Chief, director, head, captain, boss, commander, forerunner.
The Urban Dictionary defines a leader as: “someone who has the ability to inspire others to achieve tasks and goals that they might not otherwise be capable of reaching.”
Springfield College preaches leadership, so much so that it is in the forefront of its mission statement. Over the years Springfield has become a breeding ground for future leaders in sport, business, communications, etc.
With its rich history and leadership focus, Springfield College not only breeds leaders but attracts them as well. Whether it is a local non-profit owner, Martin Luther King Jr., or John F. Kennedy, – Springfield boasts a rare history of hosting leaders.
On Thursday, Sept. 18 at 7:30 p.m., Doc Hendley, the current president and founder of the non-profit organization Wine to Water, will be in Fuller Arts to talk to Springfield College students and faculty. Hendley, a former bartender in North Carolina, will be speaking to students about his book, also titled Wine to Water.
The book encompasses Hendley’s journey from a bartender to a volunteer in Darfur, Sudan where he helped install water systems for victims of government genocide.
Facing danger on a daily basis, Hendley’s experiences drove him to build his organization and raise money for the civilians that need water in Darfur and surrounding areas.
Hendley’s book was chosen as the summer reading book for the incoming students, NSO leaders, and President Cooper this year.
“The president always reads the book,” said interim Dean of Student Affairs Terry Vecchio. “Starting with Dr. Flynn and continuing with Dr. Cooper, the presidents always seem to enjoy the book.”
The summer reading program, which started almost 14 years ago, is intended to implement academics into the new student orientation program.
Starting with the faculty, every year a pool of 25 to 30 books are narrowed down into just a handful. From there, the NSO E-Board, comprised of student leaders, reads and ultimately decides on which book will be chosen and handed out to the new incoming class.
“The NSO board members are the ones who play the biggest role in choosing the book,” stated Vecchio. “They are the ones who will provide that feedback on how our incoming students would likely feel about the book.”
Another aspect included in the decision making process is the availability and cost of bringing the author on campus to connect with students.
“We feel that the author is an important part of the process because it closes everything out,” continued Vecchio.
Doc Hendley’s career and volunteer experiences made him the perfect candidate to come and speak at Springfield College.
Since 2004, Wine to Water has provided more than 250 thousand people with clean water, installed over 500 water systems and has distributed 25 thousand filters throughout 17 different countries.
“Our mission statement is all about spirit, mind, and body, and Doc Hendley lived that every day he volunteered,” commented NSO leader Eric Del Negro. “For him to come to campus would be inspiring and make the mission statement that much more meaningful.”
Aside from the leadership and mission statement connection, Springfield College is in the midst of its own water program as well. At the start of the semester each student received a new sustainability water bottle.
This initiative brings to light an important and serious problem that has not only plagued Springfield College but the whole country in general. The use of plastic water bottles has been crippling to the environment, and Springfield College has decided to make a stand.
Initiatives like the water bottles provide a window for Springfield College to connect with other leaders of society and innovation, like Hendley.