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Institute for Civic Leadership an influential, treasured program

I had spent three years at Mills as a commuting student. I was approaching my fourth and final year and still did not feel the strong sense of community that is often said to be discovered while in college. I, like many students on campus, have had to work several jobs while continuing school and did not expect my collegiate experience to be anything like what we see on television; but I at least wanted to have a community of friends that I could be supportive of and who could be supportive of me. When I discovered ICL my junior year I figured I’d give it a shot. Since becoming an ICL scholar I’ve gained a community and so much more.

ICL has helped me fine-tune my purpose. I became an ICL scholar with the knowledge that the professional passion I wanted to pursue intersected the areas of law and financial planning. By developing my ICL grant project I have been able to conceptualize what I want to do in these areas. Before ICL I believed that what is actually possible for me today was only possible several years from now. I did not have the strong sense of power and even stronger sense of direction that is present in my life today. I am someone who is destined to do great things in this world, in part because of ICL. Through discussions with my ICL sisters, I have been able to further develop my professional plans for the future. Everyone may say that ICL has done something slightly different for them; for me I am able to approach graduation with a plan. Everyone’s been asking me, “So what are you going to do after graduation?” Because of ICL, I know exactly what that is.

It is a travesty that ICL is facing closure. I have learned so much and am very grateful for the experience that I’ve had. It saddens me that other students will not get to participate in this program. It further saddens me that my cohort will not get the funding to complete the grant projects we have been developing this past year. I know that my project will live on in spite of this, but it still hurts. After seeing the grant projects of last year’s cohort this past weekend, I was proud. I was proud to be an ICL scholar and a Mills woman because what those women have done is what this school is supposed to be all about. ICL is an incubator for women who want to create positive and civic change in their communities through their individual passions. To see that be taken away from future Mills women makes me question my beliefs about what this school stands for and what the College implies it is about.