The ability to inspire a shared vision: What FIU student leaders are missing

Dean Gabriel Williams/Special to The Beacon

Soon, it will be 50 years since the establishment of what we have affectionately come to know as the “Finest Institution in the Universe.” And if you really stop to think about it, our beloved university has come quite a ways from that barren airstrip with only a tower to be recognized by.

Miami’s one and only public research university earned its stripes in the realm of higher education because, simply put, this university’s leaders have made it a priority to “inspire a shared vision.” And unless our student leaders commit themselves to doing the same, we will miss our opportunity to shape the next 50 years of history at FIU.

“‘Inspiring a Shared Vision’ is one of the five practices of exemplary leadership” as outlined in Kouzes and Posner’s Leadership Challenge.  In order to inspire a shared vision, one must be able to envision the future by imagining exciting and ennobling possibilities, and then enlist others in that shared vision by appealing to shared aspirations.

Inspiring that shared vision can only begin if all student leaders understand first, what is meant by “The Student Trust,” and second, that they all play an integral role in ensuring the health, safety, welfare and morals of “The Student Trust.” And to be certain, the student trust is more than simply the allocation and management of the Activity and Services Fee; it’s about student advocacy and the general welfare of the future student bodies of FIU.

Whether you are the secretary of a campus student organization, a member of Student Government, or anywhere in-between, you play an integral role in protecting, developing and advancing the student trust. And the way we can do this, as student leaders, is to create and inspire one cohesive vision.

Inspiring a shared vision has nothing do with a person or an organization and everything to do with service to your community; if we are to ensure that this great nation will return to its full glory, it starts with us, right here and right now, at this great University, engaging others in the common objective of making the student experience for current and future students enjoyable and fruitful.

Anything is possible at FIU. 17 varsity sports teams have worked tirelessly to move us from the Sunbelt Conference to Conference USA. In a little over 10 years, the College of Law went from little known to being amongst the highest bar passage rates in the state. We are the youngest university to be granted a Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s most prestigious national honor society. And most importantly, FIU is a key player in the region’s economy, with a contribution of about $2 billion per year.

If the leaders of this student body—whether within student organizations, student government, and in-between—fail to share in and work towards one unified vision, we could lose our opportunity to make a significant impact on the next 50 years of greatness that this University is about to experience.

This is the first in a two part series about Student Leadership at Florida International University.

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