UNCP Program Builds Leaders, Communities



Pictured (left to right): Abdul Ghaffar, Genevieve Lebeau, Melanie Clark, Calvin Webster and J.C. Worthington

Leadership and community service is a growing business on UNC Pembroke's campus.

The three-year-old Leadership Service Opportunities Program (LSOP) has contributed over 4,000 hours of community service that included tutoring, building a church in the Caribbean and a program building compassion among fellow students.

Calvin Webster was singled out for honors at a year-ending awards ceremony for his good works. The senior from Newport, N.C., masterminded the annual campus "Campaign for Compassion." He created events that encouraged fellow students to consider issues like world hunger.

"This program developed my leadership skills and my compassion for my fellow man," Mr. Webster said. "This program has touched me. I participated all three years and probably did close 1000 hours of volunteering."

A part of the Office of Student Activities, LSOP has grown so quickly that it hired a full-time director. Melanie Clark takes over the program from Abdul Ghaffar, director of Student Activities for UNCP.

"We are very happy to have someone with Melanie's ability leading this program," Mr. Ghaffar said. "When we launched the Leadership and Service Opportunities Program, we never imagined that it would grow so quickly."

"A lot of people are critical of college students for not being involved in their communities, but this proves that students do care and are willing to commit their time and energies to do community service," he said. "We believe in developing well rounded men and women who will become leaders of their communities."

Three hundred and sixty students participated in LSOP in 2001-2002.

Thirteen freshmen were awarded the Horizon Leader Award for completing 30 hours of community service. Forty-two upperclassmen earned Distinguished Leader Awards for completing 50 hours of community service.

A permanent transcript of volunteer activities is recorded for student resumes, and special gold sashes are worn by graduates during commencement.