Banner from the Art Reach promotional event in the Bovee University Center
At the beginning of second semester, I was brought aboard the Street Squad team, which does marketing for the student-run newspaper, Central Michigan Life. My duties include brainstorming promotional ideas and events for CM Life’s clients, run tabling and promotional events, attend weekly meetings, create presentations to pitch ideas for clients, distribute newspapers around CMU’s campus, and represent a positive face for CM Life. My first pitch I created was for Buffalo Wild Wings with a partner. We came up with ideas to increase awareness of vegetarian options and discount wing nights at the restaurant. The ideas were then put into an organized and professional presentation that I pitched by myself in front of other Street Squad members, my manager, and the Assistant Director of Student Publications. The pitch went really well, and the Assistant Director was interested in the ideas my partner and I came up with. Our ideas might even be possibly implemented in the future.
Street Squad is giving me hands-on experience outside the classroom. I am gaining real world marketing and public relations experience through trial and error right here on campus. Through advertising and promoting companies in Mount Pleasant, I am expanding my comfort zone and challenging myself with every tabling event. I am so thankful for all of the opportunities CM Life is providing me, and I plan on moving up in the office and advancing my skills as I move forward with this organization.
Everyone who attended the LAS Mentor/Mentee Retreat
I met my mentee at the Leader Advancement Scholar picnic the first week of classes. We had texted a few times over summer break and I sent her a college packing list, but we had never spoke in person until the picnic. Being a sophomore, I am a mentor to a freshman in LAS and I could not have been paired with a more perfect one for me.
Alexa and I did not get to talk much at the picnic because she left early, but when we went on the annual LAS Mentor/Mentee Retreat, I really got to know her. We guided each other through a high ropes course 30 feet in the air and placed our trust not only in the harnesses, but in each other as well. I am not one who is afraid of heights or trying new things, however I hesitated a second before leaning backwards and falling off of the edge to return to the ground. I was scared the man standing below was going to lose his grip on the rope that held me. With Alexa’s encouragement, my hesitation was short lived and I leaned back. Even though I am her mentor, I still learn and grow from Alexa.
As we ate lunch and dinner, waited for our turn to do an activity, and sat around the campfire, I learned that Alexa is a beautiful human inside and out. She is extremely talented, caring, and also knows how to be goofy with me. I could not ask for a more perfect mentee.
Unfortunately, Alexa had to leave for a semester, so I did not get to see her all of second semester. However, I will always be there for her no matter what and I cannot wait for her to return in the fall. I miss my wonderful and inspiring mentee!
This year I participated in the Special Events LEAD Team. My team was in charge of creating, planning, promoting, and executing special events for the Leader Advancement Scholars in the Leadership Institute at Central Michigan University. I met with the team a few times over the year, but we also communicated quite a bit through email. We held an event called LAS On Ice, which is an event that has been done for many years where all of the cohorts go ice skating together. My team came up with a date, time, location, and even a theme, superhero, to make the experience more fun for everyone. The team was split up into committees, and I was on the committee to take pictures at the event. There was one other person on the picture taking committee with me, but she was not able to make it to the event. It was my duty to step up and take pictures of the event and send them to the person in charge. Because I could not capture every moment myself, I asked my friends to send me pictures they had taken as well. One lesson I learned from being on the LEAD Team was to keep up with with all of the information that gets sent to me via email.Trying to get the agenda electronically was a little more difficult as opposed to receiving it in person because in person it is always easy to write down information when it is heard. With having dates and tasks sent, I always wanted to write them down later when I had something to write with, but I knew that I would forget to re-open the email so I had to stay on top of everything at all times. It took a little more effort than normal but I kn
ow this method of communicating information through email helped with my communication, planning, and organization skills. Learning how to effectively organize and write down information from emails with others will help in the future because so many people use email to communicate information. I have already started writing down all important information and dates provided in emails because I want to be reliable and never miss a thing, especially when I have a team relying on me.
As part of the the protocol for the Leader Advancement Scholarship, each student under the program was required to take Introduction to Debate. I took a debate class in high school, so I personally loved this class. Each of us performed in 3 different policy debates: a practice Parliamentary Debate, a Parliamentary Debate, and a Lincoln-Douglas Debate. The professor, Dr. Cory Hillman, did a great job with presenting the reasons for argumentation and the history of debate. One thing I learned throughout this class was the different fallacies people use to divert attention. It makes it easier to win arguments when fallacies are pointed out in arguments. My communication skills have become better throughout the semester from listening to other people’s points, processing them, and then effectively responding to the issues addressed. Overall, this class was very effective and enjoyable. I would encourage everyone to take this course.
The mentor/mentee retreat took place at Eagle Village, where we spent the weekend solidifying relationships with each other. There, I developed a deeper relationship with my mentor, Sam! Simply saying Sam is just my mentor is not an accurate description of her. She is there for me when I need someone to talk to or need advice. Together, we completed rock climbing walls, a high ropes course, and bonding challenges with the rest of our cohorts. There were times on the high ropes course where I put on a blind fold and trusted her to lead me through the obstacles safely. I learned it is okay to place your trust in others because it can lead you to success. I also learned it is okay to feel uncomfortable sometimes because it can make me grow in the long-run. Because my mentor has been such a positive influence in my life, I want to in turn do the same for my mentee. I will be a figure they go to for guidance and can trust in any situation. We do not only learn from our mentors, but they also learn from us.
My Leadership Advancement Scholar cohort traveled to the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City with one hundred and fifty other student leaders around Central Michigan University’s campus for a weekend long conference. We listened to speakers and discussed utilities around campus we can access to enhance our leadership skills. For example, registered student organizations connect us to multiple volunteer opportunities to help out all over campus and in the community. On Saturday night, every student and faculty member at the conference had a few hours to play in the water park. That was a lot of fun for me because during the day, I carried myself in a very professional manner. However, during the time in the water park, I had the opportunity to ride water slides and let my inner child shine. Later that night, all of the leaders met in a ball room to mingle and ask quest
ions to each other for two minutes before switching to another person. This was called “speed connecting”.
After evaluating the different utilities around campus to help me grow as a leader, I really want to become more involved at the Volunteer Center. There, they provide diverse opportunities to reach out to the community. One of the four speakers I listened to provided excellent information about time management skills. I engaged in an activity where I evaluated how much time I spend sleeping, eating, studying, in class, and having free time I have during the week. After taking into account where I spend my time, I am going to start mapping out my activities so I can use my time effectively. This will help me stick to tasks that need to be done so I can be a more effective and organized leader.
To be a leader, one must connect with other leaders and hear their story. President Ross of Central Michigan University came into my Introduction to Leadership class one day to discuss the journey he took to get to his position and take questions from all of the students. He also told us that leadership is the ability to take responsibility for when you have messed up and fix it. He also explained how communication is the toughest part of his job now. To deal with conflict, one must approach it head on. With honest face-to-face, most problems can be solved. Simple gestures travel long distances, and openly talking to another person about an issue builds respect. He stressed the importance of school and studying. He was very comfortable and engaged with us which made it easy to connect with him. Who else can say they had the opportunity to talk to the President of their University? That is pretty cool! From his visit to our class, it was clear he truly cares about his students and is passionate about his job.
From the President’s background, I have learned you can come from having very little and still achieve greatness. Anything is possible when you apply yourself. In college I am not only expanding my knowledge, but also extending a hand by volunteering and engaging in registered student organizations such as Program Board.
Some valuable advice I took away from listening to President Ross was, sometimes people are going to say things that are not true, but I still have to be myself and know where I stand. Also, I am going to take responsibility for my mistakes and own them. This is when a person grows and learns the most. CMU graduates leaders, and that is more than just a title. It is being able to work in teams, think, communicate, and be confident.