Leading at USD
For some Toreros, being a leader comes naturally. For others, it’s a quality that develops gradually through their life experiences.
Though there are many paths to becoming a leader, every Torero has the ability to become one. This admirable attribute is personified by student leaders like Associated Students President Anthony Pavlovic; Preceptorial Assistant Council Chair Alyssa Bernardi; Residence Hall Association Director of Advocacy Niko Pascua, Torero Board Chair Melissa Bacon, and Torero Program Board Chair Kendal Lay. While each has their own responsibilities to the university community, they are united in their understanding of leadership and what leadership means at USD.
As noted in the university's Mission Statement, USD is committed to preparing leaders dedicated to ethical conduct and compassionate service. However, students entering our college community for the first time might not have a complete understanding of what this actually looks like, or even means.
For many, coming into a leadership position gives students who want to affect positive change the ability to speak for their peers and help shape the direction and goals of the university community. "It's very rewarding to have people come see you because they value your opinion, even when it's not related to the work at hand," Bacon explains. "We get to inspire others to be the best they can be and support them," she continues. The ability to profoundly affect the lives of your peers and inspire change in them is one of the many rewarding benefits of being a student leader.
AS President Pavlovic understands that being a leader goes beyond holding a title. "It's one thing to have an official title but any individual can be a leader. By being true to who you are and by sticking to your ideals, that's being a leader. You can be a leader on a personal basis.” Some of USD's most influential student advocates did not hold an official office; they were simply Toreros who wanted to make a difference. Leadership doesn’t always mean having an official role in student government or in a club or organization but rather how you inspire others around you to make a difference.
It's important to note that not every person walks into USD as a leader; it can take time to discover your leadership potential. Like many Toreros, Pascua’s journey to becoming a leader started early. "Freshman year, I took more of a follower role ... now being a sophomore, I've kind of just begun to emerge as a leader." As long as you find something you are passionate about and remain committed to it, you will become a leader in time. Bernardi adds, "If you fight for what you believe in, at the end of the day people will respect you."
Being a leader isn't so much about standing in front of the crowd, but inspiring the crowd to be there in the first place.