Students in Service and Leadership at Harvard

Steering As Leading

I serve on FOP’s Steering Committee (SC), the main leadership body of the program. As someone who feels deep gratitude for having the opportunity to both go on and lead FOP trips, I felt a strong conviction to apply for a role which would allow me to work towards improving the program. In the same way that our trips take on days of service to repair trails and bridges for those who come after us, so too did I believe it was my time to take on the responsibility of maintaining and trailblazing paths. Moreover, the way that Steering Committee runs is nonconventional compared to other Harvard leadership structures and offered me an additional opportunity to grow alongside others.

SC, by design, provides an engaging but also challenging structure by which to lead such a large program. Housing anywhere from five to nine individuals including the Director (an official appointed by Harvard administration), Steering Committee is responsible for the bulk of the program’s logistics when we are not leading trips—in other words, all but a couple of weeks in the academic year, including the summer. The central tenet of the group is the consensus-based decision-making model. Consensus states that decisions must be made after discussion, and that while individuals do not necessarily need to agree with every choice, they must be comfortable with moving forward.

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