The National Society of Leadership and Success has opened a chapter at Lane, their first at a community college. NSLS started the term with over 50 new members and will be looking to grow in the coming weeks and months.
The society was brought to Lane by executive dean of student affairs, Kerry Levett. Students who demonstrate leadership skills or who are engaged in extracurricular activities are more transferable and employable according to Levett, who saw NSLS as a means to develop those skills in Lane students.
LCC has received a grant of $2,800 that NSLS offers to first year start up programs, which pays the first year dues for the Lane chapter. Since the first year was free and because renewal for a second year is not required, Levett decided to try out the program.
NSLS, unlike other honor societies, allows institutions to set their own membership requirements. For example, a student may not need a 3.5 GPA which may be required by other honor societies. “The honor in this honor society, is you’re honoring your commitment to be a leader,” Levett said. “If you’re a 2.0 student and you’re a leader, that’s fine.”
There are a number of benefits and services for students, including scholarships, job bank access, personalized letters of recommendation, guest speaker events, social events and more.
When joining, a student pays an $85 basic membership fee. For every student who joins, the hosting college receives $5 of the fee. The local chapter decides how to use the money. Some use the funds for scholarships while others may use it to support projects and special activities. The remainder of the membership fee goes to supporting benefits for the students.
To move from being a basic member to an inducted member the student must demonstrate their commitment to leadership. Students often join a club or honor society because it looks good on their resume. With NSLS, students do not receive full membership until showing their commitment toward leadership through attending an orientation, the leadership training day, attending three speaker broadcasts and three success networking team meetings.
Members participate in social activities, service projects, leadership skill building and work on collaborative projects with other groups such as ASLCC or Phi Theta Kappa. “It’s not about looking good on your resume, it’s about taking action,” Levett said.
The Lane chapter’s long-term goal is to create non-credit and credit certificates for their members. “The real goal is to equip students to be leaders at Lane, but also in their community,” Levett said.
NSLS’s startup strategy has been to send out membership invitations to new students as well as inviting students who have been referred to them as potentially good leaders. Getting new students involved early is crucial for the organization and in helping to develop their leadership capacity. “In community colleges more so than in four year colleges, we have to raise up leaders very quickly,” Levett said. “We don’t have two years to develop leaders, we have a couple weeks.”