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Safe Space Student Leadership Initiative (SSLI)

2016-2017 SSLI Cohort Picture
2016-2017 SSLI Cohort

The Safe Space Student Leadership Initiative (SSLI) is unique from other leadership programs already available on campus due to the strong focus on leadership in identity based contexts, particularly the impact of sexual orientation and gender identity on leadership identity.  In conjunction with developing leadership skills, Safe Space Student Leaders (SSLs) will receive training in the areas of communication, conflict management, identity development models, peer education, diversity and inclusion, and social justice models in order to prepare them to effectively interact with the campus population and educate others on LGBTQ issues.  SSLs will utilize their developed skills to co-facilitate Safe Space trainings, panels, and discussions to students, staff, and faculty across campus.

Request a Student Safe Space Workshop
Apply for the 2017-2018 SSLI Cohort
  • To create opportunities for LGBTQ and Ally identified students to expand and develop their leadership, communication, and conflict management skills while participating in civic engagement and peer education activities aimed at improving the campus climate for the LGBTQ and ally identified community.

  • The unique focus of this program will provide engagement opportunities to a variety of students, including those: who may not be satisfied with the current models of LGBTQ student activities, who would benefit from alternative outlets of activism and outreach, or who may not otherwise view themselves as, or have opportunity to be, a leader.  Leadership development in college students has shown to have a positive impact on learning and development outcomes. LGBTQ college students can face a multitude of conflicting expectations on how to embrace their sexual and/or gender identity while being a valued contributor to their community.  In focusing on the unique needs and challenges faced by LGBTQ and Ally identified students, students will be better equipped to synthesize a leadership identity with a LGBTQ identity (Renn 2007). SSLI will offer an outlet to explore these divergences in a safe environment while providing the necessary tools to be able to think critically about their place within the campus community and society as a whole.  It is through these efforts that we will be able to produce well-rounded, confident, and competent graduates who are able to take these skills into the real world and challenge expectations and stereotypes and improve the climate for themselves and others.
  • While the primary purpose of this program is to enrich the experience of SSLs, this initiative aims to expand upon the Safe Space Initiative and provide tangible services to the campus community and increased visibility, outreach, education, and campus climate on LGBTQ related issues.  These tangible services, provided by SSLs, include:

    • Peer-facilitated Safe Space training for students
    • Classroom presentations on the services of LGBTQ Student Programs
    • Classroom workshops covering topics related to sexuality, attraction, and gender
    • A speaker bureau available for panel presentations to the campus community
    • Advisory board to LGBTQ Student Programs
  • If you are interested in being a part of the 2017-2018 SSLI cohort, please fill out an application:

    Safe Space Student Leader Application (Opens March 20, 2017)

    Application Process and Timeline

    • Applications will open on March 20th and close at 5:00pm on April 21st.
    • Applicants will be contacted within three (3) business days of their application to schedule an interview.
    • Interviews will be conducted between April 24th and May 5th. We anticipate interviews will last between 25-40 minutes.
    • Successful candidates will be notified of their acceptance on May 12th via their student email account.
    • Mandatory SSLI training retreats will be hosted on the following dates:
      • July 13th and July 14th (Thursday and Friday)
      • July 27th and July 28th (Thursday and Friday)
      • August 10th and August 11th (Thursday and Friday)
    • Details on SSLI training retreats will be shared with successful applicants at the time of their acceptance notification.

    SSLI Cohort Selection Criteria

    Successful SSLI candidates will meet the following criteria:

    • Full-time undergraduate student
    • Minimum adjusted GPA of 2.5
      • Adequate availability for presentations, workshops, and bi-weekly cohort meetings
      • SSLI works, to the extent possible, with student schedules
      • Students are asked to facilitate workshops based on their availability at that time
      • SSLI members are expected to facilitate at least one presentation per semester
      • Bi-weekly Cohort meetings are scheduled around the general availability of the cohort
      • Monthly professional development and skills workshops are mandatory for the entire cohort
    • SSLI candidates are not expected to have existing knowledge of leadership, gender and sexuality, social justice, or diversity and inclusion concepts.
    • "SSLI has given me the opportunity to give back to my community and be a part of opening minds. I have learned something from every presentation, from public speaking skills to conflict management to learning more about my community. I have become more aware of everything LGBTQ encompasses and more confident in myself, both as an LGBTQ person and as an advocate." - Dani, 2016-2017 Cohort

    • "SSLI has been the first LGBTQ+ group of its' type that I have ever joined. The presentations we give have helped me develop my public speaking and leadership skills. Not only am I giving presentations to my peers, I am also showing them a different perspective and learning with them. " - Elias, 2016-2017 Cohort

    • "I joined SSLI to help me develop confidence and leadership while at the same time give back to my community. Not only have I become a more effective public speaker, but I have also been able to use the experiences from what I've learned in other areas of my life. I've become more assured and have even found direction as to where I fit into the bigger picture." - Andrew, 2016-2017 Cohort
    • "To me, SSLI was an opportunity to teach others about the community I am apart of. It's helped develop my communications skills and given me the confidence to talk about tough issues surrounding the LGBT community with others." - Valerie, 2016-2017 Cohort

    • "SSLI gave me the opportunity to learn more about what the letters within the LGBT+ really means and the content behind them. SSLI also gave me the confidence and knowledge to share this with the community around me. In my time in this cohort, the knowledge and stories I share with others and the genuine interest and thanks that people give me, are a few of the many things that makes me feel proud to be a SSLI cohort member." - Nathan, 2016-2017 Cohort

    • "I remember being recommended to Safe Space by a professor and thinking, this is a brilliant initiative. My initial thought was supported as I became immersed in the organization as a cohort alongside peers with a shared dedication to promoting the strength and beauty of difference." - Simon, 2016-217 Cohort

    • "SSLI means the world to me. It has helped me better understand myself and others. This has been a journey of self-exploration as well as an eye-opening experience in terms of the rights. I have used the information I learned here to help others understand themselves and present information Without a doubt it will help me aid and understand with my future students. " - Katie, 2016-2017 Cohort
  • Description of Project:

    Supervised by the Director of Student Engagement and working closely with the Assistant Director of Multicultural Student Affairs for Gender and Sexuality programs, this project will focus on the planning, implementation, facilitation, and assessment of the Safe Space Student Leadership Initiative. The Safe Space Student Leadership Initiative provides engagement opportunities to a variety of students including those: who may not be satisfied with the current models of LGBTQ student activities, who would benefit from alternative outlets of activism and outreach, or who may not otherwise view themselves as, or have opportunity to be, a leader. Leadership development in college students has shown to have a positive impact on learning and development outcomes. LGBTQ college students can face a multitude of conflicting expectations on how to embrace their sexual and/or gender identity while being a valued contributor to their community. In focusing on the unique needs and challenges faced by LGBTQ and ally identified students, students will be better equipped to synthesize a leadership identity with a LGBTQ identity (Renn 2007). SSLI will offer an outlet to explore these divergences in a safe environment while providing the necessary tools to be able to think critically about their place within the campus community and society as a whole. It is through these efforts that we will be able to produce well-rounded, confident, and competent graduates who are able to take these skills into the real world and challenge expectations and stereotypes and improve the climate for themselves and others.

    Duties of Graduate Student:

    • Assist in developing the curriculum of a peer-facilitated, student focused Safe Space training program (SSLI).
    • Assist in training peer facilitators of the Safe Space Student Leadership Initiative (SSLI).
    • Plan and execute monthly professional development opportunities for the SSLI cohort, with an emphasis on communication, conflict management, public speaking, diversity, and professionalism.
    • Advisement of the Safe Space Student Leadership Initiative cohort (SSLI), including regularly scheduled one-on-one coaching sessions with cohort members to discuss their progress, goals, and ways to improve.
    • Assist with assessment of SSLI, including conducting regular evaluations of the cohort, participants in workshops conducted by the cohort, and analyzing data collected.
    • Coordinate classroom presentations highlighting the services, programs, and initiatives of LGBTQ Student Programs.
    • Work with the cohort and Assistant Director to develop and execute marketing strategies to increase awareness and utilization of the services offered by the SSLI program.
    • Other duties as assigned by the Assistant Director of Multicultural Student Affairs for Gender and Sexuality Programs and/or the Director of Student Engagement.

    Benefit to Graduate Student:

    The graduate assistant for this project will experience the following benefits:

    1. A more complex understanding of issues of gender and sexuality.
    2. An opportunity to link theoretical and scholarly concepts learned in student's course of study to real-life, organizational
    based programs, events, services, and situations.
    3. Experience in LGBTQ related program development, planning, implementation, and assessment.
    4. Development of facilitation, teaching, and mentoring skills
    5. Gaining of practical experience which will benefit student as he/she/they apply for full-time employment post-graduate study.

    How to Apply:

    Please send Cover Letter and Resume to Jessica Duvall at jduvall6@kennesaw.edu using the subject line "SSLI GA Application." All Resumes and Cover Letters must be received prior to August 1st.

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