Saluki Environmental Educators (SEE) By– Breanna Whitley

While wrapping up the Fall 2017 semester, I was granted the opportunity to become the President of the Saluki Environmental Educators (SEE). My time in SEE was brief prior to my nomination, but I didn’t require much time to realize that SEE was the organization where I wanted to focus my efforts. From the first meeting I knew that SEE’s mission resonated with my passions as an aspiring educator and nature enthusiast, and I recognized the potential for opportunities in which I could grow my leadership skills.

The Saluki Environmental Educators is a professional development Registered Student Organization (RSO) that seeks to promote environmental education, interpretation, public involvement, and volunteerism by partnering with community groups throughout Southern Illinois. We are a small but passionate crew of community-minded individuals with a myriad of interests and areas of study.

We are already three weeks into the Spring semester and SEE is off to an energetic start! We kicked off the first week by exhibiting our excitement at the Spring Involvement Fair. As usual, we included our special guests Ricky and Quigley, the corn snakes, and our newest addition, Peaches the Pink-Toed Tarantula. In using live exhibits, we help connect people to our biological diversity in unique ways and provide them with a glimpse of why SEE is so important to the community! The excitement rolled over into the following week when SEE hosted their first social night and welcomed four new members, all of whom came from different majors ranging from chemistry to zoology. Throughout the social night, I watched the new members faces transform from uncertain to engaged as we played ice breakers and enjoyed hot chocolate.

My first few weeks of leading SEE have been inspiring. I am motivated by the energy of our members, and I look forward to the opportunities that we have to grow as a club. I am grateful to be in my leadership position, because SEE impacts not only our campus, but also our community. Even more, I am grateful that the LDP has given me a toolbox of skills, resources, and the confidence needed to lead an organization. Without the LDP, I may have been able to be president of the Saluki Environmental Educators, but I wouldn’t have been able to lead them. Leadership is not defined by the title you hold; leadership is defined by the legacy you leave behind, and I hope that I can benefit SEE beyond my term as president.

L to R: retiring President Jenna Parks and retiring V.P. Gabrielle Will modeling Peaches
Peaches the pink-towed tarantula