Jalen is in his third year at the University of Michigan-Dearborn studying Electrical Engineering. For him, community is at the center of everything. Each day, whether on campus or off, he seeks to connect, to collaborate, and to influence positive change around him. Serving on the Civic Leadership Board, one of seven student filled positions whose collective and individual work is centralized on fostering a civic ethos on campus. Jalen has re-developed the Alternative Break (AB) program, which organizes service trips for students all across the country during academic breaks (spring, summer, winter). He has worked tirelessly to create a program culture and expectation of continued civic action. He has lead by example in showing that we all have the responsibility to be active, to learn, and to work collaboratively with our communities to create change. Because of his work, the program has nearly tripled in participants, communities served, and ultimately, the positive impact this program can, and will, have on communities. Jalen is currently working with campus and community partners to expand the AB program to create more opportunities for students to serve their communities and become active citizens.
With my involvement on campus, I always want to see students come together and do impactful things. My personal satisfaction means little compared to knowing others are becoming inspired. Passing on the torch is an important concept that will allow for long term change in any community. I see how important it is to constantly be giving new leadership opportunities so others can make their own impact. As the president of the Opportunity Scholarship program and coordinator for our Alternative Breaks program, my main role is to develop a platform for students to have learning experiences where they too can see how they play a role in shaping their community. With time, this community will have a legacy of passionate leaders working towards making a meaningful difference in the world around us. I too was inspired by dedicated leaders passing on this passion to foster change; now it's my turn.