The mental health impact of the COVID-19 outbreak weighed heavy on student members of the University of Phoenix chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS), a national leadership honors society dedicated to professional development opportunities for students.
Veterans and people with pre-existing mental health conditions have been hit especially hard during the coronavirus pandemic. Students wanted a way to support them during these difficult times.
In early May, UOPX chapter members voted on a way to donate the portion of the $95 membership fee NSLS gives back to chapters to help those in need. They landed on donating the money to Hope for The Warriors and Mental Health America, two non-profit organizations providing assistance and support resources focused on mental health wellness.
“It’s bad we’re going through COVID-19, but fortuitous we are able to donate.”
— Richard Schultz, faculty adviser for the UOPX chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success
In total, students and the national leadership society donated $25,000 in scholarship funds. Twenty-seven students were awarded scholarship funds in increments of $500, $1,000 and 5,000.
Richard Schultz, faculty adviser for the UOPX chapter of the society, said the donation provided a bit of a silver lining during these difficult times.
“It’s bad we’re going through COVID-19, but fortuitous we are able to donate,” said Schultz, who is chairman of the University’s College of Health Professions. “We’re putting the money back into our chapter members’ hands so they can continue to do good work and create social change.
“With people hunkered down, they need to hear some good news, and this is great news.”
Just as the donation was aimed at helping others navigate these turbulent times, Schultz said the chapter ways adding ways to supports UOPX students too. As of mid-May, 208 of those had been awarded to members, with the vast majority given to students and alumni financially affected by the pandemic.
The chapter will cut checks for members, and they can use the money however they want, Schultz said. If they have been displaced due to job loss or furloughs, this money might help.
“They can pay for more courses, rent, diapers, food, whatever,” he said. “We’re not letting this money grow mold. We’re trying to get it back to our members hands at a very difficult time.”
For Dr. Margo Moreno, the chapter’s founding resident, the support for NSLS at the University has been greater than she could have imagined. The UOPX chapter launched in late 2019 and already has more than 23,000 members, including both students and alumni.
She said the fact that members consisting of both students and alumni have embraced NSLS in less than four months is beyond “amazing.”
“Talk about ‘be careful what you pray for,’” said Dr. Moreno, a strategy and human resources consultant and special projects program manager in San Antonio who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at UOPX, and most recently completed her doctoral degree in business administration.
“I was thinking we could help a few students with scholarship awards and a small collaborative community. How amazing that so many people and leaders see the value.”