july 2015 bulletin cover
Volume 83 | Issue 4
July 2015

Student Profile: Kalenna Kaske, Northern Illinois University

kalenna kaskeMajor: Community Leadership & Civic Engagement

Leadership Positions: Vice President of Programming for Campus Activities Board

Why do you choose to be involved as a student leader?
I choose to be involved as a student leader for so many reasons. Originally, I made it a goal to be as involved as possible because I had been in a serious car accident and I wanted to make the most of my second chance at this life. Once I did become involved, there was no turning back—I was in love. I began taking advantage of all the opportunities that involvement presented to me and expanding my knowledge through real-life experience. Through my involvement, I have found my passions, and this gives me the chance to do what I love every single day.

What are your career goals?
I have decided that I am going to make a career out of college and student involvement! I am going to graduate school after graduation in May 2016 to pursue a career in student affairs. I have realized that student affairs gives you a chance to impact the lives of students for the better when they need it most. I also would love to incorporate my love of event planning and have a career in motivational speaking. I am currently getting a start on my speaking career and will be speaking at a teen leadership conference in November.

What is one project you are proud to have helped implement on campus?
I would say the project I am most proud of and have implemented on campus would be the positive body image program, NIU Self-ie-Perspective. This event was to create a sense of community by showing that all of us have insecurities, and it also showed every participant how beautiful they are, inside and out. This event is what made me realize I want to do things like this for the rest of my life. The first year alone, we had 750 people join the Facebook group, with more than 357 selfies posted with blurbs about the posters’ insecurities, and we reached states across the United States and even Russia and Canada. I could truly go on about this program for days and talk about how it impacted my peers, myself, and my career choices. This is the project that I am most proud of because it impacted so many lives positively and taught me so much.

What has been most helpful to you as a student leader?
As a student leader, I would have to say that what has been most helpful to me would be the encouragement, support, and guidance that I receive from my advisors/directors. I can feel that they genuinely want to help me succeed any way that they can, and this motivates me to be the best leader I can be. I would also say that leadership conferences have absolutely been helpful. When I attend a conference, I walk away with much more knowledge than I had going into it and so many different perspectives. You see what other schools are doing differently, and it makes you think of what you may be able to do differently to better your events or campus.

What have you learned about leadership through your work with others on campus?
To me, leadership is not just telling other people what to do or holding a higher position—leadership is all about leading by example and working as a team. I am still growing as a leader everyday, but I would not be able to be the leader that I am without my team. I believe that a leader needs to be open-minded and adapt to the most unexpected changes.

What is your most memorable ACUI experience?
My favorite ACUI memory thus far would be attending the Region V conference in November 2014. I loved it because it gave me the opportunity to network with so many student affairs professionals and gain information about the field from them. I learned a lot about the field, and it completely solidified that this is the career I want for my future.