Better Than You Found It

Tonight is our traditional dinner where outgoing student leaders will bestow their blessing and traditional gifts on the incoming student leaders. It’s our annual version of passing the baton.

I had the opportunity to sit down a few weeks ago with our student leaders who were getting ready to finish up their student leader year. We sat around the table and talked about what needed to happen between that moment and the moment we’ll share tonight. I wanted them to focus on ending well.

In the midst of our discussion I offered them one question. It’s a question that has implications for the legacy they leave and the condition of things when they step away.

What will you do this year to leave your position better than you found it?

It’s a question aimed at excellence.
It’s a question to evaluate improvement.

Every student leader leaves. That’s a given. The variables occur at the level of “when” and “how.” Some leave early and suddenly, creating a wake of unfulfilled expectations. And some leave the position with the status of “fixer-upper.”

Each student leader gets to write one chapter in the ongoing story of their institution or organization. Each student leader gets one year. The question I poised shows students how each student leader year builds off the successes of previous years. It also helps them realize that they often have to work through the failures of past years as well.

I’m proud of the student leaders I had the privilege of working with this year. Tonight’s dinner will be a celebration. They are leaving us in great shape. There’s a lot of momentum from their efforts that will be carried over into this next group.

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