The word “leader” is defined in the dictionary as “a person who leads a group, organization, or country,” and is so often loosely thrown around. What actually makes somebody a good leader? What qualities do they have that others do not?
As for Springfield College junior Colby Wilson, the definition just scratches the surface.
In addition to being on the E-Board for New Student Orientation, the Tewksbury, Mass. native is the Vice President for the Men of Excellence (MOE), a jump leader for his track and field team (essentially has the duties of a captain), and is the track and field representative for the Student Athlete Leadership Team (S.A.L.T.).
“It’s less about being a role model and more about being someone people can come to talk to about anything,” Wilson said of his leadership positions. “Whether they want to join a club, get involved on campus, or even just talk in general. Everything I’ve done in my three years [at Springfield College] has prepared me to be a resource for others, I look at it as helping whoever to become true Springfield College people.”
For someone who had little-to-no interest in taking any leadership roles after high school, Wilson has excelled from the get-go in college, using his confident and calm approach to attract his peers.
“I would have never seen myself doing these things here,” began Wilson. “I didn’t even want to participate in NSO freshman year, and now I’m a leader because I ended up loving it so much. I knew the week after I finished NSO I wanted to get involved.”
With Wilson leading the charge, the current group of NSO leaders are now in the process of sifting through interview forms to determine who next fall’s leaders will be. MOE, on the other hand, recently held a domestic violence event that was put together by the E-Board and was open to all members of the Springfield College community.
Wilson has been a positive influence on the track team, especially to the younger groups of first-years and sophomores who still have yet to compete. His roommate and teammate, Mason Tosch, believes Wilson has grown and developed over his time on Alden Street.
“Colby has picked up on how everybody responds to certain situations, you can tell he’s learned a lot from being on the team,” Tosch said. “He knows who likes to be talked to on meet days and who doesn’t, and he encourages everyone to never worry about what numbers they put up, just to go out and compete as hard as they can.”
Scott and Betsy Wilson, Colby’s parents, gave their son, a sport management major, pieces of advice that has, and always will, stick with him. Their support and encouragement is the reason Wilson is in the position he is in today.
“My dad is a coach, so he’s always helping people on and off the field,” said Wilson. “Seeing how he has developed relationships with people is something I’ve always admired and paid close attention to. He’s also a selectman in my town and is on the school committee, he’s just super involved in my town. Seeing what he has done made me want to be more like him and get more involved.”
“Before I came to school, my mom told me to be open to everything and try new things. She was the one who told me to go into NSO with an open mind and maybe I’d end up liking it and we see how that ended up. They both definitely helped to shape my mindset,” he continued.
Although Wilson can be talkative and outgoing, he occasionally keeps to himself in a more reserved manner when necessary. His older brother Tyler, a senior at Penn State, has shown Colby that it’s ok to be more introverted in certain situations.
“We’re honestly pretty opposite,” said Colby. “I’ve used his way of going about things sometimes. I’m more vocal and extroverted when talking to people, but he keeps to himself and does things on his own, he carries himself lowkey. Seeing how he’s able to be independent and not rely on others to get stuff done, I’ve used that in certain aspects of my life for sure.”
Considering all of the people who have impacted Wilson, it is no understatement that he has returned the favor. Everyone who has ever encountered Wilson or has had a conversation with him would agree that a budding personality like his resonates and sticks.
“Colby has a great foundation. He knows how to take what someone is trying to say and say it in a smarter, better way towards people. He really gets the most out of everyone he’s around,” Tosch added.
Wilson and MOE have planned a collaborative event with the Springfield College Police Department. From starting as someone who was showing up to meetings and taking in the information to now putting events into action, he has thrived in his new position as VP of the club.
S.A.L.T. just did a Division III social media campaign week for diversity, equity, and inclusion – the subcommittee Wilson is in — where he recorded a video talking about his maturation process at Springfield in a letter he wrote to his former self.
“I feel like being a leader is just a big part of what Springfield College is,” said Wilson. “I know it’s sort of a cliche thing people say, but it’s really true and it’s a huge aspect of what this school is. Once I got here and spent some time here, I felt like it was right to get involved in the things I’m passionate about.”
To pile together a list of tasks Wilson has completed since the fall of 2019, his first semester on Alden Street, would be rather time consuming. He has and continues to embody the Pride way of life, and that is exactly why Colby Wilson has become a household name.
Photo Courtesy Colby Wilson