National Society of Leadership and Success Chapter Launched on Campus

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Oglethorpe chapter President Barry Rowan ’14

In the Spring 2014 semester, Oglethorpe University welcomed the newest chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success, Sigma Alpha Pi. The society is dedicated to helping in its members’ personal growth and development and community development and leadership. In the society’s words, “We Build Leaders Who Make A Better World.”

According to President Barry Rowan ’14, the initial goals of the chapter include establishing a leadership success networking group that can define the personal, professional, and academic goals for members, and providing a network of support in achieving those goals.

Since 2001, Sigma Alpha Pi has sought out academic leaders who are dedicated to community action, volunteerism, and exemplary leadership within their university and society. Sigma Alpha Pi doesn’t have a professional majority within its constituency, but rather focuses on encouraging fraternization amongst students of various academic and social backgrounds.

National Society of Leadership - Sigma Alpha PiTo become a member, there are four main steps in the semester-long process: (1) Students must attend orientation. Orientation allows students to get to know their executive board members, while also giving students the opportunity to learn more about the central tenets of the society. (2) Students must participate in Leadership Training Day, a seminar on how to become leaders within social groups. (3) Students must attend at least three of the live broadcasts regularly given by the National Office. (4) Finally, students are randomly selected and grouped into Success Networking Teams to provide students with peer leaders with whom to bounce off ideas and set personal goals.

In addition to President Barry Rowan ’14, the inaugural members of the executive board are Vice President Donald Warden ’16, Secretary Luise Hessing ’16, Treasurer Matthew Roberson ’16, and Success Networking Teams Coordinator Ty Murphy ’16. Dr. Danny Glassmann, associate dean of students and director of residence life, advises the society.

Sigma Alpha Pi has been enthusiastically received on campus and currently there are 120 members working towards induction, with some having already met the requirements. The expected induction date for the newest society members is set for late April 2014.

Gates Millennium Scholar Selects Oglethorpe

009Oglethorpe freshman Lila Siwakoti ’17 says that he’s thankful for many things. He should also be very proud of his accomplishments.

Lila was born in a refugee camp in Nepal and immigrated to the U.S. in 2009, thanks to a sponsorship from the International Rescue Committee. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the nonprofit responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster.

“Refugee life is not like a regular life,” says Lila. “You live at home in fear. You have food and medical shortages.” Adapting to a foreign culture and language was rough for him, he says. But over time, Lila and his family settled in to life in the U.S. and he says he is thankful to live here. Lila eventually became fluent enough in English to take AP and Honors classes and credits his religion, Hinduism, with helping him do well in school.

Gates-Millennium-Scholars-logoSo well, in fact, that Lila was awarded a Gates Millennium Scholarship, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The scholarship is awarded to outstanding minority students with significant financial need. This year’s applicant pool for the scholarship was record-breaking, according to Lila. More than 54,000 students applied but only 1,000 are selected each year. To put this into perspective, less than 2% of applicants were accepted this year.

To qualify, students must demonstrate leadership abilities and academic distinction. They must also have two nominations for the scholarship—one for academics and one recommending the student for their leadership qualities. Lila graduated with a 3.9 GPA from Clarkston High School and actively participated in his community through volunteer work.

Lila chose to attend Oglethorpe because of Oglethorpe’s small class sizes. He likes the fact that you are able to visit professors during office hours and they know who you are rather than be a nameless member of the class. Plus, his family is important to him and the campus’s proximity allows him to remain close to them. He considers the scholarship a “blessing” and is currently deliberating on majoring in computer science and minoring in economics.

As part of the scholarship requirements, Lila participates as an ambassador for the Gates Millenium Scholarship program and is currently helping students from his alma mater with the application process. Ultimately, Lila wants to go back to Nepal or Africa and volunteer: “My long term goal is to help people.”

OU Freshman Doubles as Advice Columnist

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Advice columnist Curtis Jones lounges in the Starbucks in Oglethorpe’s Turner Lynch Campus Center.

At first glance, Curtis Jones ’17 seems fairly typical amidst the throng of students in the campus Starbucks. You’d never guess that he has a “secret identity”: Curtis is an advice columnist for metro Atlanta teens.

The Oglethorpe freshman writes for Vox, a nonprofit teen magazine based in Atlanta that is “the voice of Atlanta teens.” It’s the city’s largest publication created by and for teens without censorship. The magazine is distributed to high schools and community groups. Vox also offers a blog, an after school program, and summer seminars for students interested in learning how to cover “new multimedia techniques for storytelling, the fundamentals of journalism, poetry, photography and design.

According to Curtis, he stumbled into his writing position when he was a high school senior. He had dropped by Vox’s office with friends already involved in the magazine and discovered that the Vox volunteers and students were “welcoming and friendly,” so he immediately asked how he could get involved.

VoxCurtis had always been interested in writing music and lyrics but has discovered that he also enjoys the kind of writing he gets to do for Vox. He worked his way up and took over the advice column at the end of the summer of 2013. The questions he answers tend to be staff-generated, but students are also encouraged to submit questions to the editor. The questions can range anywhere from academics to even more personal questions regarding relationships.

Curtis’ community involvement already extends to Oglethorpe as well. On campus, he’s active with the Black Student Caucus and OUtlet and is interested in joining the staff of the student newspaper, The Stormy Petrel. He hasn’t yet decided on a major, but is debating between communications or fields like counseling or social work. “I just want to help people,” he says,”That’s something that I’ve always known that I get joy out of.”

Ultimately, he chose to attend Oglethorpe for multiple reasons. Curtis says he “fell in love” with the campus itself during Admitted Students Day, plus the diversity of the campus was a determining factor. “It’s really big to me to be able to interact with so many different people.”

Curtis is a positive and determined student who by all indications will be a future campus leader.  Check out Curtis and his VOX colleague Akil singing about why “VOX rocks”:

Omicron Delta Kappa Recognizes Scholarship & Leadership

ODK Large LogoOmicron Delta Kappa is a national leadership honor society that recognizes, what I would like to call the “crème de la crème” of Oglethorpe students, faculty, staff, and honoris causa members. ODK was founded on December 3, 1914 at Washington and Lee University in Lexington,Va. and has been expanding ever since.

Membership in the society is an honor awarded to students of junior and senior status who place in the top 35% of their class. In addition to exceptional scholarship, potential members must be a leader in at least one of the five main phases of college life: athletics, campus or community service, scholarship, social and religious activities and campus government; journalism, speech, and the mass media, and creative and performing arts.

Brittney Blalock '14, ODK President

Brittney Blalock ’14, ODK President

Last December, multiple new members were initiated during the annual Boar’s Head Ceremony, including: Tirzah Brown ’14, Kirsten Glaeser ’14, Kendall Burke ’13, Krista Gray ’14, Jeet Budha Magar ’13, Marisa Manuel ’13, Justin Munson ’14, Corey Ray ’14, Caitlyn Mitchell ’13, Lindsey Mitchell ’13, Kate Siess ’14, alumnus Eli Arnold ’06, board members Arnie Sidman and Jim Hagalow, faculty member Dr. Mario Chandler, and staff member Katie Paden.

Each year, O∆K sponsors five main events: Geek Week, a plant fundraiser, the Boar’s Head Ceremony, a leadership workshop, and the Last Lecture. For those of you who are Oglethorpe veterans, you are very familiar with these O∆K traditions. For those of you who aren’t, just give it some time. You will see the flyers soon enough.

Ali Hadd_s

Alexandria Ree Hadd ’13, pictured with President Schall at the 2013 Commencement, was among only 20 students nationwide who were awarded a 2013 O∆K Foundation Scholarship. From Fort Myers, Fla., Ali double majored in Psychology and Mathematics. She was active on campus, serving as an R.A. and active in O∆K, APO and Psi Chi. Ali is now pursuing her Ph.D. in Quantitative Psychology at Vanderbilt University.

As O∆K’s newly elected president, I am looking forward to the Boar’s Head Ceremony the most. Between my love for the Christmas season and O∆K itself, the ceremony has proven to be one of my favorite experiences at OU. Last but not least, be sure to mark your calendars! The annual plant fundraiser will be held in the new Turner Lynch Campus Center on Tuesday, September 3 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Please be sure to stop by and support O∆K.

If you are a junior or senior and believe that you have what it takes to be a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, applications are now available. I encourage everyone to apply! If you are interested in O∆K and would like more information, you may contact me, Kendra Hunter, or Dr. John Nardo. O∆K is not only an honor but a wonderful opportunity that will allow you to advance your leadership abilities in ways that you would never imagine.

Applications are due by September 13, 2013.