This year I wanted to try something new for community service. Going on an Alternative Break through CMU was something that I always wanted to do but it never lined up right with my schedule. This year though I finally had the opportunity to sign up for a winter break. I set my alarm for 7:00am and ranked all the breaks that were available. When the morning came I was lucky enough to get a spot on the break that focused on Animal Rescue. Throughout our numerous meetings, I was able to get to know the other participants on the break and the site leaders. I also found out that we were going to Florida to volunteer at the Everglades Outpost. Read more
I decided this year to join another registered organization on campus to get more involved. I was introduced to the National Society of Leadership and Success by my roommate. She became apart of the organization last year and was able to take a leadership role within her first semester. So I decided to join the organization and ended up taking the role of Community Service Chair.
When I agreed to take the position I talked to the old President about the responsibilities of the role. However, she was resigning and never told the new President that I would be taking the role. Even though it was a small thing, this was a glimpse into how unorganized this group was. The new President expected very different things from me than what I was told when I accepted the position. Throughout the semester, it became more clear that this was the President’s first time in charge of an entire organization.
She tried her best to fix things in the organization and it was obvious to us all that she was very passionate about leading NSLS in the best way but she had one major downfall. This is that she was not good at delegating at all. She would take on the responsibilities of the positions of people she didn’t trust and wasn’t the best at communicating when she changed something. This lead to unorganized chaos throughout the entire organization. One of my friends who was also in the organization asked me a question about one of the events because I was on Eboard but I knew just as little as she did.
Overall, joining this organization was a major learning opportunity. I saw first hand what it was like to have a leader who didn’t trust her followers and who was uncomfortable with having other people in charge. It just goes to show how important delegating and communication is in an organization.
This year I took on two different positions in my sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta. The first was as Activities Coordinator. In this role I was responsible for planning paddle parties, practices for IM Sports, and keeping track of the number of activities each sister was involved in. The position was pretty low-key but it gave me experience and insight as to how Alpha Gam was run.
I was elected to take the role of Ritual Coordinator this semester, which is a much bigger and more important position. I am not allowed to say exactly what I do in my position but I am responsible for opening ritual during meetings, dry weeks and for planning the initiation of our new members. This proved to be the most difficult of all the tasks. After getting elected, I started planning for the week, but it is one of those things that you have to wait until the week of to do the majority of the work.
Initiation lasts a full week with events and ceremonies every night. I was in charge of finding volunteers to fulfill the needed roles for each ceremony and for reminding our members about the values that we all strive to live by. This week turned out to be one of the most stressful weeks of my life but it was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. Seeing the look on our new members face after getting initiated and how excited she was to become an official sister made everything worth it.
As with everything you do for the first time, there was a learning curve that went along with the week. Of course I learned more about the timing of events and how to stay the most organized in order to keep things running smoothly. More importantly however, I learned how to be someone dependable, how to be a good friend, that helping in anyway may not seem like a big deal but to the person you are helping it can mean the world. I learned all these things from others because this is what they did to help me. Having been in that position means I now know the best way to help others out during events, a quality that I believe is extremely important.
For my LEAD Team this year I had the opportunity to volunteer with Special Olympics during the second annual Leadership Launch. It is a program directed by the Special Olympics of Michigan and ran by student volunteers from Central Michigan University. We invite high schools to send their students with disabilities and the students who help these children to come to Mount Pleasant for a day, where we educate them on how to be inclusive and how to promote inclusivity in their schools.
Each we my LEAD Team meet to have trainings and learn how to facilitate the different activities throughout the day. This year, my team focused a large portion of our trainings on how to use inclusive language. I am so happy we did this because it has changed the way I think and talk about others. I learned to put the person before their disability like saying “the child who is deaf” instead of “the deaf child” and that very common sayings such as “Please raise for the playing of the National Anthem” are not considered inclusive language. Since these trainings I have noticed how common it is for people, especially students, to use un-inclusive language.
Instead of leading a group of kids through all the activities during the day, I was chosen to facilitate on the the activities with another CMU student. Our lesson throughout the day was that when we all come together we can make something bigger than ourselves. We did this by having the students color in random puzzle pieces and then place them on the board. At the beginning of the day, no one could figure out what the puzzle was making but as we collected more and more pieces the meaning became clear.
After the first couple groups we realized that the coordinates for the puzzle were wrong so it became an actual puzzle for us to do. With the help of nearly everyone working on it during lunch and at breaks throughout the day we were able to get it finished and show the students what they had been working towards all day. Two very important lessons can be learned from this; how important it is to work as a team and that sometimes things will not go as planned so being flexible and going with the flow is a crucial aspect when it comes to leadership.
This year I was fortunate enough to be apart of the Leadership Launch LEAD Team. A LEAD Team is basically a bunch of LAS scholars that join together to help plan, facilitate, or gather information from of for the Leadership Institute. This year I had the opportunity to be apart of the 1st ever Leadership Launch team!
Put on in correlation with Special Olympics Michigan, Leadership Launch is a program that invites high school students and their special needs peers that are enrolled in the program Project Unify in their school (Learn more about Project Unify here: http://www.specialolympics.org/projectunify.aspx.) Together we explored more ways to produce an inclusive environment in each of the high schools in every aspect, not just sports. Read more
This year I was able to attend the Mentor/Mentee Retreat for the second year in a row, however, this time I was the mentor. It was an experience completely different than the one I had a year ago. This time I did not feel like an outsider, but like I was actually a part of this family. Read more
Communication in Leadership is a different type of communications class. You don’t spend the semester preparing speeches and writing long essays about topics that you don’t really care about. Instead you learn about real world communication and how to apply what we have learned to your situation in order to get the best outcome possible. Read more