Later this spring, 12 student leaders will get the chance to enjoy dinner with Youngstown State University President Randy Dunn.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Dunn said. “I do think it is a good opportunity for student leaders to come together and share ideas they have about the campus.”
YSU’s Emerging Leader Program has established Dunn and a Dozen: Dinner with the President — a program that consists of six leadership workshops that take place throughout January and February.
Students who attend these workshops will have their names entered into a drawing for a chance to win a dinner with the president. The twelve winners will be notified by March 17.
Caitlyn Hicks, a graduate assistant in the office of Student Life, oversees the Emerging Leader Program. She said the possibility of dining with Dunn has “sparked a lot of interest” among emerging leaders.
“Members got a chance to say what they’d like to see improved in the program [last year]. One thing they said was they didn’t have enough networking opportunities. So we said, ‘okay what kind of networking do you want?’ and having dinner with the president was actually one of them,” Hicks said.
The Emerging Leader Program helps students develop leadership skills that involve self-discovery, collaborative relationships and community empowerment. Hicks said the program’s ideals align nicely with Dunn’s.
“President Dunn has talked about the impact of leadership and what he thinks is the value of it. So, his enthusiasm for leadership I think is another good reason to have [dinner with the president],” Hicks said.
Dunn added that engaging in conversation with students is a part of his job as president.
“Among the duties and tasks that need to be fulfilled is just ensuring to make time to get out on campus, be involved with students, have a chance to talk to really the core constituency of the university to find out how things are going and to get some ideas on what might be changed. There are benefits for students and there are benefits for me. So, as the [dinner] idea was pitched, it was an easy one for me to agree to,” Dunn said.
Since its construction, Dunn explained, the university has looked for opportunities to hold events at the Pollock House.
“One of the challenges that I have had on campus is to get some time to have some of these activities going over the house. … It is a homelike setting to really engage in some good conversation,” Dunn said. “At my other institution, we did these kind of things all the time, whether it be dinners, receptions or other events where students were at the house. And trust me, there is no worry over the conversation. Students have plenty of things they want to share.”
A specific date for the dinner has not yet been determined, but Dunn ensured that participating students will be served “something that they’ll enjoy and that suits to their taste.”