Pine Mountain Settlement School Service Trip

What?  This spring break I was able to travel to Harlan County, KY with 17 of my sorority sisters to spend the week volunteering and serving the community. We cleaned up a playground, developed a new hiking trail, installed building signs, prepared informational postcards, worked at Little School, etc. It was a week full of lots of fun and service!

So What?  Pine Mountain Settlement School is our sorority’s national philanthropy. Instead of only writing a check or making a donation, we send girls to PMSS at least once a year to participate in hands on service that will make more of an impact than a check ever could. The area that PMSS is located in is one of the poorest counties in the nation and Pine Mountain provides many necessary resources to the community. The staff at PMSS is always so thankful to have extra hands on deck to help and it’s great to see the impact we are making.

Now What? My passion for Pine Mountain does not have to end now that I’m graduating. I plan to stay up to date with their programming and events as well as spread awareness. I can’t wait to see so many more sisters take a trip to PMSS and come back just as passionate as I did.

Academic Senate Committee Reflection

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What?  This school year I have served as a student member of Central Michigan University’s Leadership Council. We meet for an hour and a half every other Friday. There is one other student member and the rest are campus professionals.

So What? Serving on this council has given me the opportunity to participate in many conversations about the direction of the leadership minor and the LAS protocol requirements. I feel that as a current student in both of these areas that I was able to contribute a unique perspective to these discussions.

Now What? I am grateful for the opportunity to meet and network with so many great professionals and I look forward to seeing the changes discussed go in to effect on campus!

Alpha Sigma Tau Reflection – Year 4

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What? With my last year of college almost complete, I am painfully reminded that my days of being an active member of the group I’ve called my home away from home these last four years, is also almost complete. This year I have been fortunate enough to strengthen existing relationships, build new friendships, recruit almost 30 new women to join our chapter, finish my term as Chapter President, help transition the new e-board, and go on a service trip to our national philanthropy.

So what? Serving on e-board for two years in a row has been challenging, stressful, and tiresome, but it has also been so so worth it and I would not trade that experience for anything. AST has changed a lot as a group over the last four years, but our values and events rooted in tradition have stayed the same. I loved my position as president because I was able to reach and communicate with so many more sisters than I otherwise would have. I loved hearing the ideas that position holders had and their passion and drive has been contagious.

Now what? I know that now my involvement in this group will change. As I graduate and become an alumna member, I will not be actively participating in events but cheering from the sidelines and watching excitedly as new members fall in love with AST just as I did.

Panhellenic Council Reflection

What? As a member of a sorority, I also have the privilege of being a member of the Panhellenic Council that is at the heart of CMU’s Sorority Life.

So What? Being a member of this council for the last four years has allowed me countless opportunities. Service/volunteer projects, informational speakers, and cross council bonding events are only a few. I have also previously had the privilege of being a gamma chi recruitment counselor and representing the council to all potential new members during sorority recruitment. Being a member of this group has allowed me to build connections and relationships with sorority women outside of my own chapter and helped me to become a more values based individual.

Now What? As I get ready to leave campus after this semester is over, I know that I will always be welcomed back to this group at any time. NPC is the backbone that connects all sorority chapters to one another, as well as the local and collegiate community. I am so thankful for my time as an active member of the Greek community.

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Communication and Leadership Reflection

As a sophomore class, we took COM 461 L with Prof. Elizabeth Carlson. I absolutely loved this class! It was one of the first times that I felt like we were applying all of the skills and leadership theories we were learning about to real life situations. We were asked to do a lot of self reflection and think about how we would use these things in lives now and after college.

One of my favorite aspects of this class was when we discussed leadership styles on regards to communication while in leadership roles. After knowing my cohort for a year and a half, it was not only beneficial but also fun to revisit this topic with everyone.

This class helped to make me more aware of how I communicate with others, what I can do to be a more effective communicator, and what works best when I am working with leadership styles different from my own. This was the last class we all took as a cohort so while it was bittersweet, it was also one of the classes that left a lasting impact on my leadership journey.

ANT 200 Reflection

My sophomore year of college, I took Anthropology 200 – Education and Culture in place of SOC 221. After sitting down with Dan to review my schedule for that year, I felt that this course we would be more beneficial for me in my pursuit to becoming an educator. Dan agreed to make the substitution and suddenly I found myself enrolled in this class!

I found myself really interested in this course as it talked about the process of learning from infancy all the way through adolescence. This semester long conversation spanned across many cultures and included facets of home and school life. We also covered topics such as educational inequality and its long lasting effects.

A year after taking this class, I started my education cohort classes and was very grateful for the background and solid base that this class had given me. It’s important to understand many different cultures and types of people because in the near future I will have a diverse classroom all of my own!

PHL 118L Reflection

During my sophomore year, I had the opportunity of taking PHL 118 with my cohort. This course pushed us to research and present different sides of some very delicate topics such as abortion, assisted suicide, and same sex marriage. I appreciated the “safe space” that this class created for our cohort as it allowed us to be vulnerable and transparent with our feelings as we explored these issues in relation to ourselves, each other, and the world around us.  I think this class helped me to successfully articulate my opinion when respectfully disagreeing with someone and allowed me to feel secure in many of thoughts because people have different prior experiences and biases that may cause them to have a conflicting opinion, and thats okay.

LAS in the D – Round 2

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This school year I was fortunate enough to be on the LAS in the D LEAD team. This was such an awesome opportunity to work with leaders from all of the LAS cohorts as well as connect with the freshman and help them get the most out of their service trip. I think that my experience on this LEAD team as well as the service trip itself, perfectly aligns with servant leadership. The definition of servant leadership is “a philosophy and set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations, and ultimately creates a more just and caring world.” A lot of planning went into the trip and I am so grateful for all of the different leadership styles and contributions made by our team and the LI staff.

On Friday we visited Jalen Rose Leadership academy for a day of service with their students. We made welcome signs for SOMI, cards for veterans, activity bags for the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, and participated in an Okay 2 Say presentation. I loved watching the LDR 200 students interact and build relationships with the Jalen Rose students. I definitely feel like I accomplished my goal for the trip. After Jalen Rose, we went to PizzaPapalis in Greek town for dinner (YUM!) and visited the DIA for another type of cultural experience. At the end of of the day we got back into our color/number groups for a debrief. S/O to Tennessee Orange 1 for an awesome debrief! I loved watching the students in my group understand the difference we were making, not only for the organizations we were serving, but also for the Jalen Rose students as we helped introduce them to service and the different ways the could serve. Key points that we hit on were (1) the small stuff matters (2) anyone can make a difference (3) check your privilege and (4) cultural similarities/differences and how their perspectives shifted.

On Friday night, we stayed at the DNR’s Outdoor Adventure Center. Shoutout to Linda Walter (sorry David) for being so awesome and opening up this facility to us! It was yet anther cool piece of Detroit that I’m glad the freshman were able to experience. On Saturday we headed out to Cass Community Services which is an organization that provides meals, housing, and jobs for people that are homeless. We spent a lot of time talking about persons first language and our privileges before heading into this service experience. My color group spent the day making mud mats out of recycled tires collected from around the city! I was able to complete two mud mats but I wish we could have stayed longer because I really felt like I was making a difference in the community while volunteering at Cass.

 

LAS in the D Pre-Service

As the LAS in the D service trip is quickly approaching, I can’t help but miss the LAS class of 2013. It was with this group that I first experienced service in Detroit and I miss those crazy, passionate people more than anything! However, I am filled with excitement because I am able to go on this service trip for as second time; this time as a “chaperone.” Over the past several months our LEAD team has been working hard to prep, plan, and get everything in order for the freshman class that are going on this trip. HUGE SHOUTOUT to Eliza and Jordyn, our LEAD team chairs, for all of their hard work. Your efforts do not go unnoticed and this trip couldn’t have happened without you two!

This weekend I could not be more pumped to visit the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy for the second time. We will be participating in a day of service with students on Friday and then we will move to Cass Community Social Services on Saturday to do our service with them. My goal for this trip is to “help foster positive relationships between the LDR 200 students and the Jalen Rose students and to help all students change their perspective on privilege and stereotypes.”

Here’s to a great weekend!

America Counts and Reads

What?  This school year I was presented with an amazing opportunity to join an organization passionate about all of the same things that I am, namely education. I joined America Counts and Reads, which is a federally funded program that believes in aiding students that are struggling in math and reading. This organization believes in one on one help in the classroom and is a part of the Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center here on campus. I was offered the position of a classroom tutor and have been placed in a fourth grade and kindergarten classroom for their math lessons all semester.

So What? This organization has provided me with so many great connections on campus. We have trainings once a month where I get to interact and share stories with other tutors. I appreciate this time because without it, I would probably not know many of the other tutors as it is a job that requires independence. I also appreciate the training time because it gives us a chance to reflect on our service.

Now What? As a future educator, I am grateful for being able to be a part of this group of passionate individuals. I plan to utilize the skills and knowledge I have gained from this, in my future classrooms, both as a tutor and as a professional. I will continue observing my host teachers and taking their advice as I continue my journey to becoming an elementary school teacher.