Meet Eliot Howard and Vincent Perez. This dynamic duo work in the Student Leadership Center (SLC) at UTSA, a place for students to explore important avenues to leadership success. Eliot Howard, Associate Director of the SLC and Vincent Perez, Program Manager of the SLC, both facilitate a trip every year that change student lives: The Civil Rights and Social Justice Experience.
“The Civil Rights and Social Justice Experience (CRSJ) is a five-day bus trip through the deep south, and it immerses students into the history of the civil rights movement. We’ll usually stop in three to five cities and students will get to visit the historical sites of the civil rights movement. In the past, this has included New Orleans, Louisiana, Birmingham, Alabama and Memphis.” Vincent said.
The trip is an all-in-one experience for Roadrunners curious about the civil rights movement, offering stops at famous landmarks such as Little Rock Central High School, the national Civil Rights Institute and the slave haven Underground Railroad. Facilitated group discussions about student’s experiences visiting each historical location are also offered, creating a learning experience for everyone who embarks on this impactful journey.
“Going on this trip made me see both sides of a lot of issues and it has really opened my eyes,” said Mayowa Amu, a senior who attended the trip.
The Student Leadership Center at UTSA facilitates trips like the CRSJ trip and leadership skill-building workshops to allow students who are seeking leadership skills to build connections after graduation.
“The Civil Rights and Social Justice Experience is a great example of the kind of work we do to get students engaged outside of the classroom and inspires them to learn about leadership through a historical lens,” said Eliot.
“The SLC is a hub for students to learn about their leadership potential, expand that potential, and connect as part of a community of practice with other student leaders.”
Vincent and Eliot want Future Roadrunners to know that each student brings a new learning experience to UTSA, even for staff members like themselves. They encourage cultivating curiosity and letting it guide you in the right direction for your future.
“We want students to not only develop marketable leadership skills that they can take with them into their career, but to also be able to apply those skills now as a student.”
Vincent’s advice for Future Roadrunners is simple: “It’s all about shooting your shot, sometimes you’ll make it, sometimes you’ll miss, but take chances and do something outside of your comfort zone. That is where the learning takes place. Try things you would never try, you’ll be happy in the end that you did.”