Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Endicott Graduate Combines Hospitality and Presidency

By Jesse Poole
Gordon College News Service
(This story appeared Sunday, May 22, 2011, in a series for the Boston Globe North print and online editions.)


BEVERLY, MA- When Annie Bolton, 21, travelled to Phenix City, Alabama, this past spring break to help build homes with Habitat for Humanity, she dreamed of a career in nonprofit work. Instead, the Endicott College student body president—who graduated yesterday—knows she might need to refocus her professional goals in light of the current economic situation. 

Even so, Bolton is confident that her leadership experiences in college as well as her volunteer work uniquely prepared her for a step towards the corporate world.

Bolton, originally from Belgrade Lakes, Maine, served as class officer for three years on Endicott’s Student Government Association (SGA), but she knew she wanted to contribute more.

Not only did Bolton help make Endicott a more hospitable place, she majored in it, declaring her major, Hospitality Management with a concentration in events management. Her course work came in handy when she decided to run for the top SGA position.

“I wanted to be president in order to make the biggest impact possible on SGA and the Endicott community,” said Bolton. She set goals to improve communication with staff, faculty and administration, gain more involvement from other students on campus, and implement new ideas. “Each furthered SGA’s roles and responsibilities,” she said.
Bolton helped create new committees for increased collaboration, interaction and involvement. She met with other college student governments on the North Shore to discuss collaborative efforts, and also helped create “seed money,” an extra fund for clubs. The 20 or so clubs that were approved received $250 each. She guided SGA to revamp an activities newsletter into the Clubs and Organizations Newsletter and made it more accessible, so that students know what clubs are doing and what is offered at Endicott.

Most of all Bolton wanted to bridge the gap between students and administration. One of the first things she did was conduct a forum in which students could raise questions for her and Endicott’s president, Dr. Richard E. Wylie.

“One of the greatest struggles in college is finding [student] leaders who are interested in leading in student government,” said Wylie. “People who take the time and set agendas, but Annie’s one of these unique people.”

Bolton explained that at Endicott, ideas and proposals had often been brought up but rarely followed through to completion. She hopes that as a result of this year’s SGA work, students in the future will create proposals and follow through with them.

“Annie’s calm [demeanor] comes across as focused and conscientious,” said Brendan Cronin, operations manager and assistant professor of hospitality management at Endicott and one of Bolton’s professors. “Nothing seems to phase her, and the business world admires that trait.”

Cronin said that Bolton is inclusive and looks for consensual leadership. “This is definitely a strong attribute of leadership,” he said.

Although Cronin and many others see Bolton as a natural leader, she didn’t always view herself as a leader. Before college she was an athlete, participating in ice and field hockey.

But Bolton’s long-time friend, Hilary Curtis, 22, who was involved in their high school’s student government, inspired her to be a part of Endicott’s SGA. From Curtis, Bolton saw the benefits of leadership. Though the two went to different colleges, they remained supportive of each other’s campus contributions.

“Hilary and I discussed the importance of being involved in our schools,” said Bolton.

Curtis, a health sciences major at Stonehill College in Easton, MA, also graduated May 21. During her college career, she became a cross-country and soccer athlete while Bolton took on student government.

Curtis, who also enjoys volunteering and works with the organization My Brother’s Keeper, said Bolton definitely leads by example. “I’m impressed,” she said. “Every time I talk with her she’s more involved and always starting another project.”

“Annie allows the people around her to figure out where they fit in leadership,” said Curtis. “She’s supportive of her peers and very encouraging.”

Wylie said that Bolton has a passion for Endicott and improving the quality of the student’s experiences. “And she’s an energetic leader,” he said.

While at Endicott, Bolton studied abroad twice, one semester in ­­­­Leeds, England, and a January term in Madrid, Spain. “I’d like to work internationally later in life,” said Bolton. “I feel there’s a lot to be learned abroad.”

As president, Bolton also drafted a slew of proposals, many of which take effect in the next school year. The “Fun Fund proposal” will give SGA more overseeing and monetary responsibility and for parties and off-campus events. Until then, what does Bolton hope she’s left behind?

“The idea of empowerment,” she said. “The utilization of recourses, and the importance of teamwork.”

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