Every year at the beginning of the fall semester, Wagner hosts a Club Fair on the Oval to allow new and current students to get a feel for all the organizations on campus. As a transfer student, I was overwhelmed by the enormity of it — especially for a relatively small campus. Yet, everyone seemed so excited to be a part of it all. I knew getting involved would make me feel more connected to the school, so that's exactly what I did. I put my name down on as many signup sheets as I could find, and spoke to as many people as I could hold conversations with. Still, I learn more about the people of Wagner every day.
I was lucky enough to sit down with the leaders and members of a few clubs on campus to discuss how their involvement has impacted their time at Wagner.
Meet Spencer Beyer, the president of the Student Professional Association:
What is SPA?
We are a student-led mentor program focused on career development. We work with the Center for Academic and Career Engagement to help students build their career and professional skills.
How has SPA impacted your time at Wagner?
Extremely positively. As an athlete, I wanted to come to a school where I knew I would be happy even if I got a career-ending injury on day one ... and that almost happened to me. Not only have I had the chance to connect to so many incredible students through SPA, but in helping them to build their resumes and professional skills I have also helped them to become more confident in acknowledging their accomplishments. We have some really incredible people at this school. We also have amazing mentors, who care so much about the work they do to help others — and I think that's so important, not only for SPA but for Wagner as a community.
What is the best thing or lesson you have taken away from being a part of SPA?
My listening and organizational skills have improved tremendously. And, overall, the opportunity to meet so many amazing people has just been tremendous.
Meet Dillon Quinn, the president of Student Government Association:
When did you first join SGA?
I ran to be a senator my freshman year. I knew I wanted to be involved prior to coming to Wagner because I believe in advocacy, so I let my previous experiences with high school student council and theater be stepping stones for my roles in SGA. I worked my way up to becoming president by getting a position on the executive board my sophomore year, and then I ran to be president my junior year. This is my second year serving as the president.
What are some of your responsibilities as president of SGA?
Not only am I a representative of SGA, but I’m also a representative of the student body to the administration on campus. I am an advocate for all voices, and I try my best to stay true to that. I also oversee all of the clubs and organizations on campus, and help the leaders of the executive board of the SGA with our subcommittees.
How do you balance your time of being SGA president alongside any other commitments you have?
It can be very challenging at times, but I try not to lose sight of the big picture. I remember that I have an obligation to other people, and a responsibility to the role I have assumed. The SGA has opened up several doors for me, and I’m grateful for that. If anything, being the president has helped me with my time management and organization skills.
What suggestions do you have for a prospective student thinking about joining SGA?
Don’t question yourself. Allow yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and embrace your opportunities. Don’t doubt yourself; have faith in what you can accomplish. Joining SGA has opened up so many doors for me, and has been one of the favorite things that I am a part of at Wagner!
Meet Alyssa Lederhos, a member of the all-girl a cappella group Vocal Synergy:
When did you join Vocal Synergy?
I originally auditioned for a Main Stage musical in the fall semester of my freshman year, but I didn’t make it. Fortunately, that inspired me to try out for VS ... and I made it! I guess it was a blessing in disguise.
What is your favorite thing about VS?
We are one big family. We aren’t just group members who can harmonize well together … we really have become so close. It’s such a beautiful thing. Until I joined, I never really understood when people would say things like, “You never understand it until you’re a part of it.” Now, I totally get it.
What are some of the things you do with VS?
We rehearse for 2 hours three times a week. Every week. We host concerts at Wagner with the other a capella groups on campus, like Gender Bender, where the all-male group dresses like girls and performs songs by famous female artists, and vice versa. We also go on tour, and go to other colleges and sing with other a capella groups at concerts they are hosting. Those tours usually span over holiday weekends, and they are some of my favorite memories. I love it so much.
Meet Meg Haase, the president of Alpha Sigma Alpha:
What is your favorite thing about your organization?
I love my sisters. You feel what they feel. They are just so genuinely supportive, and I know they have the same values as me. When I was thinking about joining Greek life, I wanted to join a sisterhood that I could share my best days and worst days with. I found that with Alpha Sigma Alpha.
What is one thing you have learned as president of your sorority?
I'm so thankful that everyone is so supportive and understanding and inclusive, both in and out of the sorority. I've dealt with conflict resolution, and I've had to handle some really personal issues that have hit home. My stress levels can be off the chart sometimes, but as cliché as it might sound, I always have my sisters by my side. I've also had the opportunity to expand my learning and communication styles from working alongside so many other people in this leadership role.
How would you judge your time spent at Wagner, based on your experiences with your sorority?
Positively! I came here for a specific major, but I wound up changing my mind. It was my sisters that helped build up my confidence to find my voice and change paths. Sometimes I think about who I was when I ran up the stairs on bid day and what I worried about then, things I stressed about then. This sorority has helped me to grow so much, and I've accomplished it all with my best friends at my side. It gave me people who believed in me, and made me believe in myself
When I sat down with all of the members of these clubs and organizations, I asked them one final question: Are you happy here? Without hesitation, they all answered, "Yes!"
Making the decision to transfer to Wagner was one of the hardest things I had to do. Leaving my comfort zone of friends and familiarity was scary. But once I got here, I knew I had done the right thing. I'm reminded of that every day.