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Laila Wilson

Major: Playwriting and Screenwriting

Student Leadership Position: Student Chair of POV Festival and Member of the Purchase College Leadership Institute

What the Nominator Had to Say: “Not only was producing this major event a volunteer position, Laila also continued to make time for her role in the PCLI attending all session. Her dedication to her leadership growth and development is truly admirable.”

What is your favorite thing about being involved as a student leader on campus?

“Promoting student collaboration while initiating community amongst different departments was my favorite part about serving as a student leader on campus. Showcasing how dynamic we are when we create together was a highlight of my experience as director and producer of POV Festival. The decision to make the online festival multidisciplinary for the first time allowed students to lend their areas of expertise to contribute to a project that everyone could be incredibly proud of. It was wonderful to see what could be accomplished pairing The School of Art + Design and Film students with Playwriting and Screenwriting students to develop animations from the winning screenplays. Studio Production students worked on audio engineering for the animations, Theatre Arts alumni and current students directed the winning plays, and New Media students were in charge of the event live-streaming. The learning experience for myself and the team was invaluable as we all learned new hard and soft skills along the way while also building a solid network across campus. Many of us are eagerly anticipating our next project together.”

Why did you decide to get involved?

“My one-act play was selected for POV Festival last year, but the production was shut down just before opening night due to COVID-19. Although it was very disheartening, I was glad to have been asked by the department chairs to take the lead on helming POV the following year. Because the festival had to be virtual, I knew I had to challenge myself to present my peer’s work in the most engaging way possible. My main priority was to give the selected writers and filmmakers a positive and memorable experience. When building my proposal for the event, my focus was to implement a mission statement. I believe it is essential to establish a supportive environment that would motivate people to become involved. My priority was to highlight and celebrate my peer’s work, and I wanted that to shine through in the final product.

What is one piece of advice that you have for students who want to become involved on campus?”

“Treat the leadership opportunity as a chance to explore a passion, not as a task. Perspective matters a lot when working on a project, especially when it is a significant undertaking, and can feel very daunting at times. Staying positive and remembering the end goal will help you stay centered and inspire you to finish strong. I would also add that being self-motivated and invested in the project or the position will make your time spent very fulfilling. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself as you will discover and develop new skills you didn’t know you had.”