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The Griffin Editorial 09/15

A student who leads is a student who… complains?

Before the start of the fall 2023 semester, The Griffin had the pleasure of attending Canisius’s leadership conference — an opportunity for the campus’s student-leaders to come together for bonding, training and workshops, in hopes that it would advance our abilities to lead. The Griffin does not doubt that the sessions did achieve such, but we do believe that these lessons, this group and the state of the school at that specific time crescendoed unexpectedly, yet understandably.

The Griffin arrived for the first part of the conference — an introductory dinner with a keynote speaker — a few minutes late. We saw everyone cramped, hot, hungry and talking over one another. Ignoring the fear of walking into a room of what looked like hundreds, The Griffin joined in, relieved that people’s spirits were higher than they seemed at first glance. This opening dinner set the tone of egregious enthusiasm present throughout the weekend.

By lunchtime of the first day of the conference, students sat around the tables of the dining hall grumbling about new site domains or swipe access. The Griffin was part of conversations where 18- and 19-year-olds argued the inequities of the RA meal plan. The Griffin discussed stipends, student wages and scholarships with higher-ups and administrative staff. The Griffin listened in on students’ dialogues concerning what money was spent on what during rebranding. We talked enrollment, admissions, engagement and activity with the same eloquence heard at strategic planning committee meetings.

Our university’s student-leaders are among the most passionate and caring people on campus. That care comes in the form of advocacy and rising up for our fellow students, always looking for ways to improve our classmates' experience. That care spilled from our seams that weekend. Between lectures and events, student-leaders were released to roam the “new and improved” school before the rest of the student body. We used this privilege to pick the place apart.

We knew what an honor it was to be back early, to have meals and entertainment provided, to have the days planned out with you in mind. We knew we were there to be productive — and to push that productivity forward toward making the school an even better place.

But the school gave The Griffin and friends all of the tools, skills and resources to completely revamp the school and the general student body’s disposition in the midst of major change if we really wanted to. And, well, we really want to. So we continue to amicably argue, strategize and brainstorm together until we are blue in the face.

The Griffin is excited to see how student-leaders come into their own and embrace their competency. Without voicing their grievances and being open to those of their peers, we, as a student body, would lose all autonomy. The school asked for leaders, leaders who care — leaders who are not afraid to complain.


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