Statement about Sec DeVos Title IX Announcement

Statement on Announcement About Federal Title IX Enforcement

Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced her intention to rescind and use a public comment process to rewrite the Obama Administration’s policies and guidance on Title IX enforcement. A 2011 Dear Colleague Letter and subsequent guidance from the U.S. Department of Education reshaped how colleges and universities understand and implement their obligation to prevent gender-based discrimination under Title IX. Under current policy, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) opened more than 300 investigations into potential institutional failures to properly protect students’ rights under Title IX. While campus sexual assault is significantly under-reported, national and institutional studies consistently find that roughly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men experience sexual assault during their time as undergraduates. LGBT students and students of color are at greater risk.   

Andy MacCracken, NCLC Executive Director and Cofounder, issued the following statement:

“I believe survivors. NCLC believes survivors.

Secretary DeVos’s remarks were based on the common myth that there is an epidemic of false accusations of sexual assault. There is not. Every study shows that false sexual assault reports are as rare as every other violent crime category. Suggesting otherwise is wildly irresponsible.

I agree with the Secretary that we must ensure effective and fair campus proceedings, and that’s exactly why we should build on the Obama Administration’s guidelines rather than start over. The guidelines pursue consistency, fidelity, and transparency at every institution and include thorough implementation suggestions using evidence-based best practices. If institutions follow them well, students know what to expect from the process. Higher education is slow to change. Without pressure from OCR, students--especially survivors--are left with the full burden of improving proceedings and policy campus by campus.

As we move into a new academic year, uncertainty about the future of federal policy is dangerous. Title IX is still the law, and institutions are obligated to implement best practices to prevent sexual assault and hold perpetrators accountable.

I urge all student leaders to participate in the public comments process Secretary DeVos announced and redouble efforts to improve campus policy and culture. NCLC will work closely with our student leaders to ensure their input and voices are heard by policymakers and federal leadership.”


Statement about Charlottesville events

On behalf of the National Campus Leadership Council, NCLC's Executive Director Andy MacCracken released the following statement:

"Student body presidents from around the country released a joint statement today condemning the acts of hate and violence by White supremacists in Charlottesville, VA, this weekend. NCLC reaffirms the statement and strongly encourages all student body leaders to join in and amplify that much-needed solidarity. What we are seeing is not normal. We must rebuild the broken national discourse, and we must all urgently rise to do what is required of us to start that process in our own campus communities and beyond. As we move into a new academic year, NCLC will do its part to stand with and support students leading these efforts nationwide, campus by campus."

 


NCLC announces Campus Impact Conference

Since 2012, NCLC has connected and trained thousands of student leaders. Our Presidential Leadership Summit has attracted student body presidents from nearly all fifty states.

Today, we’re launching the Campus Impact Conference--or CampusCon for short--to help student leaders at every level build a better campus.

We created this conference to equip your organization’s cabinet with serious training to make your term a resounding success. Designed for student government teams and student leaders from any campus organization, CampusCon will feature engaging speakers, rich educational content, and opportunity to create lasting partnerships and friendships.

Join us in Denver this fall to develop networks, gain expertise, and create a plan for action.

October 20-22, 2017

Denver, Colorado

$339 per student

Early rates end August 15th

Browse our website here to learn more — and as always, don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions. We can’t wait to see you!

 


Presidential Profile: Kendall Antle, Grand View University

What issues did you run on last year? Are there any projects that you plan on spending your time on during the summer in preparation for the start of the academic year?

Seeking reelection for a second term, my Vice President and I campaigned on a few objectives: continue eliciting on-campus interaction; continue our campus enhancement initiatives; expand the role of student government; and provide optimal transparency and outreach.   

Our executive board has spent the summer diligently crafting and preparing action plans to effectively execute the aforementioned campaign platform.  At the forefront is the establishment of five student-led subcommittees to our executive board.  Our student body does not have a student senate; instead, our student body has two elected representatives and six appointed members – amounting to eight executive board members.  This initiative is the underlying foundation of expanding the role of government by engaging students in the capacity to represent the student body.  It is my hope that through this initiative, a student senate will transpire in the future.  

Additional initiatives not mentioned in the campaign platform are “dead week” reform and sponsoring an abroad academic summer program.  As for “dead week” reform, I have hosted numerous conversations on this topic.  Students inform me that the current system is not conducive to optimal performance during finals week and that their letter grade may not accurately reflect learning and retention.  As for our sponsored abroad academic summer program, I will continue efforts to provide an opportunity for members of our student body to become immersed abroad in a foreign culture.  The intent is to provide global awareness and vocational outcomes to students through educational studies and service opportunities.

Are you proud of anything in particular that you have achieved thus far?

I am extremely proud of the success with both of our campus enhancement and eliciting on-campus interaction initiatives.  

I have presided over the creation of 13 clubs and organizations, as well as the reactivation of three. Clubs and Organizations at Grand View have increased from 27 to 43 – equating to a 59% increase of on-campus involvement. I also designate a portion of the student government budget to a campus enhancement initiative.  This initiative provides funding to various projects that encourage recreational activities and enhance overall student life for our student body.  In my first term, the comprehensive amount of funding provided to the campus enhancement initiative by our executive board was more than the previous four semesters combined by preceding administrations.

In addition to enhancing student life, these two initiatives are used to appeal to prospective students while on a campus visit. When prospective students attend to visit and take campus tours, I believe our efforts as a student government may help distinguish Grand View University from other institutions and effectively contribute to recruiting the next generation of Vikings.  

What do you think makes your student body unique?

I believe the overall size and student demographics distinguish Grand View University.  Grand View offers a high-quality education to a diverse student body of 2,000 students in a career-oriented, well-rounded liberal arts curriculum.  With regard to our student demographics – nearly 300 out-of-state students represent 38 states and territories; there are approximately 45 international students from 23 different countries; and the College for Professional and Adult Learning serves over 400 students during the evening hours.  With 41 majors, 29 minors, 5 graduate programs, and an array of certificate programs, Grand View creates a community of learners where differing perspectives are welcome in a diverse and changing world.  The increasing inclusive environment supports students from all walks of life, geographies, religions, and ethnicities.

Growing up in small town Iowa, I was not exposed to this type of diversity.  Grand View has provided me with an environment that encourages students to engage with fellow students and members of the community.  Through this type of dialogue, we learn that we have more in common than we differ.  I, personally, keep in touch with a few international students who recently graduated, and a few of my closest friends are from Illinois, Minnesota, and Georgia.  The exposure has enhanced my global awareness while providing me with new perspectives.  

What has surprised you the most about serving in this leadership role thus far?

As the student body president, I have discovered that this role requires the incumbent to be an effective listener.  When communicating with students, an individual’s ego may obstruct a conversation – thus preventing any common ground from being established.  As humans, we are inclined to be reserved towards topics that we cannot relate to or to those topics that fall outside of our comfort zone.  If I am attempting to persuade an individual on a particular initiative, I must first preserve and maintain a calm state of mind while seeking to understand the person from his or her point of view.  As an elected representative, when I seek to understand, I am better able to follow along with the conversation and consider the perspectives from another person’s point of view.

Additionally, there is a great deal of sacrifice while serving as student body president.  At the forefront of each president’s agenda is transparency; however, there is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes unnoticed into effectively running a student government association.  Classes may often be missed in order to attend important meetings; e-mails become a primary source of communication; weekends are often designated time for catching up on studies;and 2:00 a.m. becomes a considerable bedtime.  When a person is passionate about making a difference, he or she will devote the time and stop at nothing to accomplish it.  In my case, it is serving the student body to the best of my ability.  I am thankful for my family and have grown more appreciative of my friends for their perpetual support, understanding, and commitment to me with my endeavor.

How would you describe your leadership style? Do you have a political figure or person you look up to?

My leadership style is a blend of participative and transformational.  These are two practical application styles of leadership, which I believe encourages dialogue and collaboration.  I value input from each executive board member and student, and I also attempt to boost the team morale.  I rely on communication and use it as a medium to enhance productivity and efficiency.  This blend of styles instills a feeling that each person contributes to the decision-making process.

I look up to my advisor, Dr. Jay Prescott.  As the Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Prescott oversees student life and the overall success and development of students at Grand View University.  Dr. Prescott has become a close mentor of mine, as I have developed a strong, working relationship with him.  As a mentor, Dr. Prescott inspires me to discern my vocation while pursuing my passions and interests.  I credit Dr. Prescott’s guidance to my growth in leadership and ability to effectively engage within our community.  Despite his busy schedule, Dr. Prescott has an open-door policy and willingly makes time for me each day as I frequently visit him.  I aspire to become the servant leader Dr. Prescott not only demonstrates to me, but to our entire campus community.

What piece of advice would you give to aspiring student body presidents?

As student body president, it is important to know that you cannot accomplish everything on your own.  It is important to seek out individuals who are equally passionate about making a difference and to appoint them to represent the student body alongside you.  It is also important to become familiar with university faculty, staff, and administration members.  Although there will be times in which you feel no support from any of these three groups, I can honestly say that they take a keen interest in your professional development and do in fact take into consideration your input and proposals.  I am truly grateful for the assistance that I have received from members of the faculty, staff, and administration at Grand View University.  Without their support, our student government would not be as effective in representing the student body.  

What do you see as the biggest challenges facing your student body and higher education generally?

One of the biggest challenges facing my student body is a lack of engagement.  I often promote that a college education is not exclusive to your first job; it is an education that will perpetuate with you for the rest of your life.  Being engaged on campus has provided me the opportunity to grow as a person; the skills I have obtained and experiences encountered are continuously preparing me for the future.  Campus organizations and student leadership are integral parts of education at a private liberal arts university by virtue of their ability to engage students outside of the classroom.  In my opinion, you have to make yourself vulnerable and learn to take a risk.  Instead of avoiding risks, we should learn to embrace them.  Taking risks ultimately denotes confidence and helps you stand out as a leader.    




Presidential Profile: Anushka Sarkar, University of Michigan

NCLC: What issues did you run on last year? Are there any projects that you plan on spending your time on during the summer in preparation for the start of the academic year?

AS: My running mate and I ran on a platform comprised of two categories of projects – short term projects, which we called “Initiatives”, and long term projects, which we called “Advocacy.” Our platform was built to represent the reality of concurrency in governing, wherein you have to do programming and short term work alongside investing energy in the wonkier policy and advocacy work that extends beyond your term.

 One of the most difficult aspects of this position is managing competing interests of the people that you represent. I represent 45,000 students, each of whom has different lived experiences and expectations of their elected representatives. Among the various issues that we will take on over the next year as representatives, I personally am most invested in our campus climate and student health and wellness. Campus climate is a difficult issue to tackle, and sometimes student government is not the best vehicle through which to take on certain aspects of campus climate, but we’re working to figure out what are the areas in which the representative body can be an effective and powerful institution. Similarly, students’ health is of utmost importance, and it is certainly a representative body’s job to protect, promote, and streamline the resources – both existing and needed – for students to maintain their wellness.

NCLC: What do you think makes your student body unique?

AS: I am consistently humbled by the spirit of activism and advocacy on our campus, no matter the issue or the angle. The University of Michigan has a long and vibrant history of student activism, and it has been a crucial driving force of progress both on campus and across the country. Michigan students are unapologetic and effective advocates who fight for what they believe in, even after they leave campus. You can always tell a Michigan student apart from the crowd because of their drive to leave the world better than they found it.

NCLC: What has surprised you the most about serving in this leadership role thus far?

AS: I’m surprised by the breadth of work this organization does, and my respect for the people who comprise it continues to grow. When the days get long and the work seems endless, I have found it prudent to remember that I am never having the longest day in my organization. There are so many incredible students and staff working on issues ranging from textbook affordability to mental health resources to advocating for a sanctuary campus. I thought I knew most of the work that happened in the organization, but have been humbled time and time again by the sheer number of passion projects happening through Central Student Government.

NCLC: What challenges did you face running for the position of student body president?

AS: I struggled more than I let on to most people, which is something I’ve tried to reflect on a bit over the last couple of months. As someone who has struggled with mental health in college, like so many students, having to run at the top of the ticket while managing a full course load and a part time job definitely exacerbated the stress. On top of that, mine and Nadine’s candidacy definitely displeased some pretty vocal people, and I learned a little something about demonstrating grace in the face of bigotry and discrimination.

NCLC: Both you and your vice president are two women of color. Given the trends in gender parity, what drove you to run a dual-female ticket? What advice do you have for other young women aspiring to serve in public office?

AS: As my parents can definitely attest, nothing motivates me quite like being told that something cannot be done. Nadine and I were told by so many people that on a campus like ours, running two women - let alone two women of color - was a losing start. Luckily, Nadine and I have gotten used to being told ‘no’ at this point in our lives and we decided that it was time to show people who didn’t think it was possible that they were wrong. We ran together because we each wanted a partner in this work who understands the challenges we have faced. We wanted to show people - the supporters, the nay-sayers, and everyone in between - that no matter what you look like or where you come from, you can represent the University of Michigan student body. 

I have three pieces of advice for young women aspiring to serve in public office, given to me from other women in public office who know way more than I do.

First, build a team of hard-working, smart, passionate, and dedicated people around you. No one does this alone, and to get elected, you’ll need good people around you who will stand by you through the good and difficult times. I was incredibly fortunate to not only have a wonderful running mate, but to also have the greatest team of people running as representatives and working to run our campaign. Show your appreciation for these people, too - they’re often doing this work for free because they care about you and what you stand for.

My second piece of advice is to rely on women who have been there before. There are so many incredible women who have experience in leadership and large-scale projects - ask for their advice, lean on them, and make sure that when you’re in a position to do so for another young woman that you pay forward the support you received from women before you.

My third piece of advice is to be fearless. Don’t let someone tell you that you can’t do something, don’t let doubt cloud your confidence. You’ll feel some degree of self-doubt every day - that’s normal, and frankly, the doubt only grows once you’re actually elected. You’ll make mistakes, you’ll take risks that will sometimes pay off and sometimes implode. But, know that people have put their faith in you for a reason. You are qualified. You are going to do an excellent job. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

NCLC: How would you describe your leadership style? Do you have a political figure or person you look up to?

AS: I would describe my leadership style as facilitative with an eye on the long-term outcome. I greatly admire Ella Baker, a well-known facilitative leader of the Civil Rights movement. Ella Baker was an expert in inspiring and mentoring young leaders, with a keen eye for unrecognized talent and passion. I try to embody her leadership style because it’s important to remember that your own time in office or leadership is short in the grand scheme of things. The success and longevity of your hard work will depend on good and talented people continuing it, so it’s important to invest energy and mentorship in those people early on.

NCLC: When it comes to solving problems, whether it is an internal student government issue or a public facing issue, what’s your strategy?

AS: Every problem is different. I’m a generally straight-forward person, so my typical approach to interpersonal problem-solving is direct confrontation with the assumption of good intent on all sides and aiming for a constructive outcome. However, when the situation does not necessarily fit that approach, I can step back and come at something from the side. You can’t solve every problem in the same way, and understanding that from the start makes dealing with those problems a little bit easier.

NCLC: What piece of advice would you give to aspiring student body presidents?

AS: Be sure that you want to be student body president for the right reasons. This is not a glamorous position, there’s little to no money involved, the hours are long and difficult, and at any given time, someone is harshly criticizing you. And when the difficult moments are particularly long, you’ll have to have the spirit of your service to remind yourself of why you ran for this position. Be sure that you feel a call to serve, be sure that you care deeply about bettering your campus. If you know those two things, then you know you’re doing this for the right reasons.

NCLC: What do you see as the biggest challenges facing your student body and higher education generally?

AS: The biggest challenge facing the University of Michigan student body, in my opinion, is its disparity in experience for students from low-income backgrounds and/or those of minority identities. 99.9% of people - students, administrators, faculty, staff, you name it - are working toward building the best University possible with the best intent in mind and heart. And yet, there is a noticeable and clear disparity in experience for low-income and minority students. College can be financially and emotionally challenging, and is often disproportionately so for students from underrepresented backgrounds. Working to change the campus climate from the inside of an institution can be tedious, and the biggest challenge our student body is facing is how to struggle toward a better campus without recreating the problems that already exist in the process. The good news is that thousands of good people are working day in and day out to make that progress, and I’m not alone in my optimism about the direction in which the University is moving.

Nationally, higher education faces the continued effects of weak investment in early education. Disparities in quality of education don’t start in college, they start in preschool and kindergarten. And in order for higher education to effectively take on those disparities, which intensify as the educational track lengthens, state budgets need to allocate more money for underfunded public education, especially in elementary and middle schools.

 

Photo credit: The Michigan Daily


Presidential Profile: Michael Scott Peters, Utah State University

What issues did you run on last year? Are there any projects that you plan on spending your time on during the summer in preparation for the start of the academic year?

As President, I promised to advance student health, advocate equality, increase idea sharing, promote events, and enrich the cultural experience. Together, we will help Everyone Belong in the Aggie Family.

The aforementioned campaign platform will be accomplished, in part, through the implementation of UMatter at USU. UMatter is a university-wide prevention initiative to promote the physical, emotional and mental well-being of students. It will pull together existing campus programs and services into a comprehensive, branded structure to ensure consistent prevention strategies and messaging to the USU community.

Though CAPS, SAAVI, Student Health and Wellness, and programs such as Access and Diversity all offer outreach and programming to help students in crisis, many students are not sure where to access services and help at USU. There is an opportunity to use campus resources more efficiently in order to better serve our student population, ultimately ensuring they graduate and become productive citizens.

UMatter would provide a central online location and messaging for all USU’s efforts aimed at students dealing with sexual violence and partner violence, alcohol and drug abuse, mental health concerns and suicide, and bias/harassment and online bullying.


What do you think makes your student body unique?

With over 80 nationalities represented on campus, our student body benefits from a variety of cultures and thoughts. Some of my closest college friends are from Saudi Arabia, China, Germany and the Dominican Republic. I believe this diversity of opinion enhances the overall learning experience for students, regardless of their nationality. It also develops empathy for individuals from other countries.

Despite the benefits, challenges arise when majority interests take precedence over minority rights. For this reason, I decided to run for USUSA President to advocate for the minority groups while still serving the majority. This next year, I will strive to help Everyone Belong at Utah State University.

What has surprised you the most about serving in this leadership role thus far?

University administration is surprisingly supportive of the actions taken by student body officers. This is true as long as these actions are based on student needs and the proposed solutions are well developed. Unfortunately, there are times when the role of student body president will feel like the loneliest job in the world. Other students may not understand the hard work and late nights you dedicate on their behalf. For this reason, it is essential you work now to develop genuine relationships with your university administration. Develop a support network. This will allow you to serve effectively as president.

How would you describe your leadership style? Do you have a person you look up to?

My leadership style is diplomatic. Interpersonal harmony allows team members a greater chance at group success and personal satisfaction. It is also a practical leadership style for group success. As a leader, I emphasize community, conflict resolution, and continuous improvement. I accomplish this by creating a fun and social environment that is value driven.

Tyler Tolson, former student body president at USU, is my role model because of his charisma and passion for people. I admire his magnetic personality and ability to tell stories. Through his stories, Tyler connects people and creates learning opportunities. What is most impressive about my role model is his ability to give back to the Utah State University. Even as CEO of Denik, Tyler chooses to share his time with students by returning to campus to help us succeed.

What piece of advice would you give to aspiring student body presidents?

Remember these four words: Fortune Favors the Bold.

As student body president, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. It is essential you represent the students’ voice and involve them in every step of the process. The students are the reason our position exists. Remember that a title means nothing. The people you serve will make the greatest. Above all, have fun this year!

What do you see as the biggest challenges facing your student body and higher education generally?

One of the biggest challenges facing institutions of higher education in Utah is unity before the state legislature. The challenges and opportunities at each state institution are unique. Therefore, it is often difficult to rally behind a common goal if it does not satisfy the needs of all constituents. If the Utah Student Association can develop a unified message before the next legislative session, it will have a greater chance at obtaining funding for the chosen goal.

 


NCLC launches Policy Institute

The issues that weigh heaviest on students are serious public policy challenges--campus sexual assault, student loan debt, racial discrimination, mental health, etc. While NCLC’s existing programs touch on these topics, student leaders require more in-depth training to address these problems more successfully.

Today, we are excited to announce the NCLC Policy Institutes. The Institutes are an exclusive two-day intensive policy trainings designed to equip student body leaders with the most current and advanced research and the opportunity to build relationships with top experts, lawmakers, and other stakeholders shaping national policy. Participants are selected through an application process.

 Here are the first two Institutes, we hope the first of many:

Campus Sexual Assault Policy Institute | September 10-11

This Institute will help student leaders develop a greater understanding of the history and direction of current federal law and guidance, particularly Title IX and the Clery Act. Students will learn directly from some of the leading voices driving the national discussion around survivor-centric policy at all levels of higher education decision-making.

Registration fee: $175

Application deadline: Sunday, July 30th 5:00 PM EST

 

College Affordability Policy Institute | NEW DATE: October 1-2

This Institute will provide student leaders with cutting edge information, background, and ideas on the future of the Higher Education Act, with a focus on federal student aid programs, student loan debt, and accountability policies.

Registration fee: $175

Application deadline: Sunday, July 30th 5:00 PM EST

The Institutes will aim to empower students to drive meaningful policy and social change, build relationships with student leaders leading advocacy efforts across the nation, learn from the country’s top issue experts, prepare students with effective advocacy strategies, and build a small cohort of students to lead nationally on college affordability.

Building on the successes of past NCLC programs, including the Presidential Leadership Summit and Climate Leadership Summits, we will provide student leaders opportunities to develop the expertise and skills to best serve their campus communities. While a wide breadth of knowledge is important for campus-wide leaders, we are inspired by the passion, knowledge, and experience so many students bring to specific issues.  These Institutes will create an essential space for students to connect with each other in a more in-depth curriculum, learning from each other, experts, and other professionals.

This program is designed for student body presidents but we welcome strong applications from other students who hold campus leadership positions and demonstrate a strong interest in the issue.

We are seeking driven student leaders with the passion for making a difference — we want you to join our inaugural cohort of students at either the College Affordability or Sexual Assault Prevention Policy Institute (or both).

To apply please complete the application process at this link.

 

 

 


Student Body President of the Year: Nagela Nukuna

During the inaugural Campus Legacy Awards, NCLC announced the recipient of the national Student Body President of the Year award. Check out our interview with Nagela! 

Now that you have completed your term, what are you most proud of achieving?

There's so much that I'm glad we were able to do this past year, so it's hard for me to just pick one. So I'll pick the achievement that I'm happy about completing, that spanned the longest time period!

This project was our work to develop permanent hammocks on campus. This initiative actually began when I was the SGA VP Student Life, along with the work of the previous VP Campus Services. Together, we developed a series of proposals around why they would be beneficial, and how the infrastructure would improve the mental health of students on campus. We were able to generate stakeholder buy-in, and resources to begin the process. The transition moved to our current VP Campus Services (16-17), Sujay Peramanu, who was able to successfully execute the project with the help of our administrative campus partners. Overall, this took about 2 years of persistent work and follow-through, and I'm proud of our team for stepping up to transition the project between administrations, and have it appear on campus.

If you could go back to the start of your term, what would you do differently?

I wish I was able to do more relationship-building work during the summer, prior to the academic year. Being able to meet more administrative partners, and having the right relationships formed is half the battle in this role. Charting out the year in terms of your goals is fine, but knowing the touch-points of people who can help you towards achieving success is so crucial.

 What does the award, Student Body President of the Year, mean to you?

Receiving the inaugural Student Body President of the Year Award last week was such an honor, especially amongst all the incredible leaders sitting in the room. Being a part of a group that celebrates service to and for others to the highest degree was a moment I will never forget. The work that NCLC and similar organizations are doing is so vital; they are supporting student leadership and investing in the leaders of tomorrow. By showing us what can be, and providing examples of remarkable public servants who have made positive changes in our world, is a tremendous undertaking that NCLC has taken in stride. Leila Janah said that "talent is distributed equally, while opportunity is not". I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve, and for the opportunities that NCLC has given me this past year. 

 What does the word “legacy” mean to you? 

Legacy is the net positive value add you leave in the lives of the people you serve.

 What’s next for you?

Right now, I'm focusing on graduation (in December 2017), and on applying to different graduate school programs. Ideally, I'd love to do a joint MBA and Public Policy degree, but I am still looking at other options within the Tech industry as well.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I'd love to be working in the intersection between Government Policy and Tech, working to help emerging countries with infrastructure development. I'm also really interested in this global movement of inspiring women to enter the STEM field, so I may try and get involved in Let Girls Learn, or similar initiatives. However, I don't know what the future has in store for me just yet, so I'll keep you posted!

If you could summarize your time as Student Body President in three words, what would those three words be?

Instructive. Inspiring. Invigorating


NCLC and Defend Our Future Host 3rd Annual National Climate Leadership Summit

On June 5th, NCLC and Defend our Future convened over 100 student leaders for its third annual National Climate Leadership Summit.

“I believe the National Climate Leadership summit is effective in empowering and educating students because it shows them they are not alone in the work they are doing on their individual campuses and communities. It exposes them to other students and environmental professionals that want to help them build on the work they've already done, hopefully, creating a community they can turn to as they finish their college careers and head into their chosen professions,” said Adrienne Cooper, Executive Director of Defend our Future.

Following a night of networking at the opening reception at the U.S. Green Building Council, students kicked off day two of the summit with issue breakouts on reducing the campus footprint, innovations in campus sustainability, championing conservation, and the intersection of policy and the market in advancing sustainability. Speakers included representatives from SmartPower, Second Nature, The Wilderness Society, and the U.S. Green Building Council.

Former EPA environmental justice assistant associate administrator Mustafa Ali spoke to students about the future of environmental justice.

“It's about how we deal with these moments to make change for the most vulnerable communities,” Ali told student leaders. “In working with vulnerable communities, you have to build trust. You have to be authentic.”

Following a lunch conversation on the background of environmental science with George Mason University Professor Dr. Cook, students worked with a range of experts to build skills on digital engagement, leveraging the press, advocacy, campus organizing, and civic engagement.

Former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy took the stage as the keynote speaker to share her thoughts on climate change, student leadership, and her hopes for the future of sustainability. She took time to emphasize that the Environmental Protection Agency exists to protect the public health and when fully functional, promotes both national security and a prosperous economy.

On the final day of the Climate Leadership Summit, NCLC and Defend Our Future hosted Congressman Charlie Crist, D-Fla., to speak on the power of student action.

“We are blessed to live in the greatest country on the planet. You are the future of this country,” Crist told students.

Following his remarks, student leaders engaged with panelists on the federal and state policy landscape before snapping photos in the Library of Congress and heading to lobby their state representatives on the issue of climate change.

Students didn't stop their activism there. During the National Climate Leadership Summit, more than 90 student body presidents and student environmental organization leaders signed a letter to Secretary Zinke, urging the Department of Interior to protect national monuments, particularly Bears Ears. 

“Too often, campus activism happens in a vacuum. NCLC and Defend Our Future’s work brings students around the country together to form a more united student movement. I’m so grateful to have had the chance to attend,” said Rigel Robinson, a student at UC Berkeley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


NCLC hosts 6th Annual Presidential Leadership Summit

On June 3rd, over 180 student body presidents from around the nation arrived in Washington, D.C. for NCLC’s sixth annual Presidential Leadership Summit.

The summit kicked off with rousing speeches from Tina Tchen, former Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama and Lillian Cunningham, the host of The Washington Post’s “Presidential” podcast.

“I’m inspired by how these incredible presidents are tackling the toughest issues facing higher education head on," said NCLC Executive Director and Cofounder Andy MacCracken. “We need these students’ leadership now more than ever.”

 At this year’s summit, students attended policy sessions on Title IX policy, sexual assault prevention, mental health policy and outreach, addressing substance abuse on campus, advocating for inclusive communities, housing and food insecurity, college affordability, and civic engagement.

Andrew Jackson, student body president at The Ohio State University, attended the conversation on building inclusive communities with former Mizzou Student Body President Payton Head.

 “Building inclusive communities is something that I am ensuring happens on my campus. Attending a session led by the president of Mizzou shed light on not only ways to communicate with students of different backgrounds, but also how effectively to advocate for different groups of students,” said Jackson.

Experts from consulting to fundraising fields trained student leaders on project management, leveraging the press, digital engagement, data-driven advocacy, lobbying, fundraising, and crisis communications management.

Student leaders left the workshops feeling better prepared to serve their communities back home.

"As student leaders, we have access to such a breadth of data, and oftentimes, we are paralyzed by it because we aren't sure how to make that data meaningful,” said Anushka Sarkar, student body president at the University of Michigan. “The Data-Driven Advocacy workshop was informative in showing how to take a large amount of information and make it meaningful, persuasive, and targeted; I fully intend to use what I learned from this session to take on healthcare affordability and accessibility at the University of Michigan."

Following a keynote address by Dr. Kori Street of the USC Shoah Foundation on the power of storytelling, students left to grab dinner and explore the city of Washington.

The inaugural Campus Legacy Awards Luncheon capped off the 2017 Presidential Leadership Summit, with guests and attendees including Campus Legacy Awards Honorary Chairman Senator Dick Lugar, Sri Lankan Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam, and Farah Pandith, the first-ever Special Representative to Muslim Communities for the United States State Department.

 The inaugural Campus Legacy Awards Luncheon honored former Vice President Joe Biden, Farah Pandith, Sam Zwerling, UC San Diego’s Basic Security initiative. NCLC Board Chair, Carlos Reyes, announced NCLC’s Student Body President of the Year — Georgia Tech’s Nagela Nukuna.

 "Receiving the inaugural Student Body President of the Year Award last week was such an honor, especially amongst all the incredible leaders sitting in the room. Being a part of a group that celebrates service to and for others to the highest degree was a moment I will never forget,” said Nukuna.

Amidst the bustling activity of PLS17, it’s evident the most memorable aspect was the instant connections and friendships that emerged over the weekend.

“The principles taught at the Presidential Leadership Summit prepared me to enter my presidency with confidence. Even more important is the friendships I formed. These leaders will continue to provide a network of idea sharing and collaboration for the rest of our lives,” said Michael Scott Petters, Student Body President at Utah State University.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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