While this 9:30 Tuesday/Thursday class is not nearly as early as early 8 am philosophy last semester, it’s still pretty early to be learning, but I try to manage. COM 461 L is one of the only “Leadership” courses I have taken at CMU for my leadership minor that directly relates to leadership as a whole (except for LRD 200, of course.) In this class we talk about the different leadership styles and communication techniques and really apply it to our lives as young leaders. We discuss working in small groups, which is something we all have to deal with, and how to make them more effective than not. One of my favorite parts of the class is reading the different case studies from different, well-known stories, and analyzing the communication techniques used. This class relates very much so to our LAS class, and since communication is vital, I am glad I get to be taking this class.
My involvement with the Student Environmental Alliance started last spring semester when I started to go to meetings with my friend Brennah. This year, when I don’t have any work conflicts, I attend the SEA meetings, and try to attend all of their events. Protecting the environment and educating myself on important environmental issues is something that is very central to me, and being apart of SEA allows me to do both of those things. SEA offers a variety of different experiences at their meetings. They show documentaries, have guest speakers come in, and discuss/plan upcoming events at their meetings. My favorite part about this group is that they don’t stop at advocating for environmental rights to the students, but they have held meetings several times with President Ross and other administrators to talk about issues, like CMU’s controversial investments, and the sale of plastic water bottles on campus. I am excited to continue to be a part of this organization, and am especially excited to see what is planned for Earth Week coming up in April!
Members of SEA participating in the Million Student March on Campus.
As one of my RSO involvements for this year, I have taken the liberty of using my on campus job to count towards one of these. ( I have chosen to do this because between both my on campus and off campus job, my 19-credit hour work load, and volunteering at St. John’s, there isn’t much time for anything else!) Working at the CMU Music Building as a member of the event staff has been one of the most positive experiences in my career at CMU thus far. This job has taught me so much about putting together events, keeping composure at the face of chaos and learning to put others before myself. Not only do I get all of this professional development experience at the Event Staff, but the sense of community among not only the staff, but the entire music building is incredible. I can’t walk through the music building without stopping to talk to someone for a few minutes, or greeting one of the faculty, and I’m not even a music major! Being a member of the event staff here on campus is one of the places that I feel I truly belong. This semester, I am also training to be an Event Staff Coordinator (Student Manager) for the next school year. I am extremely excited to continue to learn about the work that I do, and to further build on this very welcoming and unique community that the music building offers.
Members of the staff at our annual “Event Staff Olympics”
The team after a failed attempt at a human pyramid.
This year, to meet our residential living requirement, I am living in Sweeney Hall with two other LASers and one other girl. I met Sam and Chelsea the first day I moved into Barnes last year, and we have been friends every since, and I met Sara shortly thereafter. Having friendly roommates this year makes a world of difference for me from last year when I had a rather unpleasant living experience in Barnes. Being friends with my roommates and having a shared respect for each other is something I have really enjoyed about this year. While I’m excited to move out of the dorms, I will definitely miss living with these girls next year.
8 week online classes… gifts from God or work of the Devil? A little of both I suppose, I’m still not quite sure. But what I do know, is that while I took HDF 110 as an 8 week online class, although it was terrible at times, it may be the one class at CMU that I have learned the most valuable amount of information thus far.
The upside to taking this class as an 8week online class is that it only took up half of my semester, and I didn’t have to meet in class for it. The downside to taking this class as an 8 week online class, though, was that there was a ton of information thrown at me and work to be done in such a short amount of time on top of my already full course load.
But, all of the stress that this class brought along was well worth it when I randomly realized one day that I had used a piece of information I learned from this class in my everyday life. We covered so many topics in this class—race, gender, sexual identity, religion, disabilities, etc.—and they are all incredibly relevant to my life, especially living on such a diverse college campus. I learned to be more sensitive of what I say, not only when I’m around certain individuals, but just generally all the time. I learned how to politely let someone know when they say something offensive—in regards to a disability, or race or gender, etc.—and tell them why it was offensive. There was just so much valuable knowledge I gained in this class, and I am so thankful I endured the trying 8 weeks to complete this class.
To fulfill my volunteer work throughout the semester, I spend much of my time at St. Johns Episcopal church in Mt. Pleasant singing in the church choir. While the majority of the choir is made up of paid music students from CMU, the rest of us are volunteer who love to sing and love going to St. John’s. We rehears every Thursday evening and attend the service every Sunday morning. Throughout each semester, I average about 48 hours of service at St. John’s, and that’s not including the extra rehearsals and performances for additional services, like for Holy Week and funerals, etc. My favorite part about St. John’s (aside form the making of beautiful music) is the extremely inclusive and welcoming environment that this church fosters. I have never felt so well received by a congregation before my time at St. John’s and am very proud to be a member of the church choir.
For our LAS protocol, we have to volunteer in one community service activity. We went on a trip to Detroit, LAS in the D, and volunteered at different places throughout Detroit. This part of the protocol of relates to the leadership theory of Servant Leadership. When we were at LAS in the D, I really learned the importance of volunteering, no matter the amount, to help create something able be apart of something bigger than myself. I think servant leadership is often overlook, because before the Detroit trip, I knew that volunteering was important, but I really didn’t know how much of an impact a little bit of volunteering could have. After the trip, I realized how much a actually love to volunteer. It really leaves a good feeling in your heart after you get done helping out with a project or with anything, and not getting something in return. Servant leadership is a vital part of life, because when thinking about it, animal shelters or homeless shelters would not function without active volunteer. I’m glad the LAS protocol requires some sort of volunteer work and that I got to experience the amazing opportunity at LAS in the D. It taught me an important part of life that I would have otherwise not learned so early on in my life.