The Benefits of Taking up a Leadership Position in a Student Org

by MSC Student Life intern, Maikoau


Many students walk into college not expecting to get involved in student organizations. Of those that do get involved, only few take up an executive board, or e-board, position within their org. Of course, with this responsibility comes dedication and time commitment but it is definitely worth it. Whether you are involved in a student organization or Greek organization, you can make a difference within your org and on campus just by contributing your time and dedication.

Here is a list of benefits from holding an E-board position within your organization.

  1. Sense of self/belonging

Being involved in an organization helps you find your place on campus. Because our campus is so huge, it is often difficult for students to find where they fit in. But as part of the e-board for an organization, you are able to find yourself as well as establish a purpose for yourself. A student organization provides you with a support system and a close bond with many others who may share the same aspirations as you.

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  1. Professionalism

In the real world, it is important to be professional. But let’s talk facts; no one is born with perfect professional skills. You gain them through experience and practice. Holding an e-board position in an organization is a way in which you are able to practice your professional skills and get critiques on how to improve. The more experience you have in a professional environment, the more skills you pick up along the way that will prepare you for post-college.

  1. The Power to Make Big Change

An e-board position allows you to bring awareness to what you want to see change in the community and on campus. As an e-board member, you are able to guide your organization in the direction that will promote its existence.

  1. Give Back to Your Campus

One major gain you get from being on the e-board is the opportunity to make an impact. Your group will be assisting you as you work towards your organization’s goals and take action. Leading your organization to making a change on campus will not only benefit the student body but your organization as well because the impact that you leave will be remembered. You will develop many followers who look up to you and be a leader.

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I personally, have benefitted so much from my involvement in student organizations I can speak for any of these five benefits. One of my current positions as Treasurer of the Multicultural Greek Council has allowed me to network and improve on my leadership skills. Although this does take up a lot of my time, I would not do anything differently. I was challenged to manage my time which has taught me to prioritize and work on my organization.


Getting involved in leadership positions within student organizations have many more benefits than just the ones I mentioned. You also enhance your communication skills along the way as well as being able to inspire other students. And if you are not involved in any student organizations, I highly suggest you start exploring. One way to start is checking out the Multicultural Student Center which houses many multicultural student organizations. Feel free to visit our website for more information on how to get involved and check out CFLI, the Center for Leadership and Involvement, or log into WIN, the Wisconsin Involvement Network, and search through the different student orgs on campus.

Student Spotlight: Siddique Akram is this year’s MSC Meyerhoff winner!

Siddique Akram

Immigrating to Milwaukee from Pakistan when he was 6-years old, Siddique Akram is a first generation college student, and he will be graduating this May with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and History. As a student at UW, he has served as the President of the Muslim Students Association (MSA), volunteered at Meriter Hospital, tutored fellow undergrads in biology, and conducted laboratory research with the UW-Madison School of Medicine’s Department of Surgery and Medicine, as well as with Northwestern University’s summer CURE program.

“Going to college and performing to the best of my ability has been a huge accomplishment. Being president of MSA and the things we were able to accomplish this year definitely contributes to that sense of satisfaction,” says Siddique.

This past fall, MSA’s new event Understanding Islamophobia in America featured panelists across different religious and academic backgrounds and had over 300 participants, making it the organization’s most well attended event. During his time as president, Siddique’s leadership helped the organization start a Freshmen/Transfer Orientation and also establishing the Muslim Alumni Association (MAA); they will be introducing their first Muslim Alumni Weekend this May.

“My goal was to serve Muslim students by creating a stronger sense of community, and for non-Muslim students and the university at large by promoting a sense of mutual understanding by making sure the organization is as welcoming as possible through educational opportunities and open discussions,” says Siddique. “One of the benefits of MSA has been the mentorship. There have been several MSA members who have been pre-med and helped guide me through the process, and I want to play a similar role [as a mentor] for freshman and sophomore students.”

Siddique has grown a lot as a leader. He started his involvement with MSA as a general body member, then later contributing to religious discussion events, becoming Event Coordinator on the executive board, and finally, elected to President.

“Becoming president has been a transformative experience for me. I was given a huge say in determining the course our organization would take this year, I was able to determine the vision for the year, gained a lot of public speaking experience, and collaborated with a lot of other groups.”

For emerging leaders, Siddique’s advice is to focus on the larger goal. “Everyone is part of the same team regardless of position, so it doesn’t matter who gets the credit, just as long as the end result is something that’s really good. Focusing on the larger picture instead of the details helps make the organization and the UW community better.”

His faith in Islam encourages him to commit himself to others, and he has done so not only through his leadership and involvement, but also through his career aspirations.  Siddique plans on becoming a doctor as a means of helping others.

“The impact you can make on someone’s life through becoming a physician is profound. I can’t think of a better way to give back to the community,” he says. “Disease affects people across socioeconomics and culture…everyone experiences health problems at some point or another.”

After graduation, he will be interning at the Cardiopulmonary Research and Science Technology Institute (CRSTI) in Dallas, Texas where he will be doing research and shadowing physicians as he applies to medical school.

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Check out MSA’s 2013 Islam Appreciation Month Events: Muslim Students Association (MSA)’s Islam Appreciation Month promotes dialogue between people of all faiths highlights the vast amount of diversity in the American Muslim experience. 

  • Fast-a-thon with Mo Sabri, Saturday, April 27, 6:45pm Ogg Hall
  • Who Speaks for Islam: What a Billion Muslims Actually Think with Dalia Mogahed, Tuesday, May 7, 6pm, Education L196

Dive Into Your Interests: Creating Your Unique Wisconsin Experience

I heard about the Filipino American Student Organization (FASO) my freshman year.  I’ve been involved in cultural organizations since middle school and was hesitant to join another one. However, I said to myself, “Why not just check it out?”  When I went to the first meeting, I knew FASO was where I needed to be during my time here at UW.  While it was a small meeting with only 4 people, those people became some of the closest friends I’ve met on campus. By giving this organization a spur-of-the-moment chance, I gained long-lasting, genuine friendships.

FASO was the first student organization that I joined, so I dived right in. The current members made me feel welcomed and had no trouble getting me up to date with the organization. In that first semester, I felt that I already had a family away from home.  I never saw myself going to college out-of-state and having family and community is so important to me.

I was so passionate about the organization. During my sophomore year, I was elected as the Publicity and Events Coordinator.  It was my duty to set up events and publicize them to students and community members. This position gave me better communication skills since I was collaborating with multiple companies and organizations. Planning numerous events also helped me gain confidence in resolving sticky situations.

Then, my junior year, I was elected President of FASO. I had so many ideas for the organization to work together with other students to help make it grow even bigger. One of my main goals was to show the campus that FASO is present, that we are here at UW.  Since dance was another of my passions, I also wanted to share that with the organization.  Along with Noelle, the Vice President of FASO, we taught the traditional Filipino dances we learned growing up. For the first time in years, 10 members of FASO were able to perform Tinikling (the bamboo dance) at the MSC’s Multicultural Orientation and Reception (MCOR) in September 2011!  We took something we already knew and transformed it into something that could be shared with the university.  As president, I worked with 7 enthusiastic executive board members, and together, FASO had a very successful year. We planned ahead, created socials and educational workshops, and promoted the spirit of ‘bayanihan’ family.

To new and returning students, I urge you to find an organization and group that drives you, inspires you, and genuinely welcomes you. It will be an amazing learning experience (not to mention, it will look good on your resume). Most importantly however, getting involved in organizations and finding communities are the things that you need to do for your own mental sanity. School can get really tough at times and doing something outside of academics can be breath of a fresh air. Going to an event or meeting for an organization you’re passionate about gives you a break from school and you learn things that the classroom can’t teach you.  You will find that you’ll become so proud of your own responsibility, integrity and potential.  Plus, you’ll make some of your best friends just by diving into your interests.

To find different organizations and meet student leaders, come to the MCOR on Friday, September 7 in Union South and attend the Multicultural Student Organization Fair and Reception from 8:30pm-10:00pm on the third floor. FASO will be performing at the MCOR performances right before the fair.  

Nominations Open for the Multicultural Leadership Awards

Every spring, the MSC hosts our annual Multicultural Leadership Awards and Graduation Reception. The Multicultural Leadership Awards program was developed to recognize contributions made by student leaders, multicultural organizations, and staff all across campus. In addition to student leaders and multicultural organizations, the MSC staff recognizes the accomplishments of our graduating students of color.

To nominate someone for an award, please click here for the nomination form. You must have a UW NetID and password for access.

Nomination categories include:

  • Emerging Leader
  • Established Leader
  • Excellence in Social Justice (Organization & Individual)
  • Behind the Scenes Leader
  • Outstanding Faculty/Staff
  • Outstanding New Program
  • Outstanding Established Program
  • Outstanding Student Organization.

This year, the Awards Ceremony will be on Monday, May 7, from 7-9pm in the On Wisconsin Room (Red Gym, First Floor).  To RSVP to the event, graduating seniors must register online to receive a stole, certificate and gift bag. 

For accommodations, please contact Cynthia Lin at clin@studentlife.wisc.edu or (608)-262-4503.

Nominations for the McDowell Alumni Achievement Award and MSC Meyerhoff Award are also open.