Team captain makes an everlasting impact
By Kori Kay Obert
Quincy University has cultivated a number of students over the years who were prime examples of what an ideal college student should look like. Currently enrolled junior, Laila Leist-Alston is now that figure for QU.
Over the past two and a half years while attending QU, Alston has involved herself in numerous activities to better herself, her peers, and her school.
Alston is a student-athlete and as that, she has proven herself to be a good example for her teammates. This year Alston’s coach, Ethan Arns, gave her the title of head captain of the women’s tennis team due to her dedication to the sport.
“The reason I picked Laila for captain is that she thinks of the team before herself. She wants to better the team including the coaches.” Arns said. “She’s honest, humble, and has great character. She expects the best and wants the best for everyone.”
Alston takes her dedication to being a student-athlete one step further by being the Women’s Tennis Character Ambassador at QU for the Academy of Athletics in Character Education (AACE).
“This is a program that promotes opportunities for student-athlete character and leadership development,” Alston said.
Besides managing her time between school and athletics, Alston makes sure to keep herself busy by being involved in many on-campus organizations.
Alston is a resident assistant for the students living in Willer Hall. Alston is also a part of the Diversity Team on campus.
“The Student Diversity team is dedicated to uplifting the concerns and desires of diverse students at Quincy University,” Alston said. “We can develop initiatives that celebrate and educate the Quincy University community, as well as raise concerns to the university administration when necessary.”
Alston does not only want to be involved, but she wants to inspire others to become involved at Quincy University as well.
Alston is the secretary of the Circle K club. Circle K is a service-based club that provides constructive opportunities for students to become involved on their campuses and communities through service work to others in need.
Alston’s main focus is helping others and the community.
“I mainly try to sign up for every service opportunity that’s offered at QU,” Alston said. “I often go to the Quincy Humane Society with my friend, Haley, since I love animals, especially helping them.”
Haley Milazzo has known Alston for almost three years. She is now a roommate with Alston and is a teammate of Alston’s.
“Laila is a great leader to our team as she is very good with conflict,” Milazzo said. “She always tries to keep peace on the team and brings us together.”
As team captain, Alston has made herself a role model for her teammates.
“Her support is amazing to each of us and we are lucky to have her,” Milazzo said. “Laila has influenced me so much.”
Alston has plans to keep growing her influence on those in need. Her intent is to continue to impact the lives of others in the future.
“I am trying to start a tennis program my senior year for children with autism,” Alston said. “It would be in partnership with ACEing Autism or Love Serving Autism.”
Alston has big plans for continuing her journey to help others for a good cause.
“I’m planning on mentoring an African American high school student as an Equity and Inclusion project,” Alston said. “As a woman of color, I believe I can give her insight on my experiences with being biracial, along with understanding more about her experience as a black woman in the U.S.”
Alston has proven herself to be a prime example of what an involved college student should look like. She hopes her example will lead others to follow in her footsteps as a QU student.
“I hope that students are taking advantage of the many ways they can get involved,” Alston said. “Try and see what’s out there. You’ll be making an everlasting impact while also meeting new people with the same goals in the process.”