reps are important, the underclassmen should have some more leadership opportunities -- they have important ideas, too!
Overall, student leadership positions at Milton are important; they provide students with responsibilities that prepare them for the real world, allow students to take command of their passions, and give our community structure. However, I think that as a community, our perspective on leadership needs to shift. In my own experience I have seen a range of leaders, from those who care to those who applied only because they felt pressured to be “more involved” in the Milton community. If we change our perspectives and vow to be leaders for the right reasons, the entire community will benefit. •