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By Keisha Lewis. October 1, 2013 - 6:00 pm
HPU’s new student government leaders were encouraged to embrace learning experiences and “step up” to challenges during their induction ceremony Sept. 27 at the Hawaii Loa Campus.
Before introducing the event’s first speaker, state Sen. Will Espero, Director of Elections Geoffrey Webb congratulated the newly elected members and joked that the hardest part – the election packet – was now over.
Espero then took the stage, outlining for the Student Government Association and the Campus Activities Board his idea of leadership: a combination of sharpened experiences and knowledge, both of which students will gain in college. While learning to be leaders, Espero said, the new student officials must not be afraid to learn from each other and the environment.
Governments around the world should provide examples of what leaders should and should not be like, Espero said. The senator in particular expressed hope for the future of female leaders and noted women’s rising influence in power.
“The world … it needs changing,” said Espero, “and it’s up to you.”
HPU President Geoffrey Bannister followed Espero with descriptions of how countries are coping with crises by taking action. In China and Saudi Arabia, for example, food supply is a pressing issue that has both nations purchasing land and researching ways to halt the problem. Bannister highlighted their actions and explained that the problems of the world will not be solved by those who sit still, but by those who step up.
“Now is the time to step up to the challenges ahead of us,” Bannister said.
The executive branch of the student government at HPU
Bannister also noted the environmental issues facing Marshall Islands President Christopher Loeak, an HPU alumnus, saying Loeak has not and will not stop searching for solutions because that is what a leader does. Bannister explained that leaders take risks and encouraged the SGA and CAB members to do the same.
“Leadership is related to risks,” he said, “and it is here that they will learn to help better the world.”
SGA President Miina Huotari sought smiles from her new colleagues and warned that the road would grow more challenging following their induction, but the effort would be worthwhile. Although being a leader is important, Huottari reminded her members that they need to be students first.
“School comes first,” she said. “Education is very important.”
Huotari also promised to be a leader worthy of the inductees’ respect and hoped they would respect each other equally.
The SGA and CAB recently became two separate entities, but Huotari said she still felt both associations were a family. The senate is “the voice and energy of their students,” while she called the executive branch “the brick wall that helps her stay strong” and the CAB “a legacy.”
Huotari also thanked the organizations’ advisers for their knowledge but asked them to allow the student leaders to fail. Huotari reminded the new officials that ways to succeed exist even in failure. She advised her members to always try to do the best thing and to never be afraid to ask for help. Huotari then led in the reading of the SGA oath.
Finally, CAB President Peter Borcena told his new associates that training alone does not result in leadership – leadership is an attitude. Borcena explained that leaders refused to sit on the sideline because they want to make a change. He said he has high hopes for CAB and dared his members to dream, but to be ready to work and to always keep the goal in mind. Borcena officiated the reading of the CAB oath.
Webb closed the ceremony with a reference to a glass jar in the SGA and CAB meeting room that bears the slogan: “If you’re not going to make change, give it.” Webb reminded the students that as leaders they want to make change, and that if they worked hard they could do so.
Photos by Teakre Vest