North Texas Daily

New student organization promises student involvement with United Way

New student organization promises student involvement with United Way

New student organization promises student involvement with United Way
October 18
09:08 2013

Fey Sandoval / Contributing Writer

A new student group is working with United Way to replace the current Nonprofit Leadership Student Association.

The group’s purpose is to build a diverse community of professionals and prepare them to make a bold impact on the nonprofit world.

“We’re trying something unique with the leadership structure because we want the leadership to be based on people who go above and beyond,” said Amma Cottrell, adviser for the group and director of Partnership for Strong Communities at the College of Public Affairs and Community service.

Due to the legal process involved in partnering with United Way, the name of the group, United Way Student Leaders, is pending approval. Support from the Denton and Tarrant County United Way members has been promised.

From the moment the idea of starting a United Way student organization at UNT was whispered through our doors, United Way of Denton County has been thrilled to be involved in helping the group get started,” said Gary Henderson, president and CEO of United Way Denton, who will serve on the advisory board and speak at group meetings.

The group wants to involve students with nonprofit organizations on a professional level. In contrast to the NLSA, the group would shift its focus away from helping only undergraduate students attain the Certified Nonprofit Professional credential that the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance began in 2011.

Both undergraduate and graduate students of all majors can join, even those who don’t want to go through a certification process but still want the skills and experience needed to build relationships with nonprofits.

“I was part of the previous group during my undergrad,” Cottrell said. “It was a very meaningful and exciting experience for me, and I want more students to have those kinds of experiences.”

NLSA had similar goals, but student leadership was limited and the structure of the group allowed professional development only on a personal level rather than through nonprofit works. The new group will allow more hands-on service-learning development and will offer fresh creative direction, Cottrell said.

The group will be structured with committee leaders and all members will fall within a committee based on their diverse interests.

“We’re hoping people will want to be interested in a leadership position and kind of start taking on those roles,” said Ashley Shepherd, rehabilitation studies junior and co-executive chair of the group.

So far the group has recruited about 20 members from varying majors. Six have shown interest in leadership positions, Cottrell said.

The group’s partnership with United Way will allow students to directly connect with the major United Way offices in North Texas and their partnering agencies.

“I would really like to get a group of people working and connecting together to solve the great issues of today,” said Alyssa Wolverton, an integrative studies junior and co-executive chair of the group. “By providing resources like mentorships, networking, portfolio and a place to just hang out with like-minded individuals, we can make a much greater impact.”

Shepherd and Wolverton became involved in the group after receiving the $1,000 Chuck Fuller Servant Leadership Award, which requires them to form the new nonprofit organization.

The group expects to help select a social issue to push forward every semester. Members hope to plan more of the Fall Forum, a yearly event geared to heighten awareness on social issues, work on a community renewal fund to help students and faculty apply for funding of an innovative idea, and serve as a committee to determine who will receive various grants.

General meetings are held twice a month. The next meeting is Oct. 21 at noon in Wooten 210.

Dr. V. Lane Rawlins welcomes United Way of Denton County to the Alumni Center on Sept. 19 Feature photo courtesy of United Way of Denton County Facebook page

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