Sport Club Presidents Reflect on Experience as Student Leaders
John F. Kennedy once said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” This certainly rings true for the 24 sport clubs presidents at Georgia State University, whose leadership is critical to the success of their organization, both in competition and in administration. But these student presidents were not assigned their roles based on their resume or credentials. Rather, they volunteered because of their love for their sport and their desire to learn and develop leadership skills.
Sport clubs at Georgia State are recognized student organizations run by students that are geared toward competitive play. Serving as a sport club president is a serious commitment. Sport club presidents must ensure policy and procedures compliance not only from Recreational Services, but also from the governing organization of their sport. Presidents are also responsible for developing the club budget, gaining approval for travel, attending meetings and recruiting new members.
Recreational Services interviewed four presidents to find out what they have learned through their role and how this has affected their leadership skills. Each president expressed a different reason for taking on the time-consuming and difficult role of being president, but an overarching theme of making a difference at Georgia State rang through.
I saw it as an opportunity to build something memorable at Georgia State that would bring people together
– Shane McCart, Men’s Lacrosse President
McCart has been playing lacrosse since 2012 when, as a new student at Tompkins Cortland Community College in upstate New York, he tried out for the school’s NJCAA lacrosse team with no prior experience and made the cut.
I was eager to get the club rolling at Georgia State as college fishing had just taken off across the country, and I wanted my university represented as well.
– Adam Acker, lifelong fisher and Bass Fishing Club President
I really wanted to help the club grow.
– Marisa Lew, Capoeria Club president
Being president isn’t all fun and games though (no pun intended). The position requires a level of dedication and an ongoing commitment to making a difference.
Being a full time student who works 20-30 hours a week, I am already facing a daunting schedule. Rowing tacks on another six workouts through the week with practice times starting as early as 5 a.m. on the river.
– Douglas Bruce
Bruce has been rowing for one and a half years and worked his way up from club member, to team captain and now to president. Others say recruiting members and coordinating all the moving parts is the biggest challenge.
Everything from getting schedules together, setting up meetings, getting sponsors, adhering to guidelines, completing paperwork, meeting guidelines on our boats/jerseys and adhering to state fishing regulations. It is a lot of work but is worth it in the end.
– Adam Acker
So why does this matter? What are these student leaders gaining from their experience? McCart, who plans to go to law school after graduation, says his experience has made him a better leader.
Being President has given me the opportunity to build my leadership skills and figure out my management style. You work really hard behind the scenes because you love it and you want to create something meaningful. You have to be hyper-focused and dedicated to be a great leader.
– Shane McCart
Bruce, who plans to row competitively in the master’s age group while pursuing economic research and analysis after graduation agrees.
I have developed a work ethic that will continue to serve me for years to come and will be something employers recognize when evaluating candidates.
– Douglas Bruce
As the sports club program continues to grow, Recreational Services strives to develop student leaders and provide employees and participants with tools that will benefit their future success. The role of sport club president illustrates this beautifully, especially when you add the element of fun and the passion for a sport.
Although being president (Bass Fishing) can be extremely stressful and a lot of work, at the end of the day, it’s hard to complain when you are floating on a lake somewhere chasing a little green fish.
– Adam Acker