Plunge into Leadership

letr-polar-plunge-logo.jpgStaff in the Leadership Institute organizes different teams for Leader Advancement Scholarship recipients to be on. This year, I had the joy of being on the Polar Plunge lead team. Lead teams have helped me over the past three years get to know members in different cohorts, work as a team and help in the community.

On the Polar Plunge team, my duties were to help fundraise, spread the word about joining the Leadership Institute’s team, get other organizations to create their own teams and help set up for the event. I reached out to my sales fraternity to learn they were already in the works of creating a Polar Plunge team.

The day of the event, I moved tables and chairs around and set up the changing curtains. I did this all in the morning before the event started.

With the help of our team, we helped Special Olympics raise money to send athletes to the games. We helped recruit others to participate in this wonderful event and spread the word about Special Olympics. We also helped assist in set-up for free, saving them money to put towards the athletes instead of hiring help.

This was the first year for this lead team, and as it continues to be a team I know it will grow stronger. We played around with what we were able to do to help the Polar Plunge event, so there is definitely room to grow. The suggestions I would give to future members to build what our team started are to pass out fliers teaching others how to build a team and speak about the event in classes.

I love Polar Plunge and want to look in to the opportunity of being on the student committee for next year’s event.

 

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Sisters for Life

In the fall of 2017, I went through formal sorority recruitment. After a week of visiting every chapter on campus, I found my home with Alpha Sigma Alpha. I knew they were the group for me when I realized how much our values aligned. I spoke to them about balance, integrity, service and faith. Everyone in the tent was sweet and genuine. I was excited when I opened my bid letter and saw the ASA crest.

Just after joining, I ran for a position that had opened up. My new sisters supported me as I ran for public relations chair. With their trust, I was elected. Since then, they have encouraged me and helped me thrive in the position.

Being in the chapter has allowed me to maintain being a strong student, Christian and member of the community. My sisters study with me, go to church with me and volunteer with me. There was one weekend where we all got up early to drive to Midland and volunteer at the Girls on the Run 5k (GOTR is one of our philanthropies).

Every semester, ASA hosts a mac and cheese philanthropy dinner and I had so much fun volunteering at that. Every sister is so passionate about our philanthropies and it’s wonderful when we come together and raise money for the S. June Smith Center, Special Olympics, Girls on the Run and the ASA Foundation. I look forward to the possibility of having our first philanthropy week next year.

Along with volunteering, ASA also gave me a mentor. We knew we’d be the perfect big/little pair as soon as we both learned our love for dogs, working out and Jesus. She has the same interests and passions as me and has been there through the stress of junior year. She was someone I turned to a lot and was always there with support. She wasn’t the only incredible person ASA blessed me with, I also got a new best friend.

I was supposed to go to a Christian conference in Indiana with some members of my chapter but the roads were horrible and covered with ice. I decided to stay home, as did my sister Makenzie. We decided to hangout since our plans for the weekend drastically changed. We went to the hot tub with our boyfriends, made dinner and played a card game together. We had so much fun that we have continued to hangout since then.

Makenzie has made a huge impact on my life this year from being a positive light. People say you become like those you hangout with and I’m so happy I have such a selfless and caring person in my life. She spends time volunteering every week, always offers support to sisters and saved a dog’s life by fostering him. She exemplifies what it is like to be a women of poise and purpose.

This chapter has given me strong bonds of friendship and laughs. It’s also given me the opportunity to step up and be a leader, even as a new member. I’ve learned how important it is to befriend people with similar values and passions. I’m happy to have gotten to work with new philanthropies I’ve never worked with, such as the S. June Smith Center.

For next year, I want to improve the bonds of sisterhood. I would like to grow closer to more sisters before I go alum. I am not sure if I am running for a position yet, but either way I will uphold the chapter’s values, serve as a role model and be involved. I will continue my current position until winter semester and keep striving to better Greek relations from what I have already learned. I am also planning on taking a little in the fall to mentor her. I will be there for her like my big has been for me. It’s important to be there for new members as they are getting acclimated because being in a sorority takes time-management skills. It can be hard making new friends and getting to know 80+ members. I am excited to help someone adjust not only to the college life, but the Greek life as well.

Taking on a Leadership Role

A month after I joined my sorority, the public relations chair stepped down. The position was open and I decided I wanted to run for it since public relations is my major. I received the position and immediately jumped on board with coming up with new, creative ideas. I thought it would be a great idea to paint large pumpkins for all the fraternities and sororities at CMU. I bought 23 pumpkins, gathered painting supplies and had a painting event with my sisters at the Alpha Sigma Alpha house. After the pumpkins dried, a few of us delivered them to the chapter houses.

All of the chapters were thankful for the gifts. I came up with this idea to maintain and increase Greek relations. When handing them out, I was friendly and tried to engage in some brief conversation to get to know people in other chapters better.

About a month and a half after I was elected in to the position, it was time for elections for the whole chapter. I ran for the position again and received it. Because the pumpkins were such a hit, I decided to hand out holiday stockings right before winter break and mini Valentine’s Day mailboxes in February. Again, the chapters were grateful for the gifts.

I believe I was able to increase our Greek relations. It’s nice to know you are cared about and these gifts expressed that. Each gift had a lot of time and effort put in to making it. The pumpkins were large and tailored to each chapter. For example, one of Phi Mu’s colors is pink so their pumpkin was painted pink with their letters on it. Many brothers in ASP like the TV show Rick and Morty so Rick was painted on their pumpkin. The holiday stockings had glitter paint and puffy paint on them, an ornament with their letters pained on it and lots of candy. The mailboxes were filled with many goodies. Nothing was hand-crafted in these, but there was a lot of work put in to making them still.

I want to take what I have learned in this position and apply it to my new position as Vice President of Alumni Relations for my sales fraternity. I plan on writing handwritten cards for our alumni to maintain relations with them. I have learned more about the power of communication and taking time out of my day to go the extra mile. I think handwritten cards will express that and enhance the relationship. My goal is to have more alumni involvement and attendance at events. Being public relations chair has set me up for success for this position.

Other duties I have as being the current PR chair for Alpha Sigma Alpha are to run our social media accounts, monitor chapter member’s personal social media accounts and work alongside the Vice President of Public Relations and Recruitment. Monitoring social media is hard, and it was even harder when I first took the position. It was difficult being a new member and having to ask sisters who have been in the chapter for three years to take posts down. After a while, it got easier. I asked sisters nicely and explained why each post had to be taken down. I also offered to speak with them if they had any questions regarding the social media policy.

From monitoring social media, I have gained more authority and confidence in my position. This is a skill I can take with me everywhere. I feel more comfortable asking others to stop doing things if it’s against policies because I have learned how to effectively do so in a way that does not anger anyone. I have also learned how to build a brand for a social media account by establishing ritualized posts or stories and maintaining a common filter theme. I am very thankful for this position as it has prepared me for more public relations work to come.

My Business Advantage For Life

Joining the professional sales and marketing fraternity, Pi Sigma Epsilon, has been a pivotal moment in my college career.

This year, I decided to dive in to professional development and networking opportunities by getting involved with sales competitions. I tried out for Pi Sigma Epsilon’s Regional Convention and made it on the team. I began preparing for the sales case as soon as it was released. A few weeks later, I competed against many of the top sales students in the region. My buyer and the judges were all recruiters from different companies.

That weekend, I applied my professional skills when networking with various recruiters and students, attending a career fair and dining using proper etiquette. I practiced carrying myself in a confident, competitive and sophisticated manner. I also learned new skills from peers at the competition. I was surrounded by many driven professionals all weekend, and the environment made me hungry to be successful.

I want to continue pushing myself outside of my comfort zone with these competitions. It’s a great way to learn and apply real-world sales skills, plus they are fun. After competing, I received a video of my role play and have reviewed it a few times to take notes. The feedback I was given from others and the notes I took myself were applied to my next competition at Quicken Loans.

There are so many ways to get involved, but I truly think the most valuable is attending competitions because I get to apply, practice and enhance my skills.

I plan to continue trying out for the sales competitions and being involved with PSE. It’s a great organization that I’m flourishing professionally in. At the end of the year, I decided to apply to be on the executive board for next semester. In the fall, I will be my chapter’s Vice President of Alumni Relations. I will continue using the networking skills I have gained to reach out to the alumni and invite them to remain involved with the chapter by coming to our events. I’m very excited to continue being a leader in this organization.

 

 

Alternative Winter Break: Access to Sports and Recreation

For winter break, I decided to give up a week to volunteer my time in Asheville, North Carolina. Eleven students and I packed our belongings Saturday night after finals and started helping on Monday. My group partnered with a YMCA in Asheville where we assisted them for the week. Tasks included: power washing buses, cooking rice, talking about healthy eating and exercising in schools, landscaping, sorting fruits and vegetables, and working mobile food markets.

The first day, we power washed three buses. Power washing was helpful to the YMCA because they were going to sell the buses and put the money towards programs for kids. We also had to push one of the buses out of the grass and into the parking lot. This helped the YMCA because without us, they would have had to pay over $150 for someone to tow it. That would have taken money away from programs.

Next, I headed to the kitchen.

I helped cook whole grain rice for students at a school so they could see healthy food can taste good. At the school, we handed out worksheets about the importance of colorful plates. With the lesson, students would be better informed on fruits and vegetables. At a different school, we facilitated a game of Simon Says. We incorporated different exercises to get students up and moving. Not only did it get students to exercise, but it also taught them different exercises they might not have known.

As much as I preferred to be inside where it was warm, I also had to put on work gloves and pull some weeds.

Landscaping helped the YMCA because they needed weeds cleared out for kids to be able to play. We did not clear out every single weed, but every bit helped. Somewhere down the line, some sort of structure will most likely be put in the area. In the past, students that went on the same Alternative Break installed a disc golf course and gaga ball pit.

Everything I did on the break was fun, but my favorite part was the direct service handing out food.

Many grocery stores in the Asheville area donate the fruits and vegetables that are not “shelf-quality” to the YMCA. The YMCA then sorts through all of the fruits and vegetables, throwing away the moldy and squishy produce. They keep what is edible, sort them in crates, load the truck and distribute the food in the community for free. When distributing the food, there is no questions asked about income.

Our role as a group was important because we provided extra hands. We allowed the process to run more efficiently by reducing the time it takes to sort and load the food. Because we reduced the time, we were able to load more food in the trucks before it was time to go. The workers at the YMCA said we broke their record for the most mouths fed. Not only is this important in itself, but we also did all the work right before the holiday season. The families we supplied food to would not go hungry on the holidays.

 

One thing I’ve taken away from this experience is to not waste food. Just because something doesn’t look picture perfect doesn’t mean it’s not edible. There are plenty of people in the world who would love to eat the food people throw away because it has a brown spot or is a little squishy.

Another thing I learned is tasks may seem little and easy to me, but they could really help someone else. Moving the bus from the grass to the parking lot took very little time and effort for the group. However, without us, there would have only been two staff members for the task. They could not have done it alone. This would have resulted in having to hire someone. I will keep this lesson in mind and remember that little things to me could make a huge impact on someone else.

COM 461L: Communication in Leadership

I am just finishing up my last class with my Leader Advancement Scholar Cohort, Communication in Leadership. It was a very informative and interesting class that focused in depth on different leadership styles and how leaders communicate with their followers. My professor was one of the most passionate and bubbly professors I have

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The leadership case study book

ever had, which made learning the content super engaging and fun. Half of the content came from a textbook, where we learned the topics of discussion, but the other half came from a case study book. I really enjoyed the case study book because it applied the lessons we learned in class to real life situations. Out of the nine cases my class read, a little over half of them dealt with effective leadership. The others were more about cases that could have been effective if different choices were made. We had many group discussions about the cases in class that helped me see why some case results were super effective, while others were problematic. For example, it is always important to make sure a leader’s motivation is for the right reason. It is also important to treat followers with respect and have good ethical standards. However, other topics I learned can be rated on effectiveness by the different tasks at hand, and the readiness and willingness levels of followers. One example would be being a democratic leader vs an authoritarian leader vs a laissez-faire leader.

 

Overall, I really enjoyed the class and I am glad I had the opportunity to take it with my whole cohort. It made group discussions and the class climate more open and collaborative. Everything I learned in class, I will be able to carry with me as a leader and apply it to my everyday life. I am glad this class is required for the Leadership minor, because even though there is content similar to LDR 200, there is more covered and it is much more in depth.

Adopt-A-Grandparent

Three semesters ago, I started visiting Maplewood Assisted Living Home once a week to see my adopted-grandmother. I got involved with the program when my biological grandmother went to an assisted living home for a short period of time due to a hip injury. I went home to visit her and realized how bored she was. Even with all of my family going to see her, I still wished she had more people to visit her. After returning to campus, I heard about the Adopt-A-Grandparent program and immediately wanted to join. After being accepted into the program, I was paired with an amazing adopted-grandmother!

I have been visiting my adopted-grandmother for three semesters now.  We always talk, do puzzles, and a month before Christmas break, she started to teach me how to knit. Let me tell you, it is way more difficult than it looks. Right now I’m making a dish rag that was originally going to be a part of my mother’s Christmas present, but now I’m aiming to have it done by Mother’s Day (you will receive it eventually, mom. I love you). I have messed up so many times and my adopted-grandmother has had to take a few rows out and fix my mistakes. But hey, as humans we learn through our mistakes, so each time I have to redo a row I know I’m getting that much closer to getting the hang of it. It is always fun to go and sit with my grandparent and knit. We also really enjoy doing the puzzles together. They are super relaxing and a good way to exercise the brain. I even did one over the summer at my house because I learned I enjoy doing them so much.

Over the past three semesters, I have really grown close with my grandparent. She is definitely a mentor in my life and I have learned so much from her. I have gone to her for advice, laughs, and support. She is such a caring individual and I really do see her as family. I have spent over 30 hours visiting my adopted-grandmother this school year, but I really do not think 30 is enough. Next year, it is my goal to shoot for 40 hours. It is hard finding time being a college student, but it is so rewarding and fun to go visit my grandparent. Plus, I will have a car on campus next year and can use the time I would normally spend walking as extra time visiting. I love visiting her and I plan on being a part of the Adopt-A-Grandparent program until I graduate. I also highly encourage everyone to get involved and apply to become a co-mentor for the program because it truly is a wonderful experience that I have grown so much from. To my adopted-grandmother, if you are reading this, thank you for being the best adopted-grandparent I could ask for!AdoptaGrandparentLogo maroon-gold WEB