According to the Lehigh student affair’s website, Lehigh is home to more than 200 clubs and organizations, most of which will lose valuable contributors from the class of 2023 graduating in May.
Senior leaders have demonstrated that involvement in these groups can be a powerful way to make an impact on other people, the community and oneself.
As the year comes to a close, presidents of some of the most prominent on-campus clubs and organizations reflect on the time, work and lessons learned from committing themselves to the Lehigh community.
Serena Sachs, ‘23, is the president of Lehigh’s chapter of the Miracle Network Dance Marathon organization, Hawkathon. Sachs said she originally got involved because both of her sisters were involved in Dance Marathon at their own schools, hosted by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
Lehigh’s adaptation of this event, Hawkathon, is a 12-hour, no-sitting dance marathon held every fall. Sachs said the event raises money for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“For my four years, it’s always been about supporting the child life department of (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia), which has been very important because my sister is a child life specialist at Boston Children’s (Hospital),” Sachs said. “I am able to recognize more where our money was going to and what the tools they are using it for.”
Sachs said she has been a part of Hawkathon since her first year and became president in January 2022. Prior to her presidency, she was the event director and, before that, she served in dancer relations.
As president, Sachs said she runs the executive and club meetings. She also keeps in constant contact with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia advisor and the dance marathon advisor.
“As president, I was able to meet these people and learn from people outside of the Lehigh community, which was very valuable,” Sachs said.
Sachs said she enjoys being a part of Hawkathon and admires the way it facilitates community connection. She said she has seen what being a part of Lehigh has been able to do philanthropically through certain events, such as Colleges Against Cancer in addition to Hawkathon.
Sachs said one of the greatest impacts of Hawkathon is seeing the difference they made for the Miracle Kids they met.
“We had one Miracle Kid who has consistently attended all of our events, and I’ve seen pictures of him when he was little, and now he’s a full grown adult,” Sachs said. “It’s crazy to see how we have impacted his life and his families and seeing what you are doing is making a change.”
Sachs said taking the next step to educate and advocate for kids who just want to live a playful life will have an impact.
She said being a part of an organization at Lehigh and being able to be a leader has been influential in her four years.
“To anybody who wants to be a leader you only have one chance to do it so, if you’re questioning whether to run for an executive position or getting more involved, take that opportunity to do it because you’ll end up loving it in the end,” Sachs said.
Outing Club president Henry Price, ‘23, said he has been in the club since his first year after meeting some members on a PreLUsion trip.
Price said he has always had a love for the outdoors. In his first year at Lehigh, he lived in the Outdoor Interest-themed housing in McClintic-Marshall House.
Price said he became an officer in the spring semester of his first year, and by his senior year, he became president. As president, he works with the other members of the executive board to plan trips and connect with university administration.
“This club would not be possible without our officer core, which is 20 to 30 students who go through a training in the spring, and they’re the ones who are actually running the trips,” Price said. “Those committed students are what allows this club to function on the level and scale that it does.”
The Outing Club plans trips for every weekend. Price said the trips vary in scope, from a daytime walk on the Greenway to overnight backpacking trips.
One of their biggest trips is a backpacking hike through the Adirondacks over pacing break.
“Ever since my freshman year I have gone on the pacing break backpacking trip, and it’s always been a highlight for me,” Price said. “We are up there at peak foliage color so it is absolutely beautiful and it’s a super cool area. I have done a different hike route every time.”
The trip usually consists of about 20-30 students. He said planning big trips is a fulfilling part of being president.
On the trip, they hike five to 10 miles a day while carrying their tents and portable stoves in their backpacks.
Price said being a part of Outing Club, specifically president, has been a major part of his Lehigh career.
“It’s really grown my leadership capabilities and organizational capabilities,” Price said. “It’s a pretty large organization to manage, and I have just gotten to become such good friends with such cool people throughout it I wouldn’t have met otherwise.”
Isamarie Hernadez Arroyo
Isamarie Hernadez Arroyo, ‘24, is the president of the Lehigh Women’s Network, which started her sophomore year.
She said because she is in the Integrated Business and Engineering Honors Program program, she will be taking a fifth year of classes at Lehigh. However, she is stepping down from her role as president at the end of this year.
Hernandez Arroyo said she randomly applied to be a blog writer for the organization after recognizing she was not able to do as much writing as she liked in her major.
According to its website, The Women’s Network is the largest collegiate women’s networking organization in the U.S. with over 120 colleges involved.
Hernadez Arroyo said the main mission is to connect students to industry leaders and celebrate their ambition. They host speaker events, networking events and professional development workshops.
As president, Hernadez Arroyo said she manages and oversees all events and is in constant contact with members. She said she is also in charge of contacting the industry professionals the organization hosts.
“I’ve met really cool people,” Hernandez Arroyo said. “Some are high up at HBO, people from Google.”
She said meeting influential people has been exciting, especially professionals from well-known companies.
She said being president for the past two years has made Hernandez Arroyo a better leader.
“Having a big team comes with some big challenges, especially if there are communication issues or someone missed a meeting, then making sure everyone is on the same page can be difficult,” Hernandez Arroyo said.
She said balancing her dual degree while also being president was a challenge, but she feels prepared to manage a variety of different projects in the future and not get overwhelmed.
Hernandez Arroyo said she recommends all undergraduates join as many organizations as they can.
“You can make it what you want it to be,” she said. “Join clubs, be involved. You never know what could come out of it. I started as a blog writer and never thought I would be president.”