Ben Morin is making a name for himself as an up-and-coming student leader at Worcester State. A junior Psychology major with a concentration in Mental Health Services and minors in Addictions Counseling and Ethnic Studies, Ben is adding to his mental health advocacy work this year as President of Active Minds, a student organization that aims to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness while also increasing awareness about mental health on campus. Originally from New Braintree, MA, Ben is also a member of the WSU Cross Country Team and CLEWS.
How do you think you’ve changed as a leader throughout your time at WSU, and what aspects of your experience most influenced this change?
“I think the biggest change I’ve had as a leader was learning more about what being a leader means and the thought and care that goes into that. Going to events like the Leadership Symposium really helped me recognize that there were so many things to learn and improve upon in my role as a leader and that applying the things you learn takes patience, practice, trial and error and commitment to see that change really take place.”
What is the biggest lesson you learned when it comes to leadership?
“The biggest lesson I learned with leadership is that a good leader really isn’t someone who directs other people to do something – I learned that a good leader is someone who instead empowers others to be able to do the things they want to.”
What is your definition of a great leader?
“A great leader is someone who is themselves and inspires others to be themselves too, united in a common goal of some kind, pushing each other to be the best they can be along the way.”
What do you feel is one of the biggest misconceptions of what makes a good leader?
“I feel as though one of the biggest misconceptions of what makes a good leader is probably prior experience. I think a lot of people assume that leaders on campus just have always been so good at what they do and I think it’s important to realize that everybody starts out at square one! Anybody can be a leader if they put their mind to it.”
What would you say was your best experience here at WSU?
“There are too many to count – Many great experiences with friends in Dowden hall, going to Root & Press with friends, going to various events on campus, running at Regionals with the XC team, Fresh Check Day, Campus Clean Up day, CLEWS events, my classes – honestly all these things pale in comparison to a meal at the Pod with my friends though.”
What was your most meaningful experience while at WSU?
“It’s tough to pick my most meaningful experience at WSU – I’ve certainly had many opportunities to be around people that helped me learn a lot about the world – I’d say that my most meaningful experiences had to be interacting with the men from the Hector Reyes house through the events I did with the CLEWS organization. Hector Reyes house is a rehab home of sorts for men who are recovering addicts. A good portion of these men were previously incarcerated as well. Hearing these men tell their stories and interacting with some of them just really made a big impact on me. Additionally, there was a CLEWS speaker who was a former prostitute who spoke about her struggles and trauma that also was extremely eye-opening to me. Lastly, TWA’s Poetry Slam last spring was also a very meaningful experience to be an observer for.”
What are your current plans for the next few years?
“After undergrad, I’ll probably take a year or so off from school to get a full-time job in the mental health/social work field, and then maybe go to graduate school for school psychology at WSU, or other Masters’ programs like a masters in social work or maybe even social psychology. That’s the plan anyways, maybe I’ll try to do some sort of small travel trip too.”
What advice would you give to students who are just beginning to explore the type of leader, or the type of person, they hope to become?
“I would say that even if trying to figure out who you are or who you want to be seems like a daunting or intimidating task at first, remember to have patience and not to put too much pressure on yourself! I would say just be yourself and focus on trying to do your best at whatever it is you want to do.”
We want to thank Ben for taking the time to answer our questions!
Interview written by Kristie McNamara, Director, Office of Student Involvement & Leadership Development.