Graduating leaders reflect on lessons learned


Co-president of Outdoor Adventure club goes over their trip to a national park.

Parker Rezner, Assistant Lifestyle Editor

Organizations and clubs are a major source of extracurricular activity for most students on any campus. For some, however, they transcend an activity and become a lifestyle. This can be the case for a member at any level of any organization, but it is most certainly true for the president.

The rise through the ranks of a club requires hard work and dedicating many hours but the return is worth it. The social skills, leadership ability, organization, fun and even career preparation one can gain by being the president of a club is extremely valuable. For graduating club leaders, now is the time to reminisce on the legacy they have left behind within their respective organizations.

“Being the leader of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu assisted me building my work ethic exponentially,” said club president Racheal Gerondale. “I have been doing this martial art for all four years of my college career and it is the greatest way one could spend their free time. Taking on this leadership role was terrifying initially, but I realized that I had constructed a small library of knowledge that I can now instruct with, which is something freshman Rachael would never have imagined. This club has been with me in some of the most difficult moments these last few years, and I have nothing but gratitude for my peers who quite literally have shared blood, sweat and tears on and off the mats. I owe them everything, because you do not improve unless you are challenged.” 

The path to club presidency is different for everyone, of course. Some people find their role in an organization after a couple semesters, and others see it clear as day the moment they step foot on campus. This was the case for Bella Portale, who is graduating after three years at UW-Whitewater and was deeply involved in the Outdoor Adventure Club beginning in her second semester.

“I hope to be remembered as the president that kind’ve revived the club after COVID. Attendance during last school year was very low as more classes were online and with less students on campus,” said Portale. “If anything, as a legacy, I’d like to just be known as the one who kept it going when it didn’t seem possible – like who’s doing outdoor adventures when everyone is staying home?”

Regardless of what they accomplished, club presidents at the very least can take pride in the fact that they faced the challenge itself. Whether organizing events, delegating tasks, or making decisions that affect the future of the club, presidents are an important part of the heart and soul of any university.