Date of Graduation

Spring 5-27-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Organization and Leadership (O&L)


School of Education



First Advisor

Dr. Alexander Porter Macmillan

Second Advisor

Dr. Darrick Smith


The purpose of this paper is to examine attitudes, beliefs, and feelings of student government leaders at a large West Coast research University where they enjoy a high level of autonomy in decision making and how the ability to be a partner in institutional transformation translates to personal and professional leadership development. Interviews were conducted with a number of individuals who served as campus-wide elected officials who represented the undergraduate student body. The interview participants talked about their experiences with faculty, staff, and administrators while involved in student government.

Results showed that when given access to information and considered on equal footing with campus personnel, students are able to develop leadership skills and strategies that benefit them in their post-undergraduate lives. Being able to influence academic and commercial decisions gave these interview subjects confidence, experience, and understanding of decisions in higher education and how those decisions impacted other stakeholders.