SLI members discuss success of program

The President’s Student Leadership Initiative (SLI) is one of the most well known organizations on the campus of Grambling State University. 

Consisting of over 100 members, SLI continues to live out the mission of developing leaders and changing lives.  

SLI has garnered a wide range of success ever since it first kicked off in 2015. 

The students within the organization have engaged in a wide range of servantship, such as ushering at convocations, ushering at local churches, serving in the university’s “Bring It Home” campaign, working at a nursing home, reading stories at the Lincoln Parish Library and several other outreach programs. 

Seniors Makayla Hill and Rickenzie Johnikin both said they have experienced many favorable moments as SLI participants.. 

“It has helped to give me networking opportunities,” Hill said. “It has helped me to develop my leadership skills as well as my networking opportunities.”  

Many of the students within the organization are now a part of various leadership roles in other organizations such as Student Government Association and the Favrot Student Union Board.  Johnikin says that the Student Leadership Initiative gave her the opportunity to be a leader by being the Common Purpose committee. This committee falls into one out of seven committees within the organization.

“I have assisted with different activities,” Johnikin said. “It was the first organization that I have joined. They provided opportunities for us to step outside of our own comfort zone and also to serve others. Although I was serving in high school, it gave me the chance to do it on a collegiate level. That encouraged me to go out for roles such as Miss Sophomore.” 

Hill served as President of SLI in this past academic school year.  

“In being the President I was able to converse with like-minded students and even the administration,” Hill said, “I enjoy just having those opportunities that most students on this campus don’t get so interviews with us sitting in interviews or meetings with the president himself and just trying to find a better or outlook for the students.”  

Hill shared her challenging moments within role as president and shared what she did to overcome her obstacles.

“One thing that I always follow through with was pushing higher,” Hill said. “No one can do your job better than you. You have to have the ability to say ‘no’ in a way that other people can understand.”

Johnikin was announced as the 36th Miss Grambling State University and points to her involvement in SLI as one of the main reasons for her success. 

“Really it’s give me and the opportunity to serve my university,” Johnikin said. “[SLI] has given me the opportunity to network with other universities outside of campus as well as the opportunity to represent not only myself but Grambling State University.”  

SLI is not only academically based organization, but also a family based organization. 

Johnikin highlights one of her great moments with the organization when she was crowned campus queen.

“It is definitely one of the most respected organizations on campus,” Johnikin said. 

“When I walked into one of the seminars, everybody started cheering, and I just felt moved because that was my family. To walk in and to think about where I was my freshman year, being a shy, timid girl to now being in one of the largest positions on campus.”