Issue 390: 8 / 29 / 2011

The Southwest Student Leadership Institute Recharges

Members of the SLI Inner ...

Members of the SLI Inner Circle are (L to R) Willie Clark, Nikita Ashford, Vanessa Dowdy, and Phoenix Worthy.

Submitted by the Inner Circle

For over three years, there has been a grass root campaign taking place at Southwest in Student Life called the Student Leadership Institute (SLI). The Office of Recruitment and the Office of Student Activities combined efforts to create the SLI. The Institute focuses on time management, identifying leadership styles and making a personal change in students’ personal, professional and community life. This year with direction from the Southwest Foundation, the SLI secured a grant from CIGNA Healthcare to fund a three-day training retreat, July 28-31.

During that weekend, seven facilitators and two SLI alumni emerged on Paris Landing State Park in Buchanan, Tennessee, with enthusiasm and vigor. The atmosphere was charged - from the bus ride, to the scavenger hunt, to four hours of class; and this was just Thursday afternoon (July 28). That night, four hours of leadership classes were conducted from the books, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and 9 Things a Leader Must Do. Eight essays from four classes were due by 1p.m. the following day, July 29. That evening, the returning students (Tier II) made presentations. Afterwards, Director of Recruitment Vanessa Dowdy facilitated a session called “Break Through to Reach Your Goals.” In this session,  students had to write a goal on one side of a block of wood and on the other side the barrier that hindered them from achieving that goal. To get through to the goal, the students had to break the block of wood with their bare hands. They used a special board chopping technique and no one was hurt. Everyone symbolically broke through their barrier.

To get Saturday morning, July 30, started, Dr. Carol Tosh, vice president of Student Services and Enrollment Management inspired the audience with words of wisdom regarding leadership. The momentum and excitement was sustained as the Ambassadors went through recruitment training. Professor of Paralegal Studies Patricia Nozinic’s presented Robert‘s Rule of Order. After lunch, special sessions were held by the College’s various student organizations and clubs.

A Leadership Certification Ceremony was also held in which 12 students were certified. There were 33 Tier I (first-year attending the Institute) and 6 Tier II (returning students). To become certified, students are required to score five points in the following categories: active participation, attendance, professionalism, communication skills and eight essays. “The low number of certifications earned verifies the need for providing this type of program,” the sponsors said. “Time management was a huge issue in completing the essays. Moreover, self-esteem in writing the essays was another issue. Nevertheless, this is the reason the SLI is here and will continue because we are in the business of improving our young adults via informal learning settings,“ said the sponsors.

Special kudos is extended to the ITS Department for sending a technician to set-up a computer lab for students to type their essays.

Club advisors are encouraged to nominate someone from their organizations to attend next year’s SLI. Their lives will be forever altered.

* The Inner Circle is comprised of Willie Clark, Phoenix Worthy, Vanessa Dowdy and Nikita Ashford.

View the Student Leadership Institute Photo Gallery.