Summer Leadership Institute

SLI is a five day advanced residential training program where we prepare our campus leaders for our education and advocacy efforts throughout the year. We equip students with the information, tools, and leadership skills to make a difference in their communities now and in the future.

Program Highlights

Across the five day span of our Summer Leadership Institute, participants will grow through a host of interactions with people who are experts at what they do and leaders in their own right. Whether it’s gaining hands on communications skills from media specialists or learning the tips and tricks of how lobbyists get their clients what they want, sessions are designed to be interactive and draw on real life experiences.

Students will take what they learn and engage their knowledge to craft a research project that will help them tackle the greatest issues facing young people.  They will also gain coveted access to elected officials and top business leaders before closing out the summit with a team-building trip.


Our program creates sessions that give students the education they need to become effective leaders and advocates for their issues.  Past sessions have included:

  • Understanding the Political Landscape in Richmond
  • The Evolution of Higher Education Policy
  • How to Lobby
  • The Legislative Process and How it Really Works
  • Media and Communications Training

These sessions are taught by experts in their respective fields and combined with other workshops and panel discussions to create a summit of engagement.  We bring the best of Virginian’s leadership together to shape our students into the leaders we need them to be.

Why should I apply?

Want to know why to apply? Read the testimonials from our 2013 graduating class:

“I went into SLI not really knowing what to expect. I began my affiliation with Virginia21 with the belief that college students can actually make a difference in the Commonwealth, and at SLI we learned about the steps to actually accomplishing that.” – SLI Graduate Will Morgan-Palmer


“I was excited to find out there was such a great support system within the Virignia21 student leadership and was glad to be able to become friends with many of them. It’s a passionately motivated group that works very hard for three days shaping the initiative of Virginia21’s upcoming year.” – SLI Graduate Karen Tirelis

How do I apply?

You can apply to the Student Leadership Institute here. 

The application and all documents must be submitted by April 27, 2015.

Documents include a current resume, unofficial transcript, and one letter of recommendation from a peer of your choosing. Please submit these 3 items to with the subject line: SLI Application: First Name Last Name.