What’s Up With: Those NSLS emails?


Alyssa Queen

A fire pit located next to the East Lagoon is used by many students for events and pure enjoyment. (Alyssa Queen | Northern Star)

By Caleb Johnson, Lifestyle Writer

Editor’s note: This piece is part of an investigative news series, “What’s Up With?” You can fill out a form for potential coverage in the series here.

DeKALB – Students recently received emails from the National Society of Leadership and Success at the beginning of the spring semester, in which the organization claims to increase students’ leadership potential and offer a slew of membership benefits.

NSLS is a for-profit organization whose membership is offered to any student with a GPA of 2.7 or higher. Once the GPAs get released by the university, the Office of Student Involvement gets a list of students who meet the GPA standards, and the offers are then sent out.

To join the organization, there is a one time fee of $95. This fee goes toward lifetime membership, a membership merch kit, partner discounts and access to the catalog of past speakers.

Other benefits include scholarships, job and internship opportunities, discounts at certain stores and services and custom letters of recommendation.

“I was unsure if this organization was real or not, the email seemed kinda strange to me. I asked some of my friends, and they thought it looked kinda suspicious,” said Tait Kellogg, a junior anthropology major.

Kellogg said he didn’t think he’d join himself but liked the idea of hearing from successful individuals and leaders.

“Still, I thought it was cool that some of the speakers you get to hear from are former Presidents, like Obama and Bush,” Kellogg said. “I guess if you’re looking to build your networking or leadership skills it will be beneficial.”

Alex Pitner, NSLS faculty adviser and associate director for student organizations and leadership, said that students do most of the work in running the organization chapter and his role is mainly an advisory.

“You get all these experiences, all these broadcasts, you get a whole library of speakers to hear from,” Pitner said.

Pitner went on to say that students can learn a lot from speakers, including comedian Kevin Hart and actor Neil Patrick Harris.

Beyond hearing from successful individuals, Pinter also discussed students being able to learn networking skills.

Students set up networking workshops and bring in speakers that help students learn how to be a successful leader.

Pitner claims that these skills can help with building a student’s resume and giving them extra skills to land a job or internship after graduation.

“I cannot stress enough how great the benefits are. I have used the recommendation letters and they have helped me gain internships,” said Dhruvi Patel, a junior political science and president of the NIU NSLS chapter. “The price for membership may scare people away, but the benefits are worth every penny.”

From an administrative perspective, NSLS aims to help with student retention, and helps universities bolster their leadership and engagement activities by providing online webinars and training – however, while retention is increasing, NIU’s enrollment is still down.