Accept IU admittance…check. Attend a Red Carpet Day…check. Finalize your housing application…ehh somewhat check. You’ve researched your options, scoped out popular opinions on the IU Class of 2018 Facebook page, asked your friends, but you still aren’t quite sure you’ve found a place where you know you will belong yet. My friends, look no further than the Civic Leaders Center, located in Briscoe Residence Hall. Coming into IU as a freshman, I was afraid I’d get swallowed in the sea of freshman and get lost trying to navigate my way through my new life. For that reason, I decided to apply to live in a Living-Learning Center. I was torn between Civic Leaders LLC and Global Village LLC, but in the end I decided to become a part of Civic Leaders. I expected to have a sense of community and to be surrounded by students with similar interests, but little did I know how much of an impact Civic Leaders would have on my life.
From the first day of our Civic Leaders orientation, I knew that I was in the midst of some incredible future leaders and some of my best friends. I met a girl named Anna from Bolivia who is passionate about social entrepreneurship and inspires me to push myself academically, as well as personally. I met a guy named John who challenges my thoughts on just about everything because he is so well-read on…just about everything. On our trip to Washington D.C. in the fall, I decided I had been oblivious for several months to the awesomeness that was just down the hall from me. I bonded with a girl named Melissa, who is studying Arts Management, over our shared fondness of Edgar Degas impressionist ballerina paintings while visiting the National Gallery of Art and our passion for the promotion of the arts while watching a performance at the Kennedy Center. We went from acquaintances to immediate best friends.
I learned so much from all of the guest speakers I’ve had the privilege to have before me, but as I reflect back on my experience in the Civic Leaders Center, I’ve learned just as much, if not more, from my friends and peers. Having some of my best friends just a door knock away has not only been convenient, but such a gift when we need to vent about finals or sing to '90s music as a stress reliever. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without Civic Leaders Center and all of the friends I’ve made and amazing experiences I’ve had learning from and networking with experts in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors. I would have never had the kind of exposure I’ve had to CEOs of nonprofit organizations, elected government officials, or even beloved SPEA professors as a freshman had it not been for Civic Leaders Center. I hope all of you incoming freshman can check housing off your college-preparation-to-do-list with full confidence by applying to Civic Leaders Center. I hope to see you around Briscoe next year, as I will be a mentor for the incoming class of Civic Leaders. Another incentive to apply, right?
The Civic Leaders with Director Paul Helmke in Washington D.C.