Life as a W&J President

April 18, 2014

By Danny Walters ’15

Throughout my time at Washington & Jefferson College I have learned that involvement in clubs and organizations can be just as enriching as the work I have completed inside the classroom.  I have been able to develop leadership skills that will assist me as I pursue my career goals after W&J.  As the president of my fraternity I have acquired a set of skills that I am certain will help me lead individuals during my life as an active businessman and attorney.  Understanding the way in which different personalities interact with each other is a crucial skill to have in order to be able to successfully lead a group of people.  My responsibilities as president are profound, and gaining an appreciation for taking on such a pivotal leadership role has taught me that authority does not come easily.  Leadership is difficult.  There are many tactics that need to be attempted in order to come up with acceptable solutions.  Coming to these realizations during my collegiate career will certainly be a benefit to me as I enter the business world.  Without having the opportunity to join Greek Life I never would have been able to discover some of the leadership qualities that I currently possess.

I have also had the opportunity to be the Vice President of three other clubs on campus.  Although each club varies in size, operations and number of meetings held, they all require a certain set of skills relating to leadership.  These roles have taught me that no matter how big of a leadership role I have, I must maintain the same determination and organizational structures in order to be successful.  These positions are less significant than the role that I play as chapter president of my fraternity, but at the same time the positions have taught me to always appreciate any leadership role that I have.  Individuals look up to you when you are in a position of power and it is critical that I act in a way that resembles an individual of integrity.  I have realized through these leadership roles that my actions speak louder than my words.  By demonstrating that I can accomplish tasks and get things done, I have learned that this is perhaps the largest contribution I can make to any one of my clubs or organizations.

Besides for the leadership positions that I have held and the skills I have acquire from them, I have been able to take advantage of completing a Magellan Project, taking my leadership skills to a new level.  I had the opportunity to travel to Italy this past summer and spend five weeks traveling around the country, studying the papacy.  Through this experience I was forced to act independently and make impactful decisions each day.  I did not speak the language, know anyone or know the country.  It seems like it would have been a terrifying experience, but as it turns out, it was actually the best experience of my life.  I had to think on my toes each and every day, reacting to situations as they arose.  At times, I was faced with situations where I did not know what to do and I was unable to ask for help.  This is where my leadership skills as well as my ability to think proactively took over.  These are skills that I directly associate with things I have learned in my time at W&J.  Deciding to come to W&J has given me plenty of experiences that have helped prepare myself for my future endeavors and I feel extremely lucky to have been able to take advantage of opportunities like the Magellan Project and the roles I currently have in clubs and organizations.  I know these experiences are unique and will offer me the ability to be an effective leader wherever I am in life.

Danny Walters’ 15 is a Business Administration and Political Science double major and a member of the Pre-Law Program.  He is President of his fraternity, Beta Theta Pi.