President’s Pen: Student Alliance for Leadership and Education

Franklin Ortega


Delia Villanueva
Jaimie Jimenez
(Back) Arely Gonzalez. (Center, L-R) Alejandra Tafoya, Veronica Flores, Delia Villanueva, Dulce Sierra, Ana Chacon (Front, L-R) Oscar Gomez, Hipolito Arrieta, Franklin Ortega.


The Student Alliance for Leadership and Education (S.A.L.E.) was formed in the spring of 2008 by a group of students from the El Centro campus. The mission of the organization is “to unite students by promoting education, empowerment through leadership and contributing to the community.” The organization had some difficulties recruiting students and after the first two years, it became inactive. It wasn’t until the Fall 2011 semester that S.A.L.E. grew significantly enough to become active again, empowering students who primarily attend the El Centro Campus to become involved. S.A.L.E. has sponsored and co-sponsored various events such as Dance your Heart Out, Dr. Seuss Birthday, the Second Annual Latino Student Leadership Conference, annual toy drives and much more.


The organization took the lead in assisting with the Second Annual Latino Student Leadership Conference, obtaining the WEAVE Grant from the Student Union (SU). The grant’s purpose is to weave an intercampus tapestry of student-led programs with SU resources to enhance the community at NEIU. Many of the students admitted to the El Centro campus don’t always have the opportunity to enjoy the diversity of NEIU student organizations. S.A.L.E gives these students the opportunity to get involved at the El Centro campus since its members take the majority of their course work here. This fiscal year, they have grown from one remaining student to twelve actively involved students. All the members are mentees or mentors in the GUIAS mentoring program (GUidance, Inspiration and Academic Support).


Franklin Ortega, President

I was born in a small town called Azogues, in Ecuador. I migrated to the U.S. in 2004 after completing my secondary education in my country. When I arrived in 2004, I went to Maine East High School. At Maine East, I was part of the Latino Club and also involved in sports and other activities. I was an ESL student for the three years that I was at Maine East. I managed to learn English and graduate with my high school diploma in 2007. After high school, I continued my education at Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, IL. I was involved in several student organizations as President of the Spanish Club and Senator in the Student Government Association. I completed my credits at Oakton Community College in 2010, applied and began attending Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) in the Spring 2011 Semester. I’m majoring in Justice Studies and minoring in Latino/Latin American Studies. I love the university and everything it has to offer. I hope all my dreams come true and I become the first person in my entire family to graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree. I am ready to make a difference and put all my experience and passion moving forward. I wish everyone the best in their studies and that everyone has a great summer. Good luck with your finals and future goals.


Delia Villanueva, Executive Vice President

Hello, my name is Delia Villanueva. I’m a freshmen at NEIU’s El Centro Campus. I’m debating about a major in anthropology and mortuary studies. As a member of S.A.L.E., we volunteer with the community and other organizations, acting as a support system. The organization provides workshops to its members as well as mentoring opportunities. My goal, since this organization is based upon leadership, is to work on becoming a more positive leader. I will do so by applying for an internship at the House of Representatives. Doing so will broaden our connections, and I encourage you all to apply for this too if you are as interested in our government as I am. I spend my time socializing, helping the youth or those in desperate need of help with their homework, and looking for places that want my assistance. This organization is truly great, because I know I can come to them for help and I know they feel the same about me. Thank you for listening.


Dulce Sierra, Vice President

My name is Dulce Sierra, I’m a freshman at NEIU-El Centro Campus and I am pursuing a major in Accounting. I am a mentee with the GUIAS mentoring program.


Jaime Jimenez, Executive Secretary

My name is Jaime Jimenez and I’m a freshman at NEIU’s El Centro Campus. I am pursuing an Elementary Education degree with a specialty in math. My career in the future is to keep studying and start educating others in a few years. I’m also part of the GUIAS mentoring program. The mentoring program has impacted me greatly. I have become more confident during my time participating and it has helped me in many areas in my life.