November 21, 2011
SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Nov. 21, 2011 —Before starting my freshman year at Drury University, I expected what every prospective freshman expects: hard classes, immense amounts of homework, and making new friends. What I didn’t expect was that I would be taking care of homeless animals.
I have the privilege of being a part of the Summit Park Leadership Community. We live in nice, duplex-style homes, with a theme throughout the housing complex that focuses on broadening students’ leadership skills while emphasizing community service. In order to be a part of the community, students must complete a detailed application and present their community service project ideas to a faculty board.
Students meet to discuss their service project
My roommates and I have focused our project on the Castaway Animal Rescue Effort (C.A.R.E.), the only no-kill animal shelter in Springfield. Every week, we volunteer at C.A.R.E. by walking the dogs and cleaning their cages. We are also in the process of planning fundraising events for the fall and spring semesters. Even though C.A.R.E. is the main aspect of my Summit Park experience, there are nine other projects that Summit Park students are working on: the Salvation Army, Project AWARE Foundation, Boys and Girls Town, Rare Breed Youth Outreach, Special Olympics, Harmony House Family Violence Center, Pipkin Middle School, and Ravenwood Assisted Living.
Drury’s Vision Statement includes the term “servant leadership,” and the experiences my friends and I are getting are training us to become leaders and giving us an understanding of the inner workings and challenges of successful organizations.
Kelsey Emerson, another Summit resident, explains why she chose to live in the leadership community. “I wanted to give back to the community that I’ve grown up in and to be a part of a cause that makes a difference in others’ lives.” Kelsey is a part of the Rare Breed Youth Outreach group.
Getting accepted into Summit Park was difficult and the work can be hard, but through this experience I’m learning that the best leaders are those that truly embody the term “servant leader.”
Sheila Haskins is a sophomore advertising and public relations major at Drury. She graduated from Marshfield High School in 2010.