Originally published in the 2017 Alumni Magazine.
Eric Bishop may be busy investing in his future at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, but that hasn't stopped him from investing in others through Students Today Leaders Forever (STLF). A junior majoring in computer engineering and Spanish, Eric leads the STLF chapter at Iowa State with four other students.
His journey with STLF began in Minnetonka, where he first participated in a STLF Pay It Forward service tour in 10th grade. The tours generally include 40 middle school or high school students led by college students who stop at cities along the route for service projects. The group will do a morning project, then make an afternoon college visit or tour local sites. He has also participated and led numerous summer camp opportunities. The college volunteer trips focus on helping communities across the nation.
"STLF has helped me grow as a person and a leader," Eric says. "I've had so many amazing experiences with the service projects."
Inspired by his high school experiences, Eric convinced three friends to join him in establishing an Iowa State chapter. They lead annual service trips and have 100 active members. His freshman year, one stop was helping a church with items to be donated to refugee families.
"They said it would have taken them three months to get done what we accomplished in three hours," Eric says.
The team is busy training new leaders to replace them before they graduate. Eric's legacy continues in his family as well. His eighth-grade sister now participates in STLF.