By Grace Richey '19
Nestled in the northeastern corner of Seal Court is the LASPA Center, the new leadership center at Scripps. The newly-debuted campus resource aims to prepare students for a lifetime as leaders by encouraging personal growth through active engagement.
After nearly two years in the making, the Center first launched late in the 2015 school year and held an official open house on Sept. 2. Student leaders Jocelyn Gardner ‘17 and Lucy Altman-Newell ‘17 worked closely with the Center’s director over the summer to establish groundwork. The Center works to develop leaders by emphasizing the critical point that “Leadership is an action that many can take, not a position that only a few can hold.”
According to their mission statement, the Center intends “to develop and support future generations of women leaders, providing them with the necessary attributes, knowledge, and skills to success in the 21st Century.” Though LASPA’s mission statement refers explicitly only to women, other marginalized genders are also welcomed and included.
Working under the slogan “We Act,” the Center offers a variety of resources for students interested in developing their leadership abilities. Recently, the Center published the Leadership Opportunities Guide, an extensive compilation of clubs, teams, centers, and organizations across the 5Cs available to Scripps students. Groups listed include those relating to “Mentorship, Culture, [and] Identity,” philanthropy, tutoring, the arts, entrepreneurship, and science—to name a few. The 68-page guide also includes information for an assortment of scholarship, grants, and awards. This resource is located digitally a few posts down on LASPA’s Facebook page, and will soon exist in hard copy in the LASPA Office.
The Center will also host several events this semester such as presentations by We Act grant recipients of the work they have achieved over the summer and Wisdom Holder meetings where LASPA affiliates will discuss opportunities with campus community members. Other programs include “Up for Discussion: TED Talks by Authentic Leaders” and the N-Gen (Next Generation) Panel, a speaker series featuring dialogue between students and young professionals.
“It is my hope that LASPA will help to close the leadership gap by advancing women into leadership positions,” Center Director Lisa Watson explains. “LASPA will offer students learning opportunities that build on Scripps’ current offerings and help students find their place on the leadership spectrum.”
Although LASPA stands for “Leadership, Analysis, Scholarship, Public Service, and Action,” the true namesake comes from class of 1967 alumnus and former trustee Eileen Schock Laspa and her husband Jude Laspa (HMC ’65). The Laspas presented a large gift to Scripps College with the vision of creating a campus resource that would aid in student empowerment.
“We are very pleased to help make the Leadership Center a reality as a resource to help enrich the educational experience at Scripps College and to better prepare our students for productive andimpactful lives in whatever career field they follow,” Eileen Laspa said in a 2013 interview with Scripps College News.
In addition to director Lisa Watson, the Center’s staff includes Assistant Director Lindsey Martinovich, Scholars in Action Coordinators Gardner and Altman-Newell, and a team of student Scholars in Action.
Under the pillars of “leadership, service, integrity, and creativity,” the Center is now open for student access weekdays during normal business hours as a resource for questions about programming, homework space for both group collaboration and quiet studying, and comfortable relaxation area. The office also features a leadership library. Visit their Facebook page for up-to-date current event and program listings.