With the start of the new school year comes a multitude of different clubs and organizations Gusties can participate in. For many, the aftermath of the activities’ fair results in an overabundance of fliers and group emails. Among these, one of the must-joined organizations is the GOLD program, which stands for Gusties in Ongoing Leadership Development.
The GOLD program is a unique organization that teaches participants valuable leadership and organizational skills. According to Andrea Junso, one of the co-directors, GOLD is a program that has been based off of professional leadership development programs and business training programs from Target and General Mills among others.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to realize your potential in a safe place. You can employ things employers are looking for to develop life skills.”
“It’s an amazing opportunity to realize your potential in a safe place. You can employ things employers are looking for to develop life skills,” Junso said.
In order to become a certified leader in a track, students must attend at least seven of the eight sessions. But students who are overburdened by other clubs and activities do not have to worry too much about meeting this expectation. Since tracks are offered on a bi-yearly or yearly basis, Gusties can pick up where they left off. If someone missed the first two sessions, he or she could revisit those sessions the following semester.
This semester, GOLD will be offering five different tracks, the most they have ever had according to Amy Pehrson, another of the program’s directors. Each of the tracks focus on a different type of leadership. The primary track is self-leadership.
“This is for students who want to understand their own skills, gifts, talents, their own understanding of self-leadership,” Pehrson said.
The self-leadership track involves multiple assessments including StrengthsQuest and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to help students learn more about their leadership styles.
“This is for students who want to understand their own skills, gifts, talents, their own understanding of self-leadership.”
Another track offered is exemplary leadership, which discusses the various ways one can implement leadership in any group setting. The mindfulness and Christian leadership tracks were introduced last year and both focus on the mental state of the individual leader.
The new track being introduced this semester is student organization leadership.
“It will explore the ways we can help you achieve your goals and do the best you can do in that role,” Junso said.
This track will focus on maximizing how students are leaders in relation to student orgs.
“This track helps you develop leadership skills you can take to your student organization, whether you want to be president, treasurer, or secretary for your club,” Sophomore Chrissy Dornon, a new GOLD student coordinator, said.
GOLD is open to all Gustavus students. From first-years to seniors, anyone looking to become a better leader should join.
“You don’t have to be a president of a sorority or a student org,” Pehrson said. “Wherever you are on your own leadership journey, we would encourage you to be part of the GOLD program.”
No matter which track a Gustie joins, he or she will walk away with new and deepened perspectives. Sophomore Emily Holmes, a Gustie who participated in the self-leadership track last year, found herself implementing her leadership skills outside of GOLD.
“I used the skills I learned in GOLD in my PA interviews and also in different group settings,” Holmes said. “It’s easier to explain things based off of what you learned.”
Junior Kristin Podratz, a GOLD student coordinator, shared Holmes’s sentiments. She participated in the self-leadership track with friends.
“I saw the skills that they learn directly translate to everyday life,” Podratz said. “Students can take so much away by just dedicating that time on Fridays to leadership development.”
Classes are taught every Friday starting on Oct. 2 from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. They will be tabling Thursday, Oct. 1 in the Campus Center for those who want to learn more about specific tracks.