Spring leadership workshops aim to bring student growth

Pat Gareau


More than 40 students attended the weekly leadership workshops in the fall semester. Director of student life Louis Coplin, who spearheads the organization of the workshops, hopes that the program will continue to grow and create “buzz” around campus this spring.

The workshops are held every Monday at 3 p.m. in Campus Center room 150. They are modelled on workshops conducted at a national leadership conference that several Hudson Valley students attend each year. Coplin created the program at Hudson Valley to provide similar experiences to anyone on campus who wants to take advantage of it. Those who participate receive a certificate for excellence in leadership at the end of the semester.

“The theme of it is leadership skill and development and social enrichment,” said Coplin.

Some of the workshops focus on basic leadership skills. Others aim to discuss a controversial topic. Coplin says the goal of these are to “get a dialogue going on any number of dynamic issues that are going on.”

John Ostwald, a psychology professor at Hudson Valley, is facilitating three workshops throughout the semester that aim to generate discussion among students in attendance. One is on Feb. 16 and focuses on whether or not there is an afterlife. Another, on Mar. 2, is titled “Pedophilia: a compassionate view,” and the last, which will take place on April 20, is titled “Weed: the new miracle drug.”

Ostwald said, “This is college, not high school, so topics that are provocative promote intellectual growth.”

Ostwald said the workshops produce “maturation, intellectual growth, intellectual exchange, and camaraderie” for the students who attend. He hopes the workshops can be a place for students not only to discuss and debate, but to meet like-minded students and make friends.

Ostwald said, “I’m used to provocative topics in my career.” For the past 11 years, he has written a semiweekly column for the Troy Record, Then & Now, where he says can write about basically anything that he’d like. He has given a Voices lecture at Hudson Valley on sexual deviance.

Coplin agrees that discussing some of the controversial topics, such as pedophilia and marijuana, will be a positive experience for students. “This is a place of higher learning and a public environment with dynamic diversity. We want students to express themselves on various social concerns,” he said.

“It gets people to come out of their shell and get comfortable speaking publicly,” said Coplin.

Other topics on the schedule include policing the police (Feb. 23), sexual assault and prevention (Feb. 9), and transgender issues (Mar. 30).


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