A spring break they'll never forget

Nine days. Six cities. Working with other students to make a difference along the way. That's how 25 UNI students are spending their spring break while creating lasting memories and further developing their servant-leadership skills.

Students Today Leaders Forever
A group of UNI students at one of the stops during last year's Pay It Forward Tour.

These service-minded students are part of UNI's chapter of Students Today, Leaders Forever (STLF), a national organization created in 2003 by two University of Minnesota Twin Cities students who dreamed about making a difference in the world. From those musings came STLF and the organization's Pay it Forward (PIF) spring break community service tours. UNI students have been participating in these tours since STLF was created on campus in 2012.

After departing from Cedar Falls on March 14, students will travel to Chicago; Louisville, Ky; Knoxville, Tenn; Columbia, SC; and Edisto, SC. Jacksonville, Fla., is the tour's Celebration City where busses filled with students from colleges across the country will gather to participate in one big service project.

During the PIF road trip, students engage in service within the host community each morning while learning about social issues, building lasting relationships and making a commitment to continued action when they return to their home campuses. During the evening, students participate in leadership activities and reflect on what they learned during that day's experience.

"This opportunity opens the eyes of many to a world they have yet to experience while being able to help make a difference in lives along the way," said Mike Bobeldyk, UNI's STFL adviser and Maucker Union's associate director.

"By being involved in STLF, students develop skills, such as time management, teamwork, financial management and delegation," he continued. "These skills will assist them during their remaining time as undergraduate leaders as well as once they leave the university to pursue graduate school or professional opportunities."

Learn more about UNI's STLF chapter by visiting www.stlf.net/chapters/university-of-northern-iowa.