UGBC Coalesces Freshman Programs Into Single ULA
Published: Thursday, October 3, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 3, 2013 02:10
As a part of the reorganization that UGBC undertook last semester, the three freshman leadership programs that the different branches organized in the past were merged into one UGBC-wide program for this year. The Mentoring Leadership Program (MLP) run by Cabinet, the AHANA Leadership Academy (ALA) run by the AHANA Leadership Council (ALC), and the Freshman Leadership Program (FLP) run by the GLBTQ Leadership Council (GLC) were merged into the UGBC Leadership Academy (ULA) for the Class of 2017.
After this decision was made last semester, Jenna Persico, A&S ’14, and Karn Khunger, CSOM ’14, were tapped by Matt Nacier, UGBC president and A&S ’14, to be co-directors of the new programs. A few weeks into the year, Khunger decided to step down as co-director.
“The resignation was largely due to the fact that it is no longer MLP,” Khunger said. “The program now is an integration of three different programs. So there’s a lot on the line and there are different factions on campus that want it to go different ways. When I had signed on for the role originally, I had signed on to run MLP. I thought this was going to be like MLP my freshman year.”
Persico explained that part of the intention of the consolidated program was to break away from the old programs by not drawing too much from them. She found that this meant creating something new from the ground up.
To fill the open co-director position, Nacier put Tom Cenar, CSOM ’14, before the Student Assembly (SA) for confirmation on Tuesday evening. Cenar applied to lead the program in the spring, but was passed over in favor of Khunger. Like Persico, Cenar had background in MLP, first as a freshman member and then as a sophomore facilitator. He has been further committed to student formation by serving as a teaching assistant for Portico, the CSOM ethics course that is required for all freshmen. He was unanimously confirmed by the SA.
One of the concerns raised by the creation of the new program was the possibility of getting fewer applications. Both Khunger and Persico cited the lack of name recognition as a potential obstacle to attracting applicants.
“Compared to other years, the applications were down, but they weren’t alarmingly down,” Persico said. “We thought that maybe a reason the numbers were as low as they were had to do with the fact that a lot of kids don’t know that MLP, ALA, and FLP have formed into this one program, so a lot of kids, we think, were told at orientation and told by people who went to BC, to apply for MLP, ALA, and FLP. We think that there was that communication barrier originally.”
In order to combat that problem, they decided to advertise ULA as the merger of those three older programs, which they found helpful.
“Originally, we had wanted to make the program seem like a separate entity, especially because Tom and I both were a part of the MLP and therefore a lot of people were nervous that we were going to try to recreate that, which we are not going to do at all,” Persico said. “But, by advertising it as a combination, we got a lot more applications.”
By the time submissions were closed, Cenar and Persico received over 160 applications to fill 30 spots. In the past, MLP and ALA each accepted about 30 students and FLP took a variable number depending on different factors. In their experience working with MLP, both thought that it typically received 100 to 120 applications. In forming an application for the new program, they drew from the other applications, but made the required essays longer.
“We are very happy with the number, and the quality of the applicants is phenomenal,” Cenar said.