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Select Freshmen Take the Leadership Plunge

Participants Often Become Outstanding Student Leaders

July 18, 2014

Tara Lydy speaks with a group of

Tara Lydy speaks with a group of "Plungers" about leadership opportunities at Wilmington College.

Nearly two-dozen incoming freshmen at Wilmington College got a jump on the upcoming fall semester as members of the Summer Leadership Plunge this month.

Now a five-day event running through Saturday (July 19), the 14th annual Plunge is designed to take those students that were proven leaders in their high schools and lay the foundation for them becoming campus leaders at WC.

Plunge facilitator Tara Lydy said the select students were among those freshmen invited to apply for the Plunge based upon their high school activities, grade point average and ACT scores, as well as previous leadership positions. Their applications included written essays that complemented their leadership resumes.

“Through Plunge activities, we look at the attributes of a leader, tap into their leadership skills and expose them to some of the leadership opportunities and challenges they will encounter while students at Wilmington College,” Lydy said.

“They come here as top dogs at their high schools — it’s always interesting to see them learn to adapt to situations with others who also are used to being in leadership positions.”

Lydy, who serves as director of WC’s New Student Orientation program and its Center for Service and Civic Engagement, said important components of the leadership program include service projects and formally interviewing leaders from the Wilmington community, the results of which are discussed within the broader context of being a student leader at WC.

Ken Lydy, associate vice president for student affairs and Plunge director, said the Summer Leadership Plunge’s 14-year history illustrates that these students are among best, brightest and most well rounded, and they tend to shine once they arrive on campus.

“We’ve seen that many of those who engaged in the Plunge became resident assistants and members of student government, and have taken on other leadership positions during their time at WC,” he said

Ken Lydy noted that Plunge veterans include 10 of WC's Robert Lucas Award winners since 2005, which was the year the initial group of Plunge participants became seniors (NOTE: some years featured co-recipients of the award). The Lucas Award is given annually to the May graduate deemed as the outstanding student leader over the previous four years.

“They typically have very successful, well-rounded College experiences,” he said.

“One Drop Makes a Ripple” has been the theme since the Plunge’s inception in 2001.

“It means that each individual has something to bring to the greater whole,” Ken Lydy said. “Each person can have an impact on campus, especially at a college like WC.”

With just over a month until the start of the fall semester, these new students have already met others students and staff members, made friends and know their way around the campus and community.

“They will be ready to hit the ground running and take things by storm,” he said. “Also, they will have a positive affect on other new students they’ll meet at New Student Orientation in August.”