The CMU School of Music (aka. my second home) is what I chose to do for my second RSO Reflection because since I have three jobs, and am taking a full course load, I don’t necessarily have the time to be in 2 RSO’s. This RSO I have been working for the School of Music for four semesters now, and have loved most every bit of it. At the event staff, we organize and execute all of the musical events that happen at the SOM. Those include famous guests artists, student recitals, big and small band/choir ensembles, and faculty recitals. We also host state-wide musical events for high school bands and choirs. This jobs has taught me so much about organizing events and managing a staff, both of which will be crucial parts of my future career. This year, I was promoted to be an Event Staff Coordinator, which is basically the position of a student manager. With this, I have more time interacting directly with my other staff members, training and facilitating events with them. I have also had much more extensive training on technical things, such as hinging lights from catwalks.
The main thing I love about this job is that the ones of community is wonderful. As a staff, we all grow very close to each other since we work and have a very supporting boss who challenges us. Some of my best friend have come out of my time working for the Event Staff. I also like that for my job, I get to interact with the music faculty, students and the different guest artist. I have made so many connections with individuals who could be great contacts in the future through this job. I love seeing different events successfully come together with all of the planning my staff and I put into it. I can thank the Event Staff for training me to be able to train staff members and be more comfortable with managing small groups of people in professional settings.
This year, I am on the Grad Ball Lead team. Up to this point, our team has had many meetings in preparation for this event, which is actually coming up in just two short weeks. Organizing events is something that I love to do, so this was a great LEAD Team for me to be on. I am very excited to see how it will all turn out and celebrate the graduates of LAS 2012 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.
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.
The team I was on this year was the Social Lead team. We organize social events for all of LAS. This year, we planned LAS on ICE, which was an ice skating trip to the local arena, and LAS in the D, which is a trip to a Tiger’s game that will take place in June. The team was wonderful, and the meetings were never too long or boring. For every event that we planned, each person had a specific job to do, and without him or her, the event wouldn’t get planned. For LAS on ICE, I was placed with the social media position for my cohort, so I had to create and event and advertise on our Facebook page. Other jobs were making posters, emailing our advisor or calling the Ice arena.
Having these responsibilities really taught me something about leadership that I already knew, but it kind of solidified it. A leader isn’t necessarily the person in charge, but it can also be the person who works behind the scenes to make the magic happen. Each person in my Lead Team held some kind of leadership throughout the year because we all had some type of responsibility to make sure each event happened.
Next year, depending on what lead team I’m on, I will try my best to convey that message to my team that you don’t have to be the person in charge to be a leader. I also hope to have as good of a lead team as I did this year. If I’m on the Social Lead Team again, I hope to do a few more smaller events, like a Christmas dinner or a Halloween gathering within cohorts. This way, that would bring in even more leadership roles to the members of the team within cohorts.
We packed up for the weekend after weeks of preparation, got on a big bus and went on
our way to Detroit for the weekend. The weekend would be packed full of service, learning, and FUN. My Leader Advancement Scholar Cohort and I were so excited to go to Detroit and serve the community. When we got to Detroit, our first stop was at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy (JRLA). There, we facilitated different leadership activities and taught the students how to facilitate in the future. Next, we toured the Lowe Campbell Ewald building and the Ford Field Stadium. After that, we went to a local pizza joint and ate some delicious food. Then, we went to the Detroit Institute of Arts to browse artwork for a while, and our final stop for the night was the CMU office located in downtown Detroit. So, yes, that means all 50 of us had to sleep there, on the floor of the office. But hey, at least it was carpeted! We got up early the next morning and drove a few minutes to the Motor City Bight Busters headquarters. After we got a brief history of the group, we helped them out by spreading large piles of mulch around a field, in preparation of what would later be a farming field. After that, we were on our way home.
The most eye opening part of the trip for me was the huge dynamic change in the different parts of Detroit we were in. When we were in JRLA, the power went out twice. This is an actual school we were in, and in my experience, unless there was a big storm or catastrophe, the power never went out in my school. This was surprising to me and the rest of my cohort, not only because it happened while we were there, but that the students said the power goes out at least once a week at their school. That blew my mind! A school so tight on money that supplying the whole school with electricity was so hard. Later on during the day, though, we visited Lowe Campbell Ewald, and boy was that a dynamic change from JRLA. The building was just elaborately and magnificently designed. I don’t remember the exact digits, but the amount of money that went into building and supplying that building with electricity everyday was absolutely astounding. Thousands a day. Also, the amount of money that went into building Ford Field and the amount that people are willing to spend to get a good seat for a game was also mind blowing.
Honestly, this really irked and upset me. The people in Lowe Campbell Ewald are just rolling in money, spending nearly as much as my college tuition a day on running their building, and the students of JLRA (not even 20 miles apart) can’t go a week of school
without a power outage. There is absolutely no doubt that there is something wrong in this picture. I guess this part just really changed my perspective on a lot of things. As a society, we are so materialistic and put so much focus on monetary value that we are just oblivious to the fact that some people in the same county as us are struggling for something guaranteed for us: electricity.
The founder of the Motor City Blight Busters really stood out to me as a leader during this trip. He told us the story of how he was trying to raise his family in a bad part of Detroit. One day, he got sick of it and did something. He started making the neighborhood a better, friendlier place. He didn’t stop there though, because now, the Blight Busters reach out to many areas of Detroit with the help of a wide variety of volunteers. The organization strives to turn Detroit around, and make living environments available more suitable. I think this is a perfect example of Servant Leadership. The Blight Busters founder really works hard for his organization and puts in the work necessary to get jobs done, all while organizing volunteers to come and help out.
After this trip, my outlook on Detroit has changed a little. I guess now, I am just more aware of how things actually are in Detroit, but I do know that there is hope, and things are definitely getting better in that City. With the Motor City Blight Busters creating farmland and cleaning up houses, and the promising students of JRLA learning about leadership and thinking about college, I know that Detroit is already improving. Soon, I hope that Detroit wont be associated with the word “ghetto” and that people will think highly of the city.
The most important thing this trip has taught me is really how important service work is. Like I said, I have done volunteer work before, but my experience was limited to making blankets, or packing lunches for students. I have never really gone out of my own city to do any type of service work, and I am so glad that I got this experience. Even though what we did (shoveling piles of mulch) may have seemed like a small effort, I don’t think many of my cohort members realized what a big difference that made for the Blight Busters. A little really can go a long way with volunteer work. After this trip, I plan to increase the amount of service work I do, and to take up any opportunity to serve my community. I am also so much more aware of the situation in Detroit. After seeing the completely different environments between JLRA and the Lowe Campbell Ewald building, it just made me realize how much monetary things aren’t necessary, contrary to what we are programmed to think. I really don’t want to live my life measuring my life’s success on the amount of money I make, when there are so many people who would love to have half of what I have already. This trip just really opened my eyes to the things that really matter, and I really think that I will have a different outlook on life afterward. I am so grateful that I got to go on this trip because it opened my eyes so much, and I got to spend a great time and build so many memories with the people I love.
This reflection today is written over a blog of my choosing from Seth Godin’s website. I had never heard of him before, but his blogs are really quite interesting and insightful. The blog I decided to reflect over is titled, “‘Connect to’ vs. ‘Connect’.” This piece was about how it’s easy for companies/people/teachers to ‘connect to’ their clients/friends/students. He says this creates a “vertical connection” which creates a window for communication. Less common/simple is to ‘connect’ clients/friends/students which builds “horizontal relationships, person to person.” “It’s what makes a tribe,” he explains. He says that companies are scared to connect because they don’t want to have less control over what happens when the customers like one another more than they like the company. I was slightly confused at this point, when reading, because I felt that there was a lot to think about regarding the little bit that he wrote. But his last sentence really brought his idea together for me: “Of course, connecting is where the real emotions and change and impact happen.”
This entry reminded me of the Ted Talk, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” by Simon Sinek and my reflection on it. Sinek’s video was all about how if someone has a reason for why they do what they do, and make it known, they are more likely to be successful than someone who doesn’t know why they do something, but rather only know how or what they do. I thought these two pieces were similar because when Godin referred to the organizations who only “connected to,” it reminded me of when Sinek talked about companies who only know what they do and how they do it, but not why they do it. These vertical connections made by ‘connecting to’ are only the ‘what’ and ‘how’ part of the equation. When we dig deep down get to the ‘why’ part, that’s when the personal, horizontal connections start to happen and relationships start to form. Using an example from Sinek’s presentation, he said: “MLK gave the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, not the ‘I Have a Plan’ speech.” With that, we could say MLK didn’t ‘connect to’ his audience, but rather he ‘connected’ his audience, creating strong army of people all advocating for the same thing, with the same “why” in mind. Real emotions, change and impact all happened here all because MLK connected his audience because he knew why he was giving his speech that day.
These two post from Godin and Sinek I think really taught me a lot about what great things, and not so great things, can happen depending on how I portray myself and influence others. Godin’s post relates to things on a bit of a bigger scale than just me, but the concept is still applicable. We need to not be afraid to connect other people because, like Godin said, thats when the real emotion, change and impact start to happen. Making connections and building relationships with people is a big part of how we grow as people. Think of all the “horizontal connections” you’re missing out on because you’ve been confined to only making those “vertical connection.”
Hockey is a man’s sport– no time for feelings or emotions. Everyone involved in hockey is cocky and ignores feelings and only cares about the game.
That’s what we’re made to think about this sport, and while some aspects of that still may be slightly true, Detroit Red Wings coach, Mike Babcock, is speaking out and making change to raise awareness about mental health/illness and the negative stigmas that are attached by participating in Bell Let’s Talk Day. His main goal is simply to get people to realize that there’s nothing wrong with feeling low, but that they shouldn’t let that make them feel weak and like they can’t talk to anyone. For every tweet with the tag #BellLetsTalk on January 28, 5 cents will be donated to various mental health programs in Canada.
Babcock really inspires me as a leader in this. He has not only declared himself a great leader in the world of hockey, as the Wings head coach for quite some time now, but he is also declaring his leadership through this cause. The fact that he has seen how different types of mental sickness can effect individuals and families and the fact that he not only wants to change the way people think about mental illness, but that he is actually doing something to create change is really what makes him a leader to me. Not only that, but he is also going against the grain of what we all think of hockey players and coaches: that there is no time for playing with emotions or depression. That is what really makes him stick out to me. People will obviously be motivated to follow him and want to support this cause, for a couple reasons. 1, he is the head coach of the Red Wings, of course people are going to look up to him. This could also mean that people who might still associate negativity with mental illness might look at it differently if the head coach of a pro hockey team feels this way about it. 2, in his interview he makes note that everyone has problems, no matter how big or small, but if we think we can take care of them ourselves, we are wrong. Talking to people about our issues doesn’t make us a weaker person, but it really makes us stronger. Any person could relate to that and want to support that, even if they had no idea he was affiliated with the Wings.
I know that this whole #BellLetsTalk thing has affected me in a good way because it really is a good and necessary reminder to hear that everyone struggles with something and that it is okay to talk about it. I’m also really glad that money is being donated to mental illness programs so that people who really need the help can get it easier. I hope this awareness campaign has also positively influenced other people in the same way it has for me. The organization has raised $67.5 million for mental health over the years and I think that’s amazing. Hopefully someday, the stigma connected to mental illness will be completely gone, but until then, I am grateful there are campaigns such as these to promote the well-being of others.
About the second weekend of school, the freshman (mentees) and sophomore (mentors) LAS classes took a trip up to Eagle Village for the annual Mentor/Mentee Retreat. I’m a freshman, so obviously i was there as a mentee. The trip was supposed to be like a get-to-know-you thing so that each mentor/mentee could build a bigger and better relationship. All of us were separated into about four big groups with our mentors. We each had a team facilitator from Eagle Village (my group’s facilitator’s name was Tim Horton) and throughout the weekend we did different group and team building activities, and we even got to go rock climbing. I was excited to spend time with my mentor, Mackenzie, and my “sister,” Mckenzie, but at the same time, I was nervous and didn’t know what to expect since I really had made no new friends in LAS at that point.
The group team building was really great and I enjoyed all of it. My group was really great and we all got to know each other and had a great time. What I was worried would happen, though, did happen. Since I really hadn’t made too many friends yet, I felt really excluded at some points. The last night we were there, we all sat around a big bonfire and everyone was sharing their stores about how they had such a great time and made such great connections with everyone, and I just didn’t feel the same way. After the bonfire, people were playing board games with each other and stayed up all night out in the common room. I tried to talk to people, but they were busy with their own inside jokes and only concerned with each other, and I totally understand that. I just kept wishing that I could be out there with everyone too, but it really is difficult to make connections and bonds with a group of people who are already comfortable with one another.
Frankly, the Mentor/Mentee Retreat really was not a welcoming first impression of my LAS class. Although I did have a great time with my mentor and sister, I really just couldn’t connect with anyone else in my class and it was very difficult for me. I was never used to feeling like an outsider, and suddenly I did in my group of peers. Since then, I have tried and made a few more friends but it’s still hard when everyone else has built their relationships to such a strong level and you try to join the group. But I try not to let this influence my leadership in any way and I’m still friendly toward everyone, still trying to build more relationships.