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Building Leaders Who Make a Better World

In September 2013, then senior Chelsea Naglic created Juniata’s chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS), the nation’s largest leadership honor society. The mission of NSLS is to “build leaders who make a better world.” Since I was a sophomore in good academic standing at the time, I received an invitation to join the society. I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical at first, especially since NSLS requires an $85 membership fee. After doing some of my own research and talking with other students on campus, I decided that the membership fee would be money well-spent.

To become inducted into the society, students must first attend orientation, which provides a schedule of events for the semester. In addition to orientation, nominated students must also attend Leadership Training Day, which helps students to identify their true passions and leadership styles. Additionally, students must attend three speaker broadcasts throughout the semester and participate in Success Networking Teams, in which students gather to discuss their future goals. Finally, Juniata College holds an induction ceremony each spring for everyone who completes the necessary steps.

We’ve all heard the saying, “It is what you make of it.” Sure, you could easily go through the motions and become inducted into the society, or you could go one step further to make the experience truly worthwhile.

I chose the latter option. After becoming inducted, I decided to apply for the Better World Grant—one of the many grants and scholarships that are offered to inducted members. I spent most of my spring semester developing a proposal to build a raised garden in a rural community in the Dominican Republic. Thankfully, my hard work paid off, and I was awarded $4,000 to begin my project.

The finished garden at Centro Cultural Guanin in the Dominican Republic.

In January 2015, I traveled to the Dominican Republic with 16 other students on Juniata’s Cultural Learning Tour. We built the garden alongside community members and have been able to watch it thrive over the past year. Instead of relying on government funding for food, the community members can now produce their own fruits and vegetables.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without funding from NSLS. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity, and I highly encourage all nominated students to apply for membership. Currently, NSLS has 537,370 members at 490 colleges nationwide. In just two short years, Juniata has inducted 263 of its own members. As a member of NSLS, you will be joining a large network of alumni and peers across the nation, and who knows, you might even be able to make the world a better place.

Kirstin McKenzie (right) and I (left) at the 2015 NSLS Induction Ceremony

To learn more about NSLS, please contact the chapter’s president, Kirstin McKenzie, at mckenkx09@juniata.edu. Also, be on the lookout for Juniata’s third annual Glow Run, which is set to take place in the spring!