The spring term offers numerous opportunities for first-year students to get involved on campus, says Renee Gibson, assistant director for new student orientation and student support. “As students put their passions to work in student organizations, they develop leadership skills and learn to contribute to their communities,” she says.

Below is a listing of leadership opportunities on campus, including in academics, residence life, recreational sports, the Chaplain’s Office and Student Senate. To learn more about these and other opportunities, contact Renee Gibson at or 214-768-4332.

Academic Opportunities:

Undergraduate research allows students to pursue opportunities as a leader in an academic discipline, such as the humanities, arts and social sciences. For more information, contact Bob Kehoe, associate professor of physics and undergraduate research assistantships coordinator, at or 214-768-1793.

Big iDeas
For the fourth year, the Big iDeas program is giving 10 undergraduate interdisciplinary teams up to $5,000 each to research and address challenges facing the Dallas area. Big iDeas project teams should contain at least two students from different academic disciplines. Proposals for Big iDeas are due February 8 to

Dean of Student Life Office:

Dining with Decision Makers
Dining with Decision Makers is an annual event that provides students with the opportunity to share their experiences with members of the SMU Board of Trustees. This year’s dinner will be February 24. Applications are due February 1 at noon. For more information, contact Student Trustee Haynes Strader at

New Student Orientation and Student Support:

Academic Advising Registration and Orientation (AARO)/Mustang Corral Leader
In these positions, students lead small groups of incoming students to SMU and help them in their transition into college life. AARO leaders are employed by the office of New Student Orientation and Student Support during the summer. For more information, contact Ashley Stone, assistant director in the student support office, at Interest sessions will be held throughout February, and applications are due February 22.

The Union
Members of The Union work to educate their peers on the importance of giving back to the University. The organization highlights school spirit and provides opportunities for students to get involved in the areas of the University that have impacted them most. For more information, contact Hayley Nelson.

Residence Life and Student Housing:

Community Council
Student leadership positions within each community direct social programming in the halls and serve as the voice of the community to RLSH staff and the campus community. Positions are filled as needed. Students can learn more from their resident assistants and hall directors.

National Residence Hall Honorary
This organization represents the top 1 percent of student leaders living on campus and serves to recognize others for their work. Students must be nominated before applying to join the organization. Nominations are solicited in late February and March, and students are inducted in April. To learn more, contact Adrienne Patmythes, assistant director for residential life and training and development, at

Student Activities and Multicultural Student Affairs:

Student Senate
The Student Senate initiates action on student concerns, adopts the Student Code of Conduct, provides student scholarships and is responsible for the appropriation of funds to student organizations. For information about vacant seats, contact Membership Committee Chair Roza Essaw at

Student Foundation Ambassadors
Ambassadors serve as representatives of the Student Foundation Advancement Committee and of the entire SMU student body at luncheons, banquets and other key university events. Nominations for ambassadors will be accepted from faculty and staff members in February, and an application and interview process will follow. For more information, contact Dawn Norris.

Recreational Sports:

Club Sports
Students are invited to join the 13 sport clubs at SMU. Learn more at the recreational sports website or email Jack Harper, assistant director of intramurals and sport clubs, at

Intramural Sports
The intramural program is hiring officials for spring sports. Little experience is required, and training is provided and paid. For more information, visit the intramural website or email Harper.

Outdoor Leadership Training
SMU’s Outdoor Adventures is accepting applications for the 2011-12 Outdoor Leadership Training, a nine-month, 160-hour progressive training program for outdoor technical skills and personal/group leadership training. Upon completion, students may hold positions as trip leaders, climbing wall staff and at Outdoor Adventures’ rental shop. Learn more at the Outdoor Adventures website.

Positions Requiring Certification
Recreational Sports offers other positions for students that require certification through the department. Contact Gina Garcia, assistant director of fitness, to learn more about becoming a personal trainer or Group X instructor. Contact Tony Bates, assistant director of aquatics, to learn about lifeguard and swimming instructor certification.

Student Staff Members
Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports hires student staff as vacancies occur. Contact Echo Dickerson, Dedman’s assistant facilities manager.

Leadership and Community Involvement:

LEAD is the campus organization dedicated to leadership development on campus and offers students opportunities to create and implement leadership programs for SMU students. Contact adviser Carol Clyde for more information.

Leadership Certificate Program
The Leadership Certificate Program offers students the opportunity to enhance leadership skills through weekly seminars, community service work and emphasis on individual leadership goals. A $25 fee and application are due February 1. Contact Stephanie Howeth for more information.

Hegi Family Career Development Center:

Advisory Board Special Projects Fellowship
The career center’s Advisory Board Fellowship is designed to support a student’s interest in helping the career center maintain the highest level of career development and employer relations services. This fellowship enables SMU students to interact with leaders of industry and community and campus executives. Students appointed to the fellowship also will play a significant role in shaping the vision and goals of the career center. Applications for the board are accepted year-round and reviewed in March. Appointees are assigned in April. For more information, contact Troy Behrens, director of student affairs projects and initiatives.

Advocates Program
The career center’s Advocates Program consists of a group of student volunteers that works with the center to promote and raise awareness of its benefits for all SMU students. Social functions, fund-raisers and classroom interactions are some of the ways the advocates spread the word about the virtues of early career planning. For more information, contact Assistant Director Marva McGrew.

SMU Scholar Society Executive Committee:
SMU Scholar Society Executive Committee members increase interaction between students who are members of different scholars programs. The Scholar Society leverages the guidance and knowledge of professors and community leaders by inviting and involving them in a scholars’ forum. Applications for this committee are accepted continually; contact Troy Behrens for more information.

Office of the Chaplain and University Ministries:

University Worship Sunday Service Leaders
Students can participate in the University Sunday service as readers, musicians or ushers. For more information, contact the Office of the Chaplain and University Ministries at 214-768-4502.