Leadership in the bunker

13 years ago Matthew Crutchfield 0

by Matt Crutchfield, Senior Staff Writer

Fog machines, fluorescent spotlights and a military issue Humvee are hardly the ingredients for a normal evening, but all of these greeted students who stepped through the doors of the National Guard Armory in Dayton, Tenn. last Thursday. The local Armory was the base for “The Bunker: Innovation,” a meeting organized by the Student Government Association Presidents’ Council of Bryan College.“The Bunker: Innovation was designed to be a forum/think-tank about leadership at Bryan College – what it is, what it should be, and what the most effective steps are to develop it,” Junior Class President Philip Meznar says.

A military issue humvee set the tone for the inaugeral meeting of the Bunker leadership thinktank.
A military issue humvee set the tone for the inaugural meeting of the Bunker leadership thinktank. Photo submitted by Rachel Lowdermilk

The Armory garage was filled with black lights, folding chairs and a projection screen. Pop music blared from massive speakers and familiar internet videos played on flat-screen monitors. Ice cream was served in the back corner, leaving plenty of space for visitors to mingle before the meetings began.

The theme of the meeting was leadership but it concentrated on the idea of “innovation.” The projection screen displayed pioneering events throughout history. Internet videos were unique examples of innovation from popular culture, including a crowd of Filipino prisoners performing Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

“Thursday night’s event was subtitled ‘Innovation,’ as that is what we were focusing on concerning leadership at Bryan at that specific meeting,” Meznar says.

The first session was led by Tim Shetter, resident director of Woodlee-Ewing dormitory. Shetter spoke on the definition of leadership and expressed his desire to initiate a “leadership conversation,” in order to better understand what it meant to be a leader, both at Bryan College and in the world beyond.

“Leadership is the ability to influence others to serve and have an impact on the environment in which they are in,” Shetter says.

This definition served as the foundation for an interactive workshop moderated by Student Body President Rachel Welch. The workshop allowed individuals to express their personal ideas of leadership within a small group of peers.

Participants were divided into groups and encouraged to answer six questions regarding leadership and write the answers on a piece of construction paper. The questions dealt with positive and negative emotions that are associated with the pressures of leadership and helped to initiate conversations within each group.

At the end of the meeting, those who attended had the opportunity to give anonymous feedback regarding the current state of leadership at Bryan College. Similar to the familiar course evaluations, the forms concluded a meeting that was dedicated to discovering the meaning of true leadership.

Bryan College has not seen the last of “The Bunker.” The group interaction and energetic atmosphere are likely to become trademarks of the leadership-oriented gatherings. Although there are no concrete dates for the next meeting, Sophomore Class President Evan Johnson confirms that the Presidents’ Council is looking to the future.

“What Presidents’ Council hopes to do with “The Bunker” in the future, through periodic discussions, fun events and lectures, is to systematically transform how students grow and lead on our campus. Though the venue, emphasis and faces will differ, the purpose will be unchanging,” Johnson says.