When people imagine a leader, they don’t usually think of the quiet person in the room. But Jason Walko, a junior marketing major with a communication minor, knows what it is like to overcome shyness and become a leader. Walko is the chairperson of the Activities Programming Board (APB), a position equivalent to president.
“Being a team leader and, especially, being chairperson required me to think quickly and solve problems ASAP […] It also has made me more confident,” Walko said. “I have always been very quiet and shy. Now, it is easier for me to speak up and make sure my voice is heard.”
Deanna Wicks, director of Campus Life and supervisor for APB, said that she has watched Walko grow into a strong leader.
“When I first met Jason, he was a first-year student who was finding his place and family on campus. He found APB and hasn’t looked back,” Wicks said.
Walko said that his favorite thing about Saint Vincent College is the sense of community. According to Wicks, Walko’s dedication to community allows him to excel on APB.
“Jason possesses a great love of student activities and a drive to create community on campus,” Wick said. “He is great at finding ways to give back to his fellow students.”
Besides working on APB, Walko founded the SVC Writer’s Club in the fall of 2018. The club provides a space for students to read and critique each other’s writing.
“It's a super-positive environment and I'd encourage anyone who likes writing to join,” Walko said
According to Walko, founding the Writer’s Club is the most important thing he has done at Saint Vincent. Before he founded the club, students did not have a place to share creative writing.
Walko said that the Writer’s Club has had a positive impact on Saint Vincent.
“It brings me so much happiness to see people come to the meetings, laugh and joke with each other, and share their stories with one another,” Walko said. “As a writer myself, I know that sharing something you wrote is a very brave thing to do, and the participation we've seen so far says a lot about the environment that the club has created.”
Walko’s passion for writing led him to accomplish a huge personal goal: completing an 80,000-word first draft of novel.
“Most of it, I'm sure, is absolute garbage,” Walko said. “But I had been working on the draft for three years, and just writing the words "The End" felt so surreal because I never thought I'd accomplish it.”
Since then, Walko has been revising the draft, and hopes to get the novel or another published someday. Whatever happens, the skills Walko has developed in APB combined with a passion for writing have laid the groundwork.