Finding Your Path to Meaningful Involvement

Leaders are moved by what they care about to make the world a better place.” – Student Leadership Development

Last week, we discussed the importance of involvement to the college experience and finding meaning throughout the lifespan. As the Office of Student Leadership Development gears up for our Depth Over Breadth campaign, we will take this opportunity to introduce how to discover a path to meaningful involvement and why we encourage depth of involvement over breadth of involvement.

Here at William and Mary, we have over 450 different recognized student organizations. Looking through the directory of these organizations can feel overwhelming when you want to become involved, but have not yet decided where to become involved. In order to discover a path towards involvement that is right for you, it is helpful to first reflect. This can come in the form of asking yourself some questions such as:

  • What am I passionate about?
  • Do I have career and professional goals I would like to begin working towards?
  • What are some societal issues I feel strongly about helping to improve?
  • What activities, sports, or hobbies do I enjoy doing in my free time?

Asking yourself these questions is a great start towards becoming involved in organizations with a mission you truly care about and feel connected to. Here in SLD, we call this mission alignment “the why.” When you feel passionate about an organization or cause, you are more likely to follow through and become deeply involved. W&M’s hundreds of student organizations cover a wide range of interest categories including those such as religion, culture, social justice, sports, professional development, hobbies, and community service working with children, the elderly, and the environment. With so many options, students are bound to discover organizations with missions they care deeply about. Studies have found that this “deep” involvement in causes fosters more meaningful leadership development compared with involvement in a breadth of organizations. Do you see where I’m going with this????


Student Leadership Development is committed to promoting that deeper involvement fosters more meaningful development and leadership than participation in a breadth of organizations. In next week’s blog post, we will officially introduce and discuss Depth Over Breadth and how it relates to student involvement, leadership, and why Student Leadership Development is so passionate about promoting this message to our students.

Know someone who exhibits Depth Over Breadth? Nominate them here to be in the #LeadershipSpotlight social media and blog posts.



Depth Over Breadth Student Spotlight: Ben Zhang

Today’s Depth Over Breadth student spotlight is Ben Zhang.

Ben’s nominator shared,
“Humans is one of his few commitments at W&M, but he excels at it in an extraordinary way that I do not think it would be where it is today without his thoughtful guidance and leadership.”

When asked to reflect on Depth Over Breadth, Ben shared,

Honestly, I think so many people on this campus exemplify fine leadership in their lives without even realizing it. Leadership can be as simple as taking the initiative in a class discussion or settling a conflict between friends. In some ways, we are literally “leading” our lives, and just like any other type of leadership, leading ourselves well requires a serious sense of mission, as well as a keen artistry in creative maneuvers. A lot of how I lead comes from my reflections on my own experiences working with other people, so perhaps my leadership style is simply an extension of my life.

On behalf of the Office of Student Leadership Development, thank you, Ben for your leadership and commitment!

Ben Zhang HoWM_DepthOverBreadth

Ben Zhang wanted to share this picture along with the following students who are members of the Humans of William & Mary team: Sarah Garratt (’16), Anna Booman (’18), Siobhan Doherty (’19), Dani Aron-Schiavone (’17) Jack Zhang (’18), Brenna Cowardin (’19), Rahul Truter (’19), Allison Shomaker (’16)


Depth Over Breadth Student Spotlight: TJ Soroka

Today’s Depth Over Breadth Student Spotlight is TJ Soroka:

TJ’s nominator shared,

“As a student leader on campus, TJ proves that you can be a role model on campus without overbooking yourself.”

When asked to reflect on Depth Over Breadth, TJ shared,

“I think I would best describe my leadership style as the perfect mix of Henry Clay and Leslie Knope. I am hard-working and passionate, but at the same time I foster a fun-loving environment. I think this relates back to the Depth Over Breadth initiative because by focusing your efforts into only those things which you are passionate about, you create a positive and more enjoyable experience not only for yourself, but for the community around you.”

On behalf of the Student Leadership Development team, thank you TJ for your leadership and commitment!

TJ Soroka_DepthOverBreadth

Depth Over Breadth Student Spotlight: Sarah Smith

Our first Depth Over Breadth student spotlight is Sarah Smith!

Sarah’s nominator shared,

“Sarah has more commitment to The Flat Hat than I have ever seen in someone toward anything. She encourages others to deeply commit…” 

When asked her thoughts about Depth Over Breadth in her leadership style, Sarah shared,While I do pursue other passions on campus, I have consciously prioritized my leadership in The Flat Hat and strive everyday to give more to the organization. I believe that in this instance, depth is more important than breadth, because I am focusing on something that matters to me and to the community.”

On behalf of the Office of Student Leadership Development, thank you Sarah for your leadership and commitment!

Depth Over Breadth Student Spotlight: Sarah Smith

Depth Over Breadth Student Spotlight: Sarah Smith

To learn more about Depth Over Breadth and The Office of Student Leadership Development, check out our website: