The University of Indianapolis recently launched its own chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success.
The head of the program is Assistant Dean of Students Joe Thomas, and working with him is the student president of the society sophomore psychology major Brittany Finigan.
According to the society’s website at www.societyleadership.org, the society is devoted to helping people discover and achieve their goals. UIndy started its own chapter to have a more official way to help build leadership skills.
“I think [the chapter was started] mostly because we wanted more formal ways to not only grow our leadership programs, but student leadership skills,” Thomas said. “We started a leadership certificate program last semester that was built internally, and then we stumbled across this society that really does a lot of the same [things] in a more formalized way with extra benefits. So we applied for a grant through them to get the society started and got it. This is our first semester.”
Thomas hopes that bringing this organization to UIndy’s campus will help students not only grow in their leadership skills, but also put those skills to use in the student organizations in which they are involved.
“I think the primary goal of the program is to help us build a formal kind of stair-step process to develop leadership skills in a student,” Thomas said. “So as a sophomore, maybe you go through the National Society of Leadership and Success. And then as a junior, you get more involved in your student organization and take a leadership role, do the leadership certificate program that we just offered and then progress upwards. It’s just a natural track. What we’re finding is that the society has attracted students who don’t typically get involved in the regular stuff. So I think it’s opened up avenues for students who wouldn’t necessarily go out and sign up for something that’s already here.”
Thomas wants being a part of the society to be something that students strive to attain. As a sophomore or junior, depending on a student’s academic standing with the university, the students will be invited to join the society. If the student decides to join, then he or she has a list of requirements that must be completed before being inducted.
“When you get an invitation, you pay to become a member of the society, but then you have to do 12 hours of requirements, including orientation,” Thomas said. “There’s a leadership training day. There are three different speakers that you have to attend. And you’re assigned a success networking team, or what’s called an SNT. … That’s where our current students get together and work towards goals and hold each other accountable. And then you’re inducted. So all together, it’s about a 12-hour commitment throughout the semester before you actually become a member.”
According to Thomas, once they become members, students can take advantage of benefits within the society. For example, students can receive scholarships and awards directly through the society.
The society also offers resume reviews and will write personalized recommendation letters. After being inducted, there are no requirements that need to be met. Students decide how involved they want to be once they have been inducted.
Prior to having the society as a part of UIndy’s campus, students could, and still can, participate in the Leadership Certificate Program.
Finigan said that her leadership experience began there.
“That [being a part of the Leadership Certificate Program] was a huge boost for me to build up my confidence to speak out about an issue,” Finigan said.
The society’s inaugural induction will take place on Dec. 12.