New Year’s resolutions are becoming jokes of the past, but some students on campus are finding innovative ways to set and keep goals.


A new student organization called LEAD, which has chapters at 51 college campuses, was established at UNC this month for those wanting to figure out who they are and those searching for their niche.

Senior Kate Gray and a group of students took what they learned at Southwestern Advantage, a conference for students, this summer and created the LEAD organization.

LEAD involves goal setting, peer accountability and creating a plan of action in order to achieve student success.

Students meet one-on-one with a LEAD member and reflect on happiness, overcoming fears and what they want in life, and then create a plan to become the person they envision. There is also a weekly general meeting involving all of the club members.

Junior Darby Copeland learned about the organization from a friend and said it’s a tight-knit, community-driven group of people who encourage and support each other when achieving goals and encountering problems.

“One of the really cool things about LEAD is that when you join, it kind of forces you out of your comfort zone,” Copeland said.

He said members of the community are very welcoming.

Freshman Sydney Browder said getting involved in other activities since coming to campus has been a slow process, but LEAD has helped her look at each day differently.

“I think about what I can do to better myself,” Browder said.

She said she now asks herself questions like, “Can I try something new today that I haven’t done before?”

Alison Spannaus, associate director of New Student and Carolina Parent Programs , said any kind of organization where students assist other students is helpful.

“Organizations that thrive the best utilize personal drive for students and also utilize the resources available because those offices are experts in their field,” she said.

Transitioning to college can be difficult, but Spannaus said UNC has an abundance of resources for students, though they are often underutilized.

“There are so many people on campus who are willing to assist students, and if they just ask that can be the gateway to connecting them to the resources they need,” Spannaus said.

She said it’s important for students to note that the college transition is different for everyone and while there may be some similiarities between students, ultimately students must understand the issue is personally unique to them at the time they are going through it.

Gray said the club has a diverse group of members with different beliefs, goals, and career paths. The only requirement to join is the desire to grow as a person.

Gray added that LEAD is a service-minded club because mentors don’t gain anything from it except the satisfaction of helping someone else.

Browder said the hardest aspect of college is doing everything on her own and being completely independent, but LEAD helps her realize her individual potential and create personal goals.

“This club is targeting people who are self-motivated because you have to put in your own effort if you want to get better through the program,” Browder said.

BY JACLYN LEE | PUBLISHED 03/23/14 5:52PM