Author: David Dodson
Contact: Vikki K. Clawson

Published

Athens, Ga. — The junior class of Leonard Leadership Scholars at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business have won a national prize in the 2011 “Your World, Your Vision” campus competition, sponsored by Ernst & Young LLP.

The scholars’ class will receive $10,000 to implement a student-led community service proposal that will bring new educational opportunities and better environmental efficiency to the Garnett Ridge Boys & Girls Club in Athens.

The Ernst & Young competition challenges college groups to submit proposals for funding community service initiatives that will influence education, entrepreneurship, or environmental stewardship – all of which are central to Ernst & Young’s corporate responsibility efforts. The competition attracted entries from teams at more than 40 colleges and universities nationwide.

In addition to UGA, E&Y announced two other winning teams from Baruch College in New York and the University of Illinois.

The proposal submitted by the Leonard Leadership Scholars, a highly selective undergraduate leadership program in the Terry College, will deepen UGA’s involvement with the Garnett Ridge Boys & Girls Club. The club serves a predominantly Hispanic low-income neighborhood off Jefferson River Road. The scholars plan to further this relationship by developing a community-based recycling plan, expanding learning opportunities offered to participants, covering up gang-related graffiti in the neighborhood, and creating a soccer league.

“All 32 members of the Leonard Leadership Scholars Class of 2012 contributed to the work being done at Garnett Ridge Boys & Girls Club,” said Vikki Clawson, an instructor in the Institute for Leadership Advancement. “The framework for the initiative was put together as part of my fall semester course, and these exceptional students ran with it and have accomplished such great things this year. It is clear to us that the judging panel at Ernst & Young was thoroughly impressed.”

To help sustain the commitment going forward, the scholars also created a new UGA student organization to support ongoing mentoring and tutoring at Garnett Ridge. This spring, the scholars’ class won a Student Organization Achievement & Recognition (SOAR) Award as the “Outstanding New Organization” on campus from UGA’s Center for Student Organizations.

“Our project has touched more than 50 kids, 30 families, and 40 college students, who have been involved throughout the process,” said David Jett, who was chosen by his fellow scholars to lead the project. “The clubhouse is now organized and more energy efficient. The understaffed afterschool program now has the manpower and structure to effectively serve the children. The community now has a usable soccer field. Environmental awareness has been raised, and the Torch Club we started for middle school students now meets regularly and has performed several service projects.”

Twelve leadership scholars worked on the team developing the E&Y proposal. In addition to Jett, that team included Katie Brown, Steve Cho, James Collins, Patrick Fitzmaurice, David Gorvy, Meredith Hightower, Maxwell Mitchell, Muizz Mullani, Brittany Scrudder, Haley Snyder and Emily Weinstein.

The other members of the scholars’ class are: Lars Anderson Jr., Jenna Buckley, Caroline Cave, Jennifer Cowart, Mark Dylla, Jennifer Fink, Ethan Garber, Helen Harris, Kate Houghton, Ali Hymson, Matt Karempelis, Matt Matuszewski, Adam McTish, Tyler Pate, Bree Randall, Teneil Salmon, Caitlin Saltonstall, Nate Tippie, Davis Webb and Tracy Williams.

The Leonard Leadership Scholars Program is part of the Institute for Leadership Advancement, a leadership development unit housed in the Terry College of Business. Its programs stress the importance of principled leadership based on core values and emphasize leadership as a collaborative process and not as a position. The institute’s ultimate aim is to create a new class of leaders who are well trained and ready for responsibility, committed to stewardship and pursuers of excellence, characterized by integrity and defined by purpose.