Suffolk’s Journey program allows students to use skills outside of the classroom


By Facebook user The Journey Program

To Dave DeAngelis, director of the Suffolk University office of Student Leadership and Involvement, learning leadership skills can go beyond lessons in the classroom— an opportunity he said the The Journey Program can give students.

“There’s so much value in the out-of-the-class- room learning experience and it’s a good platform for students to put theory to practice, when they learn about something in the classroom and then be able to practice that in a co-curricular involvement opportunity,” said DeAngelis, who created the program nine years ago.

While some clubs require an application process, Journey does not and anyone can join. Once a year, students in the program are to “check-in” and complete an audit, receiving points based on what they’re involved in on campus.

The program is experience based, allowing for students to gain points to increase their membership level by getting involved on and off campus. These membership levels then help determine which signature experience students can qualify for and attend.

New students are often exposed to the program through the leadership track of Ram Academy and the Leadership Living Learning Community available to students who live in on-campus housing. Through these programs students can become involved in Suffolk’s leadership opportunities and work with others.

When CJ Koch, a tier-two member, was a freshman, he learned about the program through the leadership track in Ram Academy and fell in love with it.

“I was infatuated. I really wanted to be a part of it,” said Koch.

There are 13 events that take place in the pro- gram, nine open of which are open to a variety of people and five signature experiences, including Ram Academy, that are open to incoming first- year students.

These experiences revolve around four cornerstones: involvement, service, global thinking and leadership. Through events that focus on these areas, students learn skills such as innovation, confidence, attitude and focus.

The Help Portrait with the Charlestown Boys & Girls Club, provides families who are unable to get a family photo taken with the opportunity to after school.

The signature experiences take place in Florida, South Carolina, Washington D.C. and Barbados. Two of these experiences had a particular impact on students.

In South Carolina, students participate in an exchange program with students from another college. Suffolk students go and visit with students from the University of South Carolina, Aiken and engage in community-centered initiatives.

“We go down to them in South Carolina, and you haven’t seen these people in so long that you’re just dying to see again. It’s really cool to be in their neighborhood now, doing things that they do in their community, and meeting their people and learning stuff from them,” said Koch.

Leadership Winter Break takes place in Crystal River, Florida. There, stu- dents spend two days learning and swimming with manatees. Through learning about leadership and empathy, students get to bond and swim with the gentle giants.

“The first day can be a challenging day for folks who might have been hesitant to first enter the water and interact with the manatees. The second day students are more likely to give their all to get the most out of the unique experience,” said Pat Lovelace, a tier three member.

After Crystal River, the trip continues to Disney World, where students see firsthand how leadership works in an environment.

“Being able to learn at Disney is an experience that can’t be properly explained. One must experience it themselves,” said Mardochée Sylvestre, a tier-three member.

Back home at Suffolk, The Journey Program employs students in work study positions known as “J-Crew.” These students help set up for events that the program hosts, conduct audits for new and returning members and send out the weekly newsletter.

For DeAngelis, these trips create friendships and memories that he then gets to watch students bring back to Suffolk. Lovelace agreed.

“[The Journey Program] taught me that when I feel challenged, I should recognize that I feel challenged, and try to understand why and how I can grow from that opportunity,” said Lovelace.