Skip navigation

Student Organization Presidents’ Fall Average GPAs Soar

Thu, 02/02/2023 - 12:34pm | By: Dr. Emily Holmes

Balancing academic success with leadership responsibilities outside of the classroom is no easy feat.

Each semester, The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Office of Leadership and Student Involvement (OLSI) works with approximately 175 student organization presidents, guiding and preparing them to successfully lead their student organizations. The fall 2022 semester saw a return to robust student engagement events hosted by the office and student organizations on campus, as students were excited to program without restrictions as they had prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While it could certainly be understood that balancing an academic course load with leading a student organization has its challenges, organization presidents rose to the challenge last fall and boasted a 3.521 average GPA, with 82 percent of them earning a 3.0 GPA or higher.

When discussing how student leaders found time to balance it all, senior Abby Attaway, fall president of Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity, said “While balancing life inside and outside of the classroom can be challenging, the process is so rewarding. My planner is my most helpful tool as I try to do assignments early, so I can attend other events and meetings.”

Understanding the importance of excelling academically is not lost on these student leaders. Raven Day, a junior and president of the Southern Miss Association of Black Journalists, said that “being able to prioritize grades while still being involved is very important to me. Being involved has allowed me to balance out the academic and social aspects of college while still being productive.”

Seeing the growth of student leaders is an impactful reward for the office. “We are always so impressed at the accomplishments of our student leaders each semester. Knowing they can achieve so much academically in addition to gaining experiences and skills through student organization involvement makes us feel confident we are graduating student leaders capable of entering and exceling in the work force and beyond,” said OLSI Director Dr. Emily Holmes.

Leading a student organization is also a transformative experience for students. Senior Kenny Ellzey, a 2022 Eagle Connection president, understands this transformative opportunity as well.

“Personally, it means the world to me being able to excel inside and outside of the classroom,” Ellzey said. “After serving in various leadership roles on campus, I’ve been able to learn more about what I want out of life and more about myself.”

The OLSI directs the student engagement experience on campus through its primary vehicle, student organizations. For more information, visit