SJSU Student Visits the Panetta Institute

By Tomasz Kolodziejak, Associated Students President

This summer I took part of Panetta Institute Summer Leadership Program. I joined fellow leaders at the Panetta Institute’s 11th Annual Student Leadership Seminar.

AS President Tomasz Kolodziejak with Panetta Institute founder Leon Panetta.

AS President Tomasz Kolodziejak with Panetta Institute founder Leon Panetta.

It was a remarkable experience to be among 27 other student leaders from throughout the California State University system, Dominican University, Saint Mary’s College and Santa Clara University for weeklong workshops and panel discussions designed to sharpen our leadership skills and improve our understanding of government policy.

Speakers included California Secretary of State Bruce McPherson, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and Mayor of San Jose Norm Mineta, former NFL player and coach Herm Edwards, local civic, military leaders, government officials and community activists. Total of forty seven motivating leaders lectured and shared their insights about the responsibilities of a good leader.

During the summer seminar, I also had the opportunity to meet and interact with Leon and Sylvia Panetta founders of the Institute. They jointly directed the institute until the beginning of 2009 when Leon Panetta returned to government service as the current Director of Central Intelligence Agency.

This seminar conveyed a message that public duty offers a lot of great opportunities and is essential for the well being of our democracy. Leon and Sylvia are the greatest example of educating the future generations about the importance of public service. It was very inspirational to be able to meet Mr. Panetta, who dedicated his life serving public policy. Panetta served as President Bill Clinton’s White House Chief of Staff and a member of United States House of Representatives for over two decades. (26 years) Politician, lawyer and professor proved that one can do so much for the community in a life time.

AS President Tomasz Kolodziejak with Panetta Institute co-founder.

AS President Tomasz Kolodziejak with Panetta Institute co-founder.

As a business administration major and the new President of the Associated Students Inc hearing the speakers was an inspiring and invaluable experience for me, and it will certainly enhance my term at Associated Students. I came back with a head full of ideas and a paper ream of notes.

I am very motivated and promise to always hold true to the ideals of integrity, consensus and enthusiasm (it is my motto.) I also returned with many invaluable contacts and insights from top leaders in the country, which made my summer unforgettable.