SEASIDE, Calif. - - When you walk into the domain of the former CIA Director and the Secretary of Defense during the current administration, it's hard not to be awed when you look at the walls with pictures and proclamations. Couple that with the excitement of student body leaders from all the Cal State campuses for a leadership seminar, you can feel the buzz in the room, especially when Mr. Panetta speaks.
The Panetta Institute for Public Policy is a unique learning experience for college students. The 15th annual student leadership seminar for student body officers is underway at CSUMB. Student body president Ian Olden is thoroughly enthused, "You have the opportunity to speak to the former Secretary of Defense and the CIA Director, there is just no way that that is not really cool."
Students at CSUMB are being taught to be the leaders of tomorrow. Leon Panetta says they're special, "We always felt that by virtue of the fact that they were student body officers, that they had something in them that interest them about public life."
Tuesday's lesson is from Jim Mayer at California Forward. He says he's excited to be brought into the conversation, "What I bring is California's Forward's non-partisan vision on how we need to improve how we govern ourselves and make this a great place to live and work."
And Ian Olden is right where he wants to be, "You get to learn so much about compromise and legislation and it gives you insight into that you're doing more than just talking about making a difference, you're learning how to make a difference."
Some of the leaders addressing these students during the leadership seminar are the Chief Counsel for the California of the Judiciary Committee. Drew Liebert, local mayors Joe Gunter of Salinas and Jason Burnett of Carmel-by-the-Sea and the commanding crew for the USS Milwaukee.