ITTA BENA, Miss.—Student leaders from Mississippi Valley State University recently attended the annual National Association of Student Affairs Professional (NASAP) Student Leadership Institute (SLI) May 28 to June 3 at Savannah State University in Savannah, Ga.
The six-day institute is an intensive, interactive and stimulating program for newly elected student leaders at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) who are committed to uplifting their organizations and their university.
The seven members of Valley’s student leader’s cohort to attend the institute were Arlencia Barnes and John McCall III, the newly-elected Miss and Mr. MVSU 2019-2020; Brandon McCall, Student Government Association (SGA) president; Jevonte Curtis, SGA treasurer, Maurice Metcalf, Senior class president; Ben Brent, Sophomore class president; and Jaquana Williams, National Pan-Hellenic Council president.
In sharing his experience at NASAP, John McCall pointed out the benefits of having the opportunity to work with students from around the country.
“NASAP was an awesome event. I found many benefits in terms of what I could bring back to Valley as well as my career as I strive to be a film director and actor,” he said. “Everyone was humble, easy to get along with, and cool. I loved the seminars I attended, and I took plenty of notes. I also took advantage of the opportunity to network with other student leaders across the United States.”
Barnes said she also enjoyed working with other students who faced similar responsibilities and could relate to the work that awaits her in the upcoming year.
“NASAP was a beautiful experience and when leaders with great ideas come together to not only have a good time but to learn it is a marvelous time,” Barnes explained. “There were a variety of different, experienced speakers who all taught us not only to master our strengths and skills to have a great school year but also how to learn to relax and not stress so much because good mental health is essential.”
For McCall and Barnes, one of the biggest takeaways was what they learned in the area of leadership.
“We learned a lot about leadership and working with different kinds of people. We were separated into groups from different schools and were required to work together to solve an administration problem,” McCall shared.
Barnes said she also learned a lot from the opportunity to work in groups to discuss an issue and bring together ideas to create a solution.
“We were able to discuss the issues on a practical level and shed light on the situations and try to take some tips back to our university,” Barnes said. “You get to truly experience that you are not alone and these people who were first just leaders from different schools become friends, sisters, brothers and overall one HBCU family.”