Being a leader is much more than taking the reins when it is needed most. It is about guiding, teaching, and motivating others, and sometimes it is about much more than that. This is what West Virginia Wesleyan College senior Justin Frye of Clarksburg found out to be true through the Wesleyan Engaging Leaders through Education Awareness & Development (WE LEAD) Program, and it has helped him become published in a prestigious student leadership text, "Exploring Leadership: For College Students Who Want to Make a Difference."
Frye, under the direction of WE LEAD advisor Katie Loudin and the college's Center for Community Engagement & Leadership Development, prepared an essay about an event he coordinated as part of the WE LEAD Program, and it has been chosen to appear in the third edition of Susan R. Komives, Nance Lucas and Timothy R. McMahon's text, which is used in leadership training and classrooms throughout the nation as a resource for helping students to reach their leadership potential.
Frye's essay spotlighted his experience of facilitating and moderating a forum on prescription drugs in November 2011.
"What inspired me to write the essay were the different types of leadership experiences that WE LEAD introduces to students," Frye said. "I think students coming in from high school have a very specific picture in their head of what leadership is, but when they get involved in something like WE LEAD, they see there are more definitions of leadership than they know."
The forum on prescription drugs brought in many different types of people.
"We sent invitations to politicians, community leaders, and the family resource network," stated Frye. "We even had a former addict attend who added a unique perspective to the dialogue. The purpose was to bring the issue of prescription drug abuse in the state to the forefront and talk about resolutions with people who have varied experiences with it."
This event opened Frye's eyes to what other kinds of leadership roles there are and shaped his essay to hopefully help others understand the depth of leadership.
"I wrote the essay because I saw it as an opportunity to spread the world about the kind of work we do in WE LEAD," Frye said. "We do not just organize food drives, but become student leaders by organizing other students and leaders to talk about real problems."
Loudin also shares in Frye's excitement.
"I am really proud of Justin for being selected for inclusion into this widely-used undergraduate leadership text," Loudin said. "I think that his application of leadership knowledge and skills is a result of his participation in the Center for Community Engagement & Leadership Development's WE LEAD program coupled with his other experiences and campus involvement. His passion for Health & Wellness issues led him to work with his peers, faculty, and community members around the prescription drug abuse problem in the state."
The experience is not one Frye will forget, as he says his experience with WE LEAD has given him both a stronger connection to issues that are close to him, as well as exposed him to other new issues and opinions.
For more information on WE LEAD or other programs hosted by the Center for Community Engagement & Leadership Development at the college, please contact Loudin at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 304-473-8165.