LAS Competition Day

I was really excited to be apart of LAS Competition Day this year, because I felt like I had drifted too far from the LI now being aJunior. I wanted to be able to re-engage with the cohorts and the process as it has meant so much to me in my time at CMU.

I was given the responsibility of interviewing the incoming freshman and evaluating their performance. I was partnered with Michael Ignat, so we had a great time. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be going into it. First, we are so much further along in our leadership training and academic schooling, so I really had to be aware of that, knowing they haven’t learned everything they canyet that would make their responses better. I also didn’t have anyone really blow me away, which I was expecting. Because of all of this, the grading process was difficult collaboratively with Michael and I. There was also the added pressure of a time crunch.

I was really nice to be able to share my experiences within LAS but also have Michael there to give them an outside perspective. I think oneof the important tasks for us was to make sure they knew they would be welcome in the LI regardless of the outcome of competition day. I also got to tell me fun stories about LAS, which I always love. I do wish I could have been apart of more of the day as a whole just to see how everything else went, but I appreciated being trusted with such an important aspect of the day.

Overall, I really enjoyed the day of the event. There wasn’t much for us as a LEAD Team to do leading up to it,so that would be my only suggestion. Leave some of the planning to the team as a whole instead of just the co-chairs and the office. I would love to be apart of this day againin the future in whatever way I can.LAS dayLAS day 2.jpg

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CMU Dance Team

dance team

CMU Dance Team does a lot for the university and has presented me with a lot of opportunities. I attended almost every Men and Women’s basketball game at McGuirck arena, in addition to attendance throughout football season. I would like to give props to my team for their commitment. I know many people do not see dance as a sport, but we have practices at 6AM and are committed to representing CMU at countless athletic events. In my eyes, these girls deserve more recognition than this university gives.

This year, I had the opportunity to travel to Cleveland, Ohio for the MAC Tournament AND to Spokane, Washington with the Women’s Basketball team for the NCAA Sweet 16. These were a couple of my most memorable moments within this program and will be forever grateful for these experiences. I was able to make friends with several of the players this year, which too added to the successful experience.

While I was not able to attend Nationals this year, my team placed 2nd Place in Las Vegas at Dance Team Union Classic! I continued to attend practices for this process and was amazingly surprised how much bonding and team unity they exhibited. This is one issue I have had while being a part of this team. Girls are a complicated group, and I struggled with the cattiness associated with dance team culture. However, it was nice to see them come together when it counts.

The past two years on this team has taught me a lot, however I have decided this will be my last year in the program. I realized I was unhappy engaging within the group than I was enjoying the dancing. With this though, I had the opportunity to act as a mature base for our team and encourage genuine relationships. I also realized, dance was a part of my past, and there are other opportunities available for me at CMU that are apart of my future. I have a crazy amount of respect for my coach and all of the friends I made through the past two years, but it is time for me to branch out to new things!

Challenge By Choice: Speak Up, Speak Out

“Embracing Intellectual Growth, the Academic and Creative Life of the University”

Challenge by Choice: an environment where participants are asked to search for opportunities to stretch and grow during the experience.

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I attended the Speak Up, Speak Out event which took place on Thursday, September 21st from 7-9 at Central Michigan University. I typically find political forums to be uncomfortable due to the polarization of ideology; it seems like a recipe for disaster to me because any people have a hard time understanding ideas that are not their own. However, I thought it would be a good experience for my professional development, as I will be working in politics and with the narrow-minded individuals that are inevitably in the field I previously mentioned. The forum was called Student Political Engagement, a town-hall like meeting targeted towards my generation and our voting practices.

When I planned to attend the event, I thought it would give me the opportunity to voice my thoughts and ideas on the forum subject to industry professionals and professors, some of which were previous professors of mine. I chose this event as a professional development opportunity; I hadn’t thought much about the topic, but a realized after researching the event that I actually had ideas. I intended to use the event to fulfill “Embracing Intellectual Growth, the Academic and Creative Life of the University” for my Honors protocol.

While I was at the event, I realized how passionate I can be about everything. Going into it not knowing much, I was pulled in by a lot of what the speakers and professors were saying. I took a lot of notes too so I had some way to processing my thoughts.

Some of the things I referenced in my notes included:

  • Student Involvement and Civic Engagement is HIGH, while Political Engagement in LOW
  • Panel Question: Are individuals of college age the most passionate but the least involved?
  • Trust in government LOW, trust in individuals HIGH
  • Does FEAR contribute the extreme political agendas?

While I did not think I would feel comfortable enough to answer some of these questions publicly, I did. My personal answer to the previously listed question was I personally focus on civic engagement because I can guarantee I will have an effect and create immediate change. I cannot guarantee that the candidate I vote for will take office or even implement the change I want. Others spoke on this issue too and on how the polarization of politics has turned them away. It was impressive and sad that Millennials all felt so similar in regards to politics, but sad that these feelings are preventing people from participating in government.

I think attending this event allowed me to put my ideas into context. I never verbalized why I felt detached from politics until this forum, which was a beneficial eye-opener. I also challenged myself at the event by presenting my political ideas in front of the forum. I realized that I want to be one of the few students of my generation to enjoy politics and feel like I am making a difference through something other than civic engagement (though that is still very important). One of the speakers on the panel said democracy cannot survive if the people choose not to participate; I do not want to see America move away from a Democracy.

Aside from the actual content of the forum, I was given ideas on what other job opportunities exist for political science majors like me that are not standard. A female on the panel ran for mayor of Detroit, but also was creating economic initiatives for the city. I have restricted myself to think I can either be a politician or a lawyer when there are so many more opportunities. She was a Central Michigan graduate, too; I was seeing the experiences I have to look forward to after graduation or even the RSOs and clubs currently on campus related to this topic. This is how the event ties into intellectual and academic growth. Because I attended this event, I already plan to attend the next forum on immigration in the hopes of learning more.

 

LEAD TEAM: Grad Ball

Lead teams are interesting for me, because I am not used to taking a back seat in regards to event planning. Though I really don’t think I could designate time to coordinate a LEAD team, I really hate not having a very explicit and important role. I feel like I am following the motions for a lot of the tasks. However, they are fun because they allow for all the cohorts to get together; we don’t get much of this as we move up in the program.

So my LEAD team was in charge of Grad Ball, which hasn’t happened yet and is still in progress. I volunteered to be responsible for the graduate gift so I felt important, but we had to scrap that task. In our recent meeting, we designated committees to break up the work, which I think was a good tactical move. Hopefully, this will allow for each of us to get more involved. We have people for clean up, decorations, invitation, and others. I know the LAS grads really look forward to this event so I hope we can plan a great event for them. It is really the only  Really they just look forward to the gourmet cupcakes we provide 🙂

Pre-Service Reflection

I have only been to Detroit twice and I wasn’t allowed to leave the GM Building. I haven’t experienced a huge urban city, let alone the impoverished communities of Detroit. I’ve heard stories about the downfall of Detroit and the crime that came with it. There are the white flight cities of Detroit and then the enormous homeless and impoverished populations. Many say that Detroit is one of the most racially segregated cities in state. I heard the most about Detroit in my society course in high school. Shockingly, living in Michigan my whole life, I really didn’t know as much as I should have.

The Leadership Institutes mission is to develop the next generation of ethical leaders. This trip is so special because it is molding leaders other than CMU students. We, as a community, are expanding our reach state wide. As the children we serve ascend to leadership, they will expose others, who will teach others, and in the end we have a world full of ethical leaders. Being a servant leader entails building a community and being a visionary. The LI is recognizing Detroit’s need for help and putting worth actions to serve those who need us most.

I am really looking forward to this trip. I think this cohort has a unique dynamic and fun personality that I believe will give Jalen Rose an excited weekend. I also am excited to serve the Detroit area because I personally believe all of their struggles are things we as their neighbors have the potential to change.

Detroit

Multicultural Advancement Scholarship/Lead Team Experience

 

Pictured is a group of Indian students I met. This was the first time they had ever been to the U.S and their first selfie EVER

Pictured is a group of Indian students I met. This was the first time they had ever been to the U.S and their first selfie EVER

While I am a member of the Leadership Advancement Scholarship, I am also a member of the Multicultural Advancement Scholarship. As part of this scholarship, it is my job to be inclusive, aware, and an accepting contributor on Centrals campus. As part of my protocol for the scholarship, I am required to attend two cultural events for each of the cultural history months, including, African American, East Asian, Native American, etc.

It ended up being very convenient that I was placed on the Diversity Lead Team, whose requirements were to attend one cultural event each month. In regards to the Lead Team, I didn’t really have much of an experience, because I was already attending. I would like to suggest that the Diversity Team add a requirement to bring someone else to the events. As a group who is supposed to be culturally aware, it should be our responsibly to share our experiences and promote further understanding.

I actually learned a lot from attending the cultural events. One of the most memorable events I attended was Herman Boone’s, the coach portrayed in Remember the Titans, speech on race and sports. Besides Remember the Titans being one of my all time favorite movies, Coach Boone’s story is amazing. He seems so much bigger than life seeing him from a screen, but being present for his speech made him seem so real. He experienced nothing special for the times, but his ability to bridge the racial tension in an entire community makes him extraordinary. Another event that I enjoyed was the Keynote speaker about the Divine Nine, which if you didn’t know, is the nine black fraternities and sororities on Central’s campus. Before attending this speaker, I wasn’t a huge fan of the idea of “black frats” just because it seemed like it was furthering the racial gap on campus. But after hearing from the speaker, who shared the history and is actually a member of one of the Divine Nine, I was exposed to a new perspective. The purpose of this organization is upholding a tradition that back in the day was nearly impossible to possess. It is amazing how committed and loyal these members are to the organization. The only thing I left questioning was the University’s lack of appreciation. None of the organizations have houses on campus; they simply have a rock, a rock which was recently vandalized. For a community of people on this campus who contribute so much  to the culture and diversity, it seems like someone should take more notice in appreciating and recognizing their importance.

Being exposed to the MAC scholarship has opened my eyes to all the ways Central could improve in regards to cultural and inclusion. First, I am very concerned with the segregation that has been implemented into our campus.  Majority of the foreign exchange students are placed in Herrig. I would assume that they have decided to attend college in the U.S in an effort to experience that culture. We are doing them a disservice by not allowing them to experience interactions with American students. Just walking around campus, I always see international students together. The same thing can be said for LAS and MAC. As the “leaders” and “cultural champions” of campus, I believe it would be more beneficial to disperse us throughout campus so we can share our wisdom and inspire others to be better. Though I understand the reasoning behind housing these programs together, I think Central is missing an opportunity. I say these things despite my personal experience as well. I have personally loved living with LAS as they have become my best friends. However, I feel like I was given a job to perform on this campus, which I think could be expanded by distributing me and other LAS members through our campus.

It think the cultural opportunities we offer at CMU is extremely under appreciated. They are great learning experiences and I wish more people would take the time to try it out. I know I have personally grown as an individual from going and exposing myself to the unknown, as well as expanding the knowledge I already have. I highly suggest that ALL organizations encourage a dialogue about these free event the University offers.

MAC Scholarship @ CMU

Spark Leadership Reflection

As I’m sure many of my fellow leadership kids would agree, leadership camps have gotten a little boring. Many of us anticipated hating Spark because we didn’t think there was much more we could learn or experience. I was pleasantly surprised by my time at Spark Leadership Series.

I really enjoyed getting to know the members of Team Involvement! I think that’s what made Spark a better experience for me personally, because I actually felt a connection with the people I participated with. During Leadership Safari, we all just went through the motions and never established relationships, and to this day me and my group members don’t talk when we see each other. Since Spark I’ve seen and talked to multiple team members and feel like I even made a new friend.

I also feel like I learned something related to leadership that I can apply to my future experiences. Doing the leadership styles assessment was very enlightening to me because I received a result I wasn’t expecting. My primary leadership style was Systematic; that result wasn’t so much surprising as was the style I didn’t get. I really believed I was going to get direct leadership. I’m a very straight forward person, some may use the word direct, when it comes to projects, event planning, etc. But in reflection, I think that mentality comes from my need for organization. I was also surprised that before i received direct, I got spirited leadership! I am the most mellow, unenthusiastic person I know, so to be so wrong on my idea of leadership was definitely surprising. It gave me a new perspective on leadership though; I clearly have the power to be spirited when I need to be.

I would definitely suggest this program to others, because I really enjoyed my time. Though it did overlap with a class and interrupted my dinner time, I looked forward to going each week and think it’s a great concept. And I even played a few games I never had before!!

Structure built by random household objects to support a 16oz can of Pepsi: Mission accomplished

Structure built by random household objects to support a 16oz can of Pepsi: Mission accomplished

Connections Conference 2015

Connections Conference is a 2 day leadership seminar hosted at Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City by the Leadership Institute at Central Michigan University. Though it is an LAS protocol requirement, it is also open to all members of the university. This year we bussed 200 Central Michigan students and staff to participate in leadership development.Because this conference was meant as professional development, we were required to dress up. This was particularly fun for me because I love dressing up and you don’t have many excuses to in college! I would also like to thank the catering staff for the amazing food. My friends told me it was going to warm ham sandwiches all weekend and I was delightfully pleased with the 3 course meals.

Right off the bat, we were all randomly assigned into Institutes that would act as home base for the conference. This group and leaders focused on the asset/goals plan for us as leaders in our organizations on campus. They showed us how to set goals for our RSO at CMU, how to determine the assets we have to take advantage of, and the factors that have hindered our progress. This process is meant to create goals that we could take back to campus and implement and teach others.

The first educational session I attended was “It’s Not Me, It’s You” in which the topic was how to deal with difficult individuals in leadership, jobs, and life. I personally found this beneficial because there is never a time where you get to choose who you work with. Often times you have to bite your tongue and just survive. One of the things I took from this session was the process of addressing a conflict. My presenter stated, If something bothers you for more that 24 hours, you have 24 hours to then address it. If this time elapses, you must let it go. I never thought of frustration or annoyance as having an expiration date, but it completely makes sense. As leaders, we have to be able to continue to have meaningful and beneficial relationships with the people we work with so I believe this is a great philosophy for everyone to adopt.

One of the other sessions I enjoyed was presented by the one and only, Erin Gaken. First of all, her baby bump was absolutely adorable! Her presentation was “Men can Cry, Women Don’t Have To”, which was focused on gender stereotypes in the workplace. Typically, women are stereotyped as being emotionally driven, where as men are expected to be manly and less emotional. While Erin spoke, I realized how often I’ve accepted these stereotypes. But even so, I am an emotional woman and I enjoy men who can express emotion. At first glance, this doesn’t seem like it would relate to leadership, but on a deeper level, leaders must be accepting, understanding, and thoughtful. If we as leaders refuse to accept each individual for their character and personality, whether it be emotional or unemotional, weak or strong, feminine or manly, we cannot be effective. I found this to be most benefitial to me because I realized a stereotype I’ve been accepting and hope to adjust my mindset to accommodate all individuals as I am a leader of today.

To be honest, I didn’t anticipate making many strong bonds with anyone other than my cohort at Connections. But to my surprise, I met a man named Jack. To this day we talk on a daily basis and get lunch together or go to SAC together often. I really value Jack as a person, and I think he makes me a better person. Out of the whole weekend he is definitely my favorite part (yes, even over the water park), because I believe we will be long time friends. I think we were meant to meet each other to challenge each other, which is what the LI and the Connections Conference intended for us to experience.

Connections Conference 2015

Connections Conference 2015