Dr. Hill and students

Milliken/Wofford Summer Leadership Institute makes impact

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Students experience volunteerism United Way Gifts in Kind Center on Wednesday 

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Summer Leadership Institute (SLI), co-sponsored and funded by Milliken, an innovation company with expertise across a wide breadth of disciplines including specialty chemicals, floor covering, and performance materials headquartered in Spartanburg, and Wofford College, is hosting 34 rising high school seniors from South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina this week (Sunday, June 12, through Friday, June 17).

During SLI, created in 1998, the participants will spend the seven days sharpening their leadership, communication, dining etiquette, creativity, presentation and teambuilding skills, as well as forming valuable relationships with other students. Through the application of learned leadership skills, they are better prepared to make informed choices when selecting a college, and ultimately a career, and to give back to their community. Sessions will be held at both Wofford and Milliken.

The highlight of the program always has been the project component. Student teams learn the value of leadership by working with a non-profit organization on community service projects requiring skills such as planning, organizing, teamwork, and diversity appreciation. Each team has ownership of their community service project. The students will share their projects and key takeaways during final presentations to Wofford and Milliken senior leaders. The students learn as well as feel a sense of accomplishment and a desire to make a difference in the community.

Five projects were chosen from a list provided by the United Way of the Piedmont for this year’s community service projects. The projects will be conducted on Wednesday at the United Way’s Gifts in Kind Center. The students will interview and shop with representatives from local agencies that the Gifts in Kind Center serves. They also will sort, stock and do maintenance projects throughout the facility. This year, Milliken Summer Challenge interns and Milliken human resource associates also will participate in the projects with the SLI students.

More than 550 students now have attended SLI and more than 50 have gone on to attend Wofford College. At the end of the week, many past SLI participants have commented that this was an opportunity of a lifetime.