Campus Spotlight: The Office of Leadership & Community Engagement


Jabari Gibbs

Kayla Willharm Graduate Assistant in the Office of Student Activities

This week’s Campus Spotlight will be focusing on the Office of Leadership & Community Engagement. The office specializes in developing students’ leadership capacity and the competencies necessary to lead their respective careers successfully.

The office has various organizations, such as the Student Leadership Institute, the Nick Mamalakis Emerging Leaders program and the Student Leaders Program. These organizations help to cultivate a mission that emphasizes local and travel service opportunities.

Specifically, the Nick Mamalakis Emerging Leaders program is for incoming first-year students and is connected to Southern Leaders, a multi-tiered leadership development program. Tier one is the Nick Mamalakis Emerging Leaders, tier two focuses on teamwork, and tier three is about positive change in the community.

There is also a community engagement side, including Serve 912, a local focus on community projects here in Savannah. Also included is Alternative Breaks which is a travel service. Lastly, the Service Learning organization is included, which connects a classroom and faculty who then identify a specific community need and work on it throughout the academic semester.

Brandi Hoffman, Coordinator of Leadership and Community Engagement for the Office of Leadership & Community Engagement, says that students should consider working for the office as it offers excellent personal development and community engagement.

“You gain those hard skills and soft skills that people speak to. Working with community partners you are essentially in communication with them, you’re building a professional network. You also learn how to be reliable and accountable and just gain those skills that you need to be successful in a career,” Hoffman said.

As students study for their respective fields and grow in their academic careers, internships and experience are necessary. The Office of Leadership & Community Engagement offers that while simultaneously giving students a chance to engage in and improve their community.

If students feel the need to try something new or step outside of their comfort zone, they can enter the office.

“You can just try something new because you don’t know what participating in our programs will provide for you. It might just be a new sparked interest, that you didn’t know you had,” Hoffman said.

Although the office encourages student participation, it may still be unattractive to some, who may have doubts or think that the opportunity is too good to be true. Therefore, Hoffman went into detail about the qualities and skills that she has gained while working for the office.

“To be connected to all the community organizations just opened my eyes to what the Savannah community offers. I have also learned so many things about myself because you cannot teach leadership and not think about who you are; leadership is the truest of yourself. Moreover, I have done a lot of self-reflection, which in turn has led to a lot of personal development”, Hoffman said.

Since the onset of COVID-19, the world has been drastically affected by the virus; the Office of Leadership & Community Engagement is not an exception and has seen significant changes. Although, unlike others, the office has benefited from these changes, with the changes making a positive impact on the future of the office.

“Our Holiday Helper Tree is coming, we never had that here at Armstrong, it used to be done physically in Statesboro but because of COVID we had to put it all online. Now since we have this online platform that COVID pushed us to build, we will continue to expand it,” Hoffman said.

Another change for the office due to COVID-19 is the introduction of its program Alternative Breaks which was mentioned earlier as a part of the office’s community engagement programs. Before COVID-19, the office would do travel services outside of the region, but now they can have it done closer to home for students. Stay breaks are happening on Nov. 13 and Nov. 14.

The office’s primary goal is to essentially focus on the philosophy of servant leadership, which focuses on service to others. For Hoffman, she says this philosophy leads to a particular investigation of values and examination of what leadership means to you.

The opportunities presented by the office leave students with much experiential learning and a lot of community service. The programs foster the idea of being involved and serving your community, which aligns with the goals of the office.

“Students should expect a really exciting spring and calendar of events because we’re ready to dive in,” Hollman said.

Students can access the office by going to the Student Union upstairs in Suite D234, right across from the Savannah Ballroom on the Armstrong campus. Students on the Statesboro campus can access the office in the Russell Union building in room 1056.

Information about employment opportunities is in the office, and anyone interested in any community service can also enter the office.

Students can contact the office by (912) 478-1435 and email

The office is looking towards the spring semester as it approaches, with hopes of increased student engagement.