Mary Peters

Today students of University of Wisconsin-Stout are many things; employees, activists, volunteers, couch potatoes – endless labels. Most prominently and commonly, those attending UWStout are all simply students. They are students today but have great opportunity to be leaders in their careers. This is recognized by Students Today Leaders Forever, otherwise known as STLF.

STLF is a brand-new organization to the UWStout campus, and its members focus on volunteer work that is “a chapter of the national nonprofit,” according to President, Alison Rivers. Rivers summarized the mission of STLF as, “[revealing] leadership through service, relationships and action.”

The origins of STLF are with four college freshman at University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, who frequently stayed up all hours of the night, collaborating and brainstorming on how they could genuinely make a difference in their school. “They wanted people to see and believe that young people could create positive change in the world,” Rivers mentioned. These late nights by these four freshmen led to the first Pay It Forward Tour. Rivers explained the tour as, “an alternative spring break trip where about 45 people get on a bus, travel to six cities, volunteer, and make a lot of friends.” These trips were known to be very impactful, according to Rivers, and became progressively popular. This has to led to over 35 campuses adopting the organization along with many high schools and middle schools.

STLF at UWStout officially started up last year with just a few students who had previously participated in the Pay It Forward Tours and their friends, all of whom wanted to influence their campus in a positive way. These students developed a specific direction and goal that they would like to work towards. Rivers described this as, “[getting] students engaged in serving the community and building strong relationships while having fun.” She explained their plans to achieve this goal by having students participate in local volunteer opportunities, social events held by STLF, or the Pay It Forward Tour over Spring Break.

Various volunteer events will be hosted by STLF in the Menomonie community, along with social events intended to help members of the organization really get to know one another. The big event for STLF will be their tour, which will involve traveling to Atlanta, GA. and stopping at five cities along the way to volunteer and visit.

Anyone on campus is welcome to join this organization. Students can officially register as a member on the STLF OrgSync page. “Be sure to participate in meetings and events,” iterated Rivers. At the meetings, members will be updated on all club information, and then participate in socializing and relaxation. These meetings are held every second Thursday from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. in Harvey Hall, Room 270.

Rivers explained her passion for STLF holds its roots in the “genuinely kind community that creates an environment where people are welcomed, supported and free to discover themselves as leaders.” She explained she has been a part of STLF for five years with 12 different programs and she can truly say, “this organization is life changing and I hope that our organization on campus ignites the same passion in someone else.”