Auburn - Alpha Epsilon
10 February by Alex Pena-Garcia
By Alex Pena-Garcia, Auburn ’13
I’ve had incredible opportunities to be involved with many organizations throughout my time at Auburn University, but there are two that have specifically impacted me the most — serving as president of the Freshman Leadership Program and volunteering in the Cancer Center at the East Alabama Medical Center.
FLP is an organization comprised of an executive staff and nine groups. Each group has a director, three assistant directors, 45 freshmen, and a large-scale focus or philanthropy. The purpose of FLP is to instill the value of leadership in freshmen by focusing on individual development and team building. It has given me the opportunity to personally mentor over 90 students as a director and assistant director, and indirectly impact more than 400 more during my time as president.
The relationships I have built with my groups have become something I cherish. I attribute almost half of what I have learned throughout my time as a student to FLP. I have grown in so many areas such as adapting, communicating, serving as a role model, organizational skills, teamwork, listening, and responsibility. My goal has always been to use my position to benefit the freshmen in my groups, and make a difference in their lives. Teaching them from my experiences and helping them in school or personal issues has truly been a transformative opportunity. Watching these students grow as leaders, and continue to impact others is very rewarding to see. I’ve had many students tell me that I impacted them in a positive way, and I could not ask for a greater experience.
Volunteering in the Cancer Center at the East Alabama Medical Center has given me the opportunity to give back to the Auburn community outside of the university. I can sense I am making a positive impact by making the patients’ experiences much more bearable. This experience has taught me the meaning and importance of empathy.
The reason that I got involved with these and many more organizations in the first place is because of ATO. My chapter has always prided itself on high standards of excellence in academics and involvement. I will be attending medical school starting this fall. Thanks to my brothers that encouraged me to get involved from day one, I participated in these opportunities that ended up giving me tools I need to be successful in the next stage of my life. Joining ATO ended up being the best decision I could’ve made.