Above: During his years at UIS, Justin Rose, now a graduate student in public administration, has benefited from donors’ generous gifts to the UIS Fund. Read articles and view videos here.
A Passion for Leadership
When Justin Rose first came to UIS as a first-year student, he focused almost exclusively on his studies. he thought going to classes would be enough.
Justin soon changed his mind on what a full college education would have to include.
“In my life, I have been given so much,” he says, “people who cared about me who demonstrated leadership and passion, and I wanted to exude that same passion.”
A Communication major with a minor in African-American studies, Justin decided to add leadership to his goals for his college education, and today he serves as an excellent example of Leadership lived at UIS.
“Men the campus could look up to…”
As a sophomore, Justin accompanied a group of other young African-American men from UIS to the Black Male Summit Conference at the University of Akron, where the men heard presentations on topics ranging from race relations, self-esteem, healthy relationships, and strategies for personal and professional growth.
The men returned to campus determined to make a change. “We wanted to be the men that others on campus could look up to,” Justin says.
That fall, the men formed the Black Male Collegiate Society. The group began with nine men, all on the executive board. They met twice a week to provide support for each other and to discuss issues that affect them as black male college students. They planned events for the campus and bright in speakers to encourage and inform them. They also began mentoring elementary students one hour a week.
Helping Others to Become Leaders
From the beginning, Justin wanted to help other students become leaders. So during the first year, when he saw potential in two young men, he set up a lunch and told them he believed in them. “These were things they needed to hear,” he says, “and now they have both served on the executive board for two years.”
Justin also worked hard on what he calls the “brotherhood aspect,” which he developed primarily by keeping communication active and frequent. He sent morning texts, holiday texts, birthday texts, and emails. He set up meetings between members and made a point of letting people know they could respect themselves and others.
“I felt like this was the way to motivate people. If we met those basic needs, they would be able to do what they need to in life.”
Today the BMCS has 41 members, and the group has such a strong and positive influence on campus that in 2012 the Society won the top student organization honor for a second consecutive year.
Making A Difference Now…
Justin graduated last May and is now working on a master’s degree in public administration at UIS. In the future, he hopes to become the executive director of an organization serving the needs of a developing community, but he has not waited to make a difference in the lives of those around him.
As well as his work with the BMCS, as an undergraduate Justin devoted at least 20 hours a week to volunteering with youths. He created an initiative with Boys and Girls Club to mentor at-risk boys on Saturdays, and he is a big brother in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization. He has also mentored first-year, first generation college students at UIS for two years.
In recognition of his service to UIS and the Springfield community, Justin Rose received the Star Student Award at the Springfield Good as Gold Ceremony last spring.
“UIS has allowed me to show my leadership,” he says, “and I have helped prepare new leaders. We are all leaving here with more than a degree. We are leaving with a better understanding of life in general. We can take that back to our communities and they will listen to us.”
Justin is One of So Many Others
Justin is a leader at UIS. He is also becoming a leader in the Springfield community, and one day soon he will be a leader in our state and perhaps even our nation as well. You can read much more about Justin’s success and leadership here.
Gifts to the UIS Fund have helped Justin in his leadership of the Black Male Collegiate Society, but the UIS Fund helps many other programs and many other students.
Please consider making a gift to the UIS Fund today through the Donate button below. Your gift will help us accomplish so much on behalf of students just like Justin.
And when you help students at UIS, the consequences of your gift will reach so much farther than you can ever imagine.