Community

Alpha Sigma Tau

{My home away from home}

With all of the stereotypes about sororities, here is why I joined one and how my experience is nothing like what you see in the movies. If you would have asked me as a senior in high school if I would be a part of Greek Life I would have laughed and said heck no. I, like so many other people, had these crazy ideas about sororities until I met my mentor, Emily. She is and was then, exactly like me but she was involved in Greek Life. Through her, my knowledge of sororities grew and I went through recruitment my Freshman Year.

September 30th, 2016 was the day I, and multiple other girls, jumped home. I found my home in the Central Michigan Chapter of Alpha Sigma Tau. Here, I fell in love with the colors Emerald Green and gold, sisters, Anchors, and philanthropy. I have so much love for my sorority and the women in it, I have no idea how to put it into words but I will attempt.

AST has given me so much this first year, and I always try my best to give back. For my new member class, I was the Historian, along with Shelby and we made the scrapbook, anchor, and teacup for the chapter. It was fun being able to see everyone’s different photos and have digital evidence of my class blossoming into our chapter. Currently, I am the Director of Fundraising and planned our Grilled Cheese Fundraiser. The Grilled Cheese Fundraiser is something my chapter does every semester and the money we raise goes to our philanthropy, Pine Mountain Settlement School. This year I planned our first ever Philanthropy week which was absolutely amazing. If you want to know more about Grilled Cheese and our Philanthropy week, there is a specific blog all about it! Also, I participated in the 2017 Greek Week, other chapter’s philanthropy weeks, and endless AST events. On Central’s campus, Alpha Sigma Tau has over 1,000 hours of community service for this semester, the highest GPA, and members from all parts of campus. We are a tight-knit, passionate, and welcoming group of people. Alpha Sigma Tau and all of my sisters mean the world to me. They always have my back and I always have theirs. When something happens to one sister, it happens to all of us because we support and love one another. Being a Tau is part of who I am today, it has made me more confident, compassionate, and strong.

Through AST, I found so many important people in my life, and yes they will probably be my future bridesmaids. First to my Twin Carly… after your sister told us we look more like sisters than you two, we started saying we were twins. Without all of our constant texting, a sleepover, forcing you to go to Leadershape, and being “mom’s” together I don’t know what I would do. You have helped me find my voice and place in a sisterhood of 70+ girls. My best friends Michelle and Ellen. With Garrett, we make our little Greek Life family. You both are always there for me when I need you most. Thanks for being my family and keeping me sane. My crazy G Brenna… without you I don’t know where Em and I would be. You make sure both of us have fun even when we are stressed to the max. Thanks for the endless HAPPs dates and laugher. Finally, the most important, my Big Emily. Em was my mentor even before I joined AST. After joining the same sorority as her, we only became more close. The past few months have been hard but we always have each other and I don’t know where I would be without her. There are countless more people who have come into my life and made an impact but it would take me years to go through everyone.

My version of “What is a Tau?”

A Tau is a mixture of a boisterous little girl, a troubled adolescent, a charming young woman and a wise old lady. She is a streak of gold and a flash of green. She is a Leader Advancement Scholar, Centralis Recipient, an Athlete, and anything she wants to be. She is a shoulder to cry on, never-ending “your mom” jokes, and a friend. You can find her studying at coffee shops, cheering on the football team, and scootering through campus. She is involved, kind hearted, driven, and passionate. A Tau is all of this and more. A Tau is my sister ♥

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Leadership Development

Leadership Launch

October 28th → Special Olympics Leadership Launch → Team MilkyWay Magenta

First and foremost this blog is a reflection about my Lead Team for the Leadership Advancement Scholarship. A Lead Team is a group of students in the LAS program who all work together for something specific like a workshop, Competition Day, or Grad Ball. My Lead Team was the Special Olympics and we facilitated a program called the Leadership Launch. As a team, we met once a week and planned for our day of facilitating and fun. Within our Lead Team we were paired together to be co-guides for the students coming to Leadership Launch and were given cool space names. My co and I were MilkyWay Magenta and I must say, we were the most out of this world group.

The Leadership Launch is a part of Special Olympics Project Unified. Project Unified promotes equality in schools and athletics for students with disabilities. Through this project, we created a day full of leadership and fun for students with disabilities and their “buddy”. All of the activities they participated in helped these kids see and think of themselves as leaders whether that be in their schools or on different teams. It was a period of time where these students could be whatever and whoever they wanted no matter what. It was fascinating to watch all the kids think about what they were learning and talk about applying it to their lives and how they could be the “leaders of today”, as Dan Gaken would say.

Something from this day that stuck with me more than anything was one of the activities we did with all the students. This particular activity was about their dreams for the world and how they wanted the world the change. In my group participants said things like they wanted a world that did not use the R word, a world with more happiness, and a world that was inclusive for everyone including them. When they were going around and saying all of their dreams and aspirations for the world, it was a very powerful moment for me. I have always wanted to work in Special Education and my family has always been very involved in Special Ed BUT that day, I had a moment where everything seemed to fall into place. It was a powerful moment for me and a time when   I knew what I wanted to do with my life and how I wanted to live. I knew then, that I wanted to make the world a better place for people with disabilities even if it is only one person.

Overall, this day was one for the books and it will forever have an impact on my life and how I want to live. Besides having fun and being involved with my passion, I learned something from the students there and from them I learned things about myself that I would not have learned without them. I now count down the days until I do my next event with Special Olympics because of the pure joy it brings to everyone including myself. ♥

 

 

 

Community

LAS in the D {Post Service Reflection}

LAS takes on Detroit • February 10- 11

{WHAT}

First and foremost this trip was an incredible experience. I was able to bond with many people in my cohort and the facilitators from the previous LAS cohorts. While the entire trip was only about  30 hours, we fit in so many different and tremendous expimg_4635eriences in multiple environments within Detroit. Here is a little overview of the 30 hours we spent in Detroit or ‘what’ we did while there. First, we went to Jalen Rose Leadership Academy and facilitated leadership activities for 2 hours with some of the juniors and seniors there. We were placed in groups with each group having  two head facilitators from cohorts above us, 6 students from LAS, and about 6 students from Jalen Rose. One of the activities we did was creating community standards which is always important when working in a group setting. Group standards are based off of what you want for yourself, each other as participants, and from the facilitators. From Jalen Rose, we went into the heart of the city and got a tour around Quicken Loans. While there they talked to us about their internship program and about everything they are doing for Detroit. Specifically one of the Vice Presidents, John Fikany, talked to us and his drive and passion for the company was astonishing and inspiring. Also, something at caught my attention about Quicken is that every employee gets a certain amount of paid volunteer hours so they all go out and help the community they work in. The packed day did not end there! After Quicken Loans, we went to the DIA or Detroit Institute of Arts where we were able to explore and just spend our time looking at the magnificent artwork. Finally, at the end of the day we went to the DNR’s Outdoor Adventure Center where we again were able to explore and basically just had a big sleepover. Saturdimg_4587ay morning we all got up and went to the Cass Community Center to volunteer for our last few hours. During our time volunteering at Cass, we were split into 4 groups that volunteered in 4 different places. My group, definitely had the coolest job; going to the warehouse to shed paper. Now you may be questioning why this was so cool to me. Let me wow you… they had bikes that powered their electricity and we
were able to ride them and make CLEAN ENERGY. How awesome is that? Once we were done serving at Cass we all loaded back onto the buses and made our tired way back to Mt. Pleasant where I proceeded to crash after an exhausting and exhilarating 30 hours.

{SO WHAT}

On to the actual substance of the trip and what we actual were able to do in Detroit for 30 hours. As a cohort we were able to do experience so many different environments in Detroit and impact so many different placimg_4636es. Now the question is so what did we learn while in all of these different places and how do they come together to create a learning outcome. For myself, being in Detroit pointed out how many times things are not as they seem. Living in the Upper Peninsula, we do not really go in-depth with places such as Detroit and what’s going on there. But after I went to Detroit and actually learned more about it I understood that it is no longer this sad once upon a time city but it is making a come back in many big ways. Also, I learned and built on my ability to put myself in others shoes and understand what they are going through. Finally, I did not so much learn this but was reminded about how fortunate I am. Seeing some of the more poor areas of Detroit opened my eyes because getting a B on a Phonetics exam in not even close to the problems that too many people who live in Detroit deal with.

{NOW WHAT}

The big question is now what? What am I and my LAS cohort going to do as a result of  being in Detroit and learning/ experiencing so many different aspects of it. Personally, I am going to look more into the history of Detroit and what really happened to make such a great booming city fall. I want to learn about the different aspects of Detroit’s fall and the different opinions of what happened to Detroit. Furthermore, I want to understand what people are now doing for Detroit. While at Quicken Loans  and the Cass Center we learned a little bit about what they specifically are doing but I want to go deeper and understand many of the different projects happening in Detroit to make it a wonderful booming city again. One of the specific projects I would enjoy learning more about is the River Walk and what the city is doing to make that place into somewhere everyone wants to be.img_4552

Another part of my “Now What” and what I want to do after being in Detroit is in general do more service for people who truly need it. I have always been passionate about volunteer work and since coming to college I kind of fell out of my hard-core service groove and have not done as much for others. This is not to say that I do not do any service, I am apart of a solely service based organization, it is just to say that I do not do as much volunteer work as I used to. However, after Detroit, I was reminded of how much I love serving others and how it not only brings joy to me, but also to the community around me. My ‘fire’ was lit again and I now have the desire to help more people and do more service for the communities around me.

Finally, the last part of my “Now What” is remembering to count my blessings. After walking through poverty-stricken communities within Detroit, I feel I need to go back through my everyday life and look at everything I have to be thankful for. People in Detroit are building their lives and city back up from nothing. Volunteering there really opened my eyes to this fact and the fact that I need to be more thankful for what I already have. Lately I have been stuck in a rut almost and frustrated with so many things like my major and other odds and ends in my life. In reality I am extremely lucky and needed to be reminded of that. I go to a wonderful school that I got scholarships for, I have met some of my best friends at college, and I have a bright future ahead of me. So here’s to acknowledging my blessings and counting than everyday

For more about this trip read my Pre LAS in the D blog. Also, for another service event I participated in read my Special Olympics Blog.

Community

Pre Service Trip Reflection

Pre Service Trip Reflection → LAS in the D → February 8th 2017 → LDR 200

This Friday my LAS cohort will be traveling to Detroit to spend Friday afternoon through Saturday afternoon there serving the community . Friday we have the privilege of volunteering at the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy and facilitating student leadership which personally I love and am very passionate about. Then we get to tour Quicken Loans and learn about the different internship and job opportunities they have and a bit about the company overall and what they are doing for Detroit. That evening after Quicken we get explore the DIA or the Detroit Institute of the Arts. Finally, Saturday morning we will be volunteering at the Cass Community Social Service Center where we will be doing different jobs they need help with. If you want to know more about Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, the Cass Community Center, or the DIA just click the highlighted links and they will take you to their different websites. On to a little more in-depth part of the trip and two question we the bloggers of LDR 200 had to ask ourselves before leaving for this exciting trip.

The first question we all have to ask ourselves before leaving on the trip is : What social issues in Detroit are you aware of? How have you learned about these issues? Personally, I did not know many of the social issues in Detroit before our LDR 200 class. We had a professor here at Central come in and talk to us about a few of the social issues going on in Detroit and she explained how and why they started. During this class sessions I leader about the large issue of racism that has been going on for many years in Detroit. Furthermore, we went deeper into learning about how Detroit ‘fell’ because of the racism and mainly into the discrimination and sectioning of the African Americans. This sectioning drove many people out of the city and into more urban areas and through that the city started to basically ‘fall’. Most of the things I have learned about Detroit are from our LDR 200 class in preparation for this trip especially living in the Upper Peninsula we do not truly understand what is going on below the bridge.

The other question we need to answer before the trip is : In what ways does this service learning experience to Detroit relate to the purpose and vision of the Leadership Institute? Below are the purpose and vision for the Leadership Institute for reference. However, personally for purpose it is all about getting us {the students} ready to be leaders in challenging different places. This trip definitely does this and gets us out of our Mt. Pleasant comfort zone to bigger better places. Also, this trip puts us into a challenging place of being the facilitator instead of being the participants. As for vision, we are going out and actually improving the quality of others lives through our leadership. We are volunteering in the community the people of Detroit live in and making it a better place to live, work, and love. Overall, this trip to Detroit is a directly related to the vision and purpose of the Leadership Institute in many different ways. 

The Leadership Institute Vision and Purpose : PURPOSE: Central Michigan University is committed to preparing Michigan’s students and citizens for leadership roles in an increasingly complex and challenging society. VISION: The Leadership Institute prepares the next generation of individuals who will act responsibly to improve the quality of life, state of the economy, and communities in which they live and work.

Image result for Detroit

Service

Winter Special Olympics

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Michigan Special Olympic Winter Games 2017 • Jan 31- Feb 3

This year I had the privilege of volunteering for the Michigan Special Olympic Winter Games. I was one of the many Central Michigan students able to volunteer with the athletes all week in Traverse City. There were so many volunteers at the games and each of us was assigned to a specific place/ competition. I was lucky to be assigned to the best place of them all with the best volunteers and Games committee members; Cross Country Skiing! It is kind of weird to say, but it felt like we were a family after a week of little sleep, broomball, naps, and cross-country competitions every day. I felt close to everyone on our team and it was remarkable to watch people have very different and wonderful experiences throughout the week. I got to know even more people from CMU who share my passions. Something else that was really cool was getting to spend time with Paul, one of my parent’s best friends from college. He started volunteering for Special Olympics with my dad back when they were CMU students and he still volunteers. We hope to get my dad to join us next year!

Here is the week through my eyes: The bus full of excited volunteers left school on Tuesday morning. Upon arriving in Traverse City, we attended a meeting with our assigned groups and started to get to know one another. Then we all made snowflakes for the opening and closing ceremonies, and not little ones, but very large funky snowflakes to decorate the room. Tuesday night we had our first volunteer ‘party’ where we bonded eimg_4530ven more with our group and even got to eat some pretty delicious food. The next morning came with the bright and  early departure time of 6:30am to get us to the ski course to set it up for the athletes. Although it may have been cold and early, there was so much excitement in the air that no one really cared about the early hour. We spent the day with whatever task we were assigned to. My assignment was doing math all day! Math does not sound like the most fun activity but the actual assignment was calculating and recording all of the athlete’s times. I may have been able to sit in a car to do all of this math, but don’t be fooled it was still very chilly because I had the windows open all the time so I could hear and get the time cards (it was better than outside though). Paul thought it would be funny to take a picture of me sitting in the car and send it to my dad!  My favorite part about the job was getting to see the background work that went on and seeing all the hard work that had to happen to put the games on. This was basically the schedule for Thursday and Friday as well. We would go to our volunteer parties, sleep a little, wake up early, and head to the course. One of the best times of the day was lunch when all of the CMU volunteers would eat fast and then head into the lodge, put the fire on and nap for an hour. It was beautiful. Opening ceremony kicked off the games on Wednesdaimg_4525y and closing ceremony concluded the event with a dance on Thursday. This was time we were able to just have fun with the athletes and watch them have so much fun, it was a blast! Both of these events were fantastic, but the dance was a special treat because all of the volunteers and athletes just got to relax and enjoy the event all together. Let me tell you, all of the athletes really know how to enjoy a dance. Their joy and happiness to be there was contagious. Besides being with the athletes, I mentioned our volunteer parties and broomball. These all took place at night and offered a time for all of the volunteers to get together, bond, eat, and have fun.

Although I may have missed the week of school nothing can compare to what I learned at Special Olympics. I am now counting down until I can go again next year!

Leadership Education

Leadership Lectures

Leadership Lectures › Connections Conference › Workshop Sessions

While at the Connections Conference, I had the privilege of attending three Leadership Lectures that I would like to highlight for you. If you would like to know more about the conference in general I have another blog titled Connections are Leadership. But, here are highlights from the wonderful workshops I went to and I hope you enjoy them and find a little nugget to take away.

{Jesi Ekonen • Happy Hour}

Let me just start off with saying that this was one of the most amazing workshops I have attended. Jesi {although I may be a bit biased since she is the LAS advisor} was a great presenter and the entire workshop was engaging, well put together, and had great content. I seriously felt happy after this workshop and I felt ready to do more with happiness in my leadership and everyday life.

So, the first thing we did was write down what happiness is to us and what happiness is not to us. For me happiness is music, movie nights with friends, Facetiming my mom or boyfriend, spending time with my friends, skiing with my dad, life talks with Em, snuggles, mac & cheese, cozy clothes, family, Christmas time, and of course coffee. On the other hand, for me happiness is not fake people, disrespect, stress, people who blow things off, global warming, and very very cold weather {like right now}. Then we started talking about a company called Zappos and their goal of Spreading Happiness Globally. Zappos is an online company BUT their main priority is having the best employees with the best customer service. From that priority came their long-term mission to spread worldwide happiness. This goal is backed up by their ten core values which are below for you to browse. After talking about Zappos, Jesi talked about how we are leaders can adopt that enormous goal and live like Zappos. Also, she went over how as leaders or even followers we can be that happiness and bring it into our different groups to improve and enhance what we do. A few of the points Jesi went over were, the importance of love languages, positive team spirit, the ability to trust everyone in your organization, and in general how to make things more fun. Furthermore, Jesi expressed the importance of recolonization, building others up, and being intentional.

Now here are some of my personal takeaways from this workshop and what I am trying to do within my organizations. It is extremely important to connect with your group on a personal level because that will develop trust and overall happiness. Also, make the things you do all the time more fun and enjoyable for people. If you do that, more people will participate and they will be happy to do so. Finally, encourage your followers. This is perhaps the most important aspect I learned because if people are encouraged and supported they will be able to achieve anything and as a group you will be able to do anything and everything.

Zappos Ten Core Values:

  1. Deliver WOW through service
  2. Embrace and Drive Change
  3. Create fun and a little weirdness
  4. Be Adventurous, creative, and open- minded
  5. Pursue Growth and Learning
  6. Build Open and Honest Relationships with Communication
  7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
  8. Do More with Less
  9. Be Passionate and determined
  10. Be Humble

{Kaela Humm & Royce Humm • Growing your Goals}

This workshop was an outstanding help for me because while I do have many goals, I do not always write them and I do not always plan specific ways to achieve those goals. Also, during this workshop we were very specific with the goals we developed. I found this very helpful because many times I am not the most specific person when it comes to creating goals. Finally, the Humm’s, our presenters, were fabulous in the way they presented and with their depth of  information. Here is what I learned from this workshop and some of the goals I developed during the session.

First, we talked about SMART goals which are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely goals. The Humm’s then went further and discussed objectives which are specific tasks you need to complete in order to accomplish a goal. They also talked about managing your priorities. A few ways you can do that are by deciding what makes the largest impact, what is the easiest, which one will take the longest, and what aligns with other goals. After explaining goals and how to make them, we {the participants} were able to create goals of our own. Several of my goals are; “get into the CDO major fall of 2018”, “Be on E-Board for my sorority for the 2017-2018 year” and “Get a position in my sorority for the 2016-2017 year”. One of the goals I already achieved is getting a position in my sorority this year as a freshman. I plan on achieving all my other goals with the help of this workshop and planning out exactly how I will accomplish them. After goals, the Humm’s went on to talk about mission statements, what they are and how to make one. Overall, mission statements are the purpose or what you tell someone when they ask why you’re here. Concerning mission statements, you have to think about what motivates people and why you are doing whatever you’re doing. The example we went over was Disney’s mission statement which is “We Create Happiness” and that comes before everything else no matter what. Consequently, they then challenged us to create our own mission statements. In the end mine states, “As a person I strive to be an accepting, respectful, and caring human. In the world I will be an ethical, compassionate, and gracious leader in whatever I do”.  All in all, I took away so much from that workshop and now will be able to make SMART goals and accomplish everything I put my mind too.

{Jamie Brown • Taking Care of your Leadership Garden}

This was another valuable workshop I attended while at the connections Conference. This session was all about how to grow your leadership and how to understand what your followers need. So here is the Taking Care of your Leadership Garden workshop, what we did and what I learned from Jamie Brown.

The first concept Jamie Brown talked about was different ideas to plant {like seeds}. A few of the ideas include identifying weak spots and working on them, intentional acts of kindness, making board positions more fun and interactive with the entire club, more reaching out throughout the entire club not just with friends, nurturing people so they are supported and productive, and having a great sense of trust with members or followers. Then we moved into discussing what followers need in our different organizations. For followers needs in my organizations, I put more encouragement, more interaction, better communication, incentives to complete goals, more direction, stepping in when needed, modeling enthusiasm and positivity, and more opportunities in general. Next, we talked about what a leader should be and how you can grow to become a great leader. Several characteristics that make a great leader are being able to engage people even after the first few weeks, having a vision, being able to switch between leadership styles, seeking input, and making people feel comfortable. Also, we talked about playing into your strengths and if multiple people are in a leadership role play into everyone’s strengths and some people can be direct and some be supportive.

10 Tips for Successful Leadership:

  1. Make Good use of your resources
  2. Start with engaging your team and keep improving it
  3. Plan a vision for yourself, team and organization
  4. Obtain good mentoring, advice and support
  5. Control for chaos and challenges
  6. Establish your moral principles and do what is right
  7. Listen to issues and identify before jumping to conclusions
  8. Visit your team, vision, and role daily
  9. Only lead when it’s necessary
  10. Work to get your team to peak quality

Leadership Education

Choosing Civility

LDR 100 • LAS Group Project • December 7th

Overview:

This is a blog about the book my group read for our LDR 100 group presentation. The book was Choosing Civility and my group was myself, Sarah, Riley, Jacob, Billy, Julia, Ash, and Vanessa. The book Choosing Civility is about the 24 rules of civility which is by definition “formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech”. These 24 rules  describe how to live life and treat people with civility. Furthermore, it is explained that these rules help create caring leaders and overall, develop care for others. Personally, I appreciated the book and enjoyed reading the different rules. Also, I liked learning about how to adopt the 24 rules into daily life in order to become a better person and leader. Overall, the book gives the reader ways to become a better human in the world we live in today and with one comes many.

Project:

For our project that went along with the book we chose to do two smaller projects. Concerning the first project, we went around Barnes, the Leadership Institute, and North Campus handing out positive affirmations. A few of the quotes/ notes we handed out were… “Dream Big”, “Worry less & Smile more”, “Believe in Yourself”, and Happy mind, Happy Life”. With the positive affirmations we handed out over 100 little notes to many different people {Hopefully brightening their days}. It was wonderful to see the people smile when we handed out notes or say that it’s just what they needed today. Through this project we choose civility and spoke kindly to others. During the next project the 8 people in my group make positive notes for specific people in our LAS cohort. I had 6 people to write notes about and really tried to make them personal and loving. My 6 people were my best friend Ryan, my roommate Olivia, my AST sister Ellen, my friends Mary & Blake, and my soon to be roommate Alexa. Knowing these 6 very well, I was able to write more about them, refrain from idle compliments and acknowledge them.

What I Learned:

To become a good leader and over all human you must CHOOSE CIVILITY every hour of every day. Furthermore, you can make a huge difference by considering these 24 rules and living by them. Even if it’s just one person you will have a positive impact on their lives and positivity flows from person, to person. Also, it is ok to mess up, we are only human and it happens, but if you follow the rules they will become a part of your life and you won’t have to think about it. Finally, I learned how to adopt the rules into my everyday life whether I am a leader or not. It is about changing the world one civilized person at a time, but as I said before, you only need one person to start a movement and positivity is a movement.

The Rules:

  1. Pay Attention
  2. Acknowledge Others
  3. Think the Best
  4.  Listen
  5. Be Inclusive
  6. Speak Kindly
  7. Don’t Speak Ill
  8. Accept and Give Praise
  9. Respect even a Subtle “No”
  10. Respect Others Opinions
  11. Mind your Body
  12. Be Agreeable
  13. Keep it Down
  14. Respect other People’s Time
  15. Respect other People’s Space
  16. Apologize Earnestly
  17. Assert Yourself
  18. Avoid Personal Questions
  19. Care for your Guests
  20. Be a Considerate Guest
  21. Think twice before asking for Favors
  22. Refrain from Idle Compliments
  23. Accept and Give Constructive Criticism
  24. Don’t Shift Responsibility and Blame