Leadership lived: UIS student finds niche volunteering
Senior Business Administration major Ashley McClelland was looking to get involved when she transferred to the University of Illinois Springfield. It didn’t take long for a friend to introduce her to the Alpha Phi Omega (APO), a national coed service fraternity that promotes leadership, fellowship, and service.
McClelland now serves as the Fellowship Vice President for the UIS APO chapter and spends a considerable amount of time volunteering in the Springfield community.
“(We) have a set rule of 20 (volunteer) hours each semester,” said McClelland. “I know that I personally have done well over 20 hours. I think by the end of last year I had done 100, so that’s about 50 hours a semester.”
McClelland has cooked for family members with children in the hospital at Springfield’s Ronald McDonald House, helped pick up trash through the Adopt-A-Street program on a road near campus, and has volunteered with the Girl Scouts.
She enjoys volunteering because it not only helps her meet new people, but also gives her an opportunity to make a difference.
“It has given me a chance to grow as a human being, to look beyond just myself at what people need. It gives me something to do with my free time. It gives me a chance to be a leader,” said McClelland.
The leadership skills that she has learned in management courses at UIS have already benefited her as an APO leader. She’s taken many of the organizational skills she’s learned in class and applied them to real problems facing the fraternity.
“(When) I was learning we were having (similar) issues (in APO),” she said. “I was able to reinforce that learning (using real-world examples).”
McClelland believes there are an abundance of leadership opportunities for students who choose to get involved at UIS.
“UIS is whatever anybody wants it to be,” she said. “If you come to this school and you don’t become part of the community, if you don’t reach out, you’re not going to get anywhere.”