Community Building through Campus Traditions – A Student Leader Spotlight

We are always meeting student leaders who are going the extra mile to make others feel welcome and build community culture on their campuses. We realized that one great way to learn from each other is to spotlight different students who have made an impact on the lives of their fellow students.

Meet Yolanda Cobblah, a student at Randolph College. She’s a Sociology major and a Davenport Leader of the Davenport Leadership Institute on campus. We asked her about the things she loves on campus and how she gets others involved.

What’s your favorite campus tradition?

My favorite tradition is having the Evens and Odds. I am a bit competitive and this tradition encourages friendly competition among the student body. There are Even and Odd stairs in Main hall and you can only walk up your class stairs. If you go up the other stairs, you won’t graduate. The silly but scary joke makes this tradition even more fun and special. We also have sister classes; for example, my graduating class is 2017 and so my sister class would be 2015. And because we are sister classes, we have special dinners and activities together. It helps us create a bond with the upperclassmen, making the transition into college life easier. It is a way to bond; whether by being in the same sister class or discussing with others who are the opposite class, it gives you something to talk about. And lastly, this tradition makes Randolph unique. There are not that many colleges and universities that do this and it sets us apart from other schools.

What was the first moment you felt you belonged at your school? 

The first time that I felt like I really belonged was when I joined the all girl a cappella group here on campus called Songshine. It was my first year and it was the first social and interactive thing I had done on campus. I love singing and I also enjoyed the RMWC tradition that stood behind it. I was in a group with really amazing girls and we were all from different backgrounds and we had to work together to make beautiful music. It was my first opportunity to learn and tweak my leadership and group skills. Being in this group has allowed me to build really good friendships and I’ve learned what to do and what not to do when working with a group. It’s partially why I tried out other leadership and group activities. 

Have you ever helped someone go from neutral to more engaged?

While working as a Davenport Leader during Freshman Orientation, I had a few students in my group who acted like they were “too cool” to participate. They would do the activities with a nonchalant attitude and they would act like they did not need to really work with the rest of the group. But one thing I learned from my leadership training is that sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone and realize that you can’t always do it by yourself. So when I saw that they were getting less engaged, we would take a break and work on a few exercises in order for the group to get to know each other more and depend on each other more. And after a while, they were becoming more engaged in the activities and they were trusting each other more. Sometimes, I would allow them to make some of the small decisions in the group just to make them realize how well they work together as a team. And even when there were a few activities not as exciting, I would try to make them see the bright side and fun side to them, just to keep their spirits up. By the end of orientation, it seemed all of them were way more involved, some were speaking out more and I believe that they really bonded and trusted each other and me. I live for moments like that.


It’s awesome to have traditions that encourage you to bond with other students. Does your school have events like Yolanda’s?

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