On Nov. 29, VSG passed a resolution for the establishment of the First-Year Leadership Forum in Spring 2022. Its purpose is to introduce first-years to leadership opportunities within VSG and other organizations on campus, according to the bill.
The forum will serve as a semester-long program and will feature monthly leadership development workshops, a month-long rotational program with other student organizations and a final project that tackles a student-life issue. The final project will divide all forum participants into groups. They will be given the task to find an issue or problem on campus and develop a tangible solution.
The forum will consist of 15 first-years and will be overseen by Chief of Staff Sophia Clark, a junior, who also proposed the bill. Applications will open on AnchorLink on Jan. 20 at 8 p.m. CST and will be open for one week. Clark said she and other VSG members will review the applications and decisions will be released by Feb. 2.
After learning that 10 out of the 13 other universities in the SEC all have programs similar to the First-Year Leadership Forum, it encouraged Clark to take initiative to emulate something similar at Vanderbilt.
With unanimous support behind the resolution, co-sponsor Angela Yan stated that the forum could become a permanent program if successful this upcoming semester.
“The forum will give first-year students an ‘in’ to campus life and have opportunities to participate in leadership second semester,” Yan said. “We’re looking to connect first-years with VSG and other organizations on campus and learn about different leadership opportunities they can be a part of.”
The position of first-year senator will remain part of VSG even with the addition of the First-Year Leadership Forum. The current first-year senators are Tae Kim, Zack Maaieh, Michael Chen, Hananeel Morinville and Ben Carlow. Their positions differ from the forum in that students are elected to it and have the role of advocating for first-year students and writing legislation surrounding issues or topics on campus.
First-year Saksham Sharma stated that he thinks the forum will be beneficial for first-years, especially because he and many of his peers have expressed interest in joining VSG. Yan similarly said the forum gives first-years the opportunity to explore more of the opportunities Vanderbilt has to offer after acclimating to college last semester.
“Voicing first-year opinion is very important, [but] many of us do not know the faculty and the organizations on campus,” Sharma said. “Hopefully, with a smoother second semester, it will be a good opportunity for first-year students to get involved.”