Scripps' LASPA Center Prepares for Upcoming Year

Following the launch of the LASPA Center for Leadership at Scripps College on April 2, the center's employees, including Director Lisa Watson and two Scripps students, spent the summer developing programming and planning events for the center's first full academic year.

The center, which is located in Seal Court, held its first open house on Sept. 2.

LASPA assistant director Lindsey Martinovich said that the center aims to help students find their own ways of taking on leadership roles, building confidence and learning how to assess and utilize their personal strengths.

“Our biggest thing is that leadership is an action, not a position,” Martinovich said.

Madison Hobbs SC '19 (left) and Gena Gores SC '18 are two of LASPA's Scholars in Action. • Morgan Albrecht

The center has already funded six student projects through the LASPA Action Grant, with additional funding from the Board of Trustees and the administration.

On Sept. 9, the Center also hosted its first Up for Discussion event, during which Scripps President Lori Bettison-Varga, Interim President-Elect Amy Marcus-Newhall, and Dean of Students Charlotte Johnson discussed issues around maternity leave.

LASPA currently employs ten students, including Coordinators Lucy Altman-Newell SC '17 and Jocelyn Gardner SC '17. The student employees, known as Scholars in Action, have been working on expanding the center's visibility. In addition to creating a guide outlining the various campus leadership opportunities already available to Scripps students, the Scholars are working with Martinovich and Watson to develop and implement programs they hope to offer this year.

Sarah Bryk SC '18, one of the Scholars in Action, said that she was drawn to “a leadership center devoted to different types of leadership.”

Whereas the Scripps Communities of Resources and Empowerment Office (SCORE) is focused on social justice, LASPA hopes to complement the social-justice lens by gearing itself towards more business-oriented or individualized niches.

The Scholars are split among seven groups focused on specific interests: Wisdom Holder meetings, Next Generation panels, We Act grants, the Up for Discussion series, trainings, and the Social Entrepreneurship academy. These programs are designed to integrate community feedback into the center’s development, connect students with experienced professionals and support individual student leadership initiatives.

According to Scholar of Action Madison Hobbs SC '19, LASPA employees have been discussing ideas for increasing students' political engagements. These ideas include mock debates with students and faculty, and a student-run YouTube channel that would cover current events and U.S. politics in a comedic, non-partisan way.

“We’re really focusing on leadership of women and marginalized genders, but anyone of the Claremont Colleges can come join in the discussion," Hobbs said.

According to Martinovich, the up-and-coming center also aims to foster community and provide a space where students can study, work on independent or collaborative leadership initiatives and engage in discussion. LASPA hopes to reach its goal of 300 participating students this year through its new programs, sessions and social media presence.