This past year I had the opportunity to serve on the LAS service trip LEAD team where I was able to spend the weekend facilitating meaningful conversation with the freshman LAS students. We discussed the history and injustices that Detroit has faced over the years and learned how gentrification is impacting the city as a result of new corporate entities that have settled there.
Saturday morning was spent volunteering with Class Community Social Services; I worked in their kitchen where I helped with food preparation. This was not my first experience with Cass Community Social Services as I’ve volunteered with them in the past. My past experience was making rubber mats to be sold for money that goes towards funding the organization, but working in the kitchen was a very different and new experience that allowed me to see the other side of things. I learned that they have a staff of only 4 members, but they serve thousands of people each year. I also learned that all of the meals prepared are provided strictly through donations. Operating the kitchen seems like a very difficult task, especially since it was hard when there were over a dozen volunteers assisting during the service trip, but the staff stays dedicated and uses innovative techniques to serve the population. This entire service trip allowed me to reflect on why I chose to go into social work in the first place; to help make the world a better place. I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to be apart of the service trip this year as it has come a long way. I look forward to seeing the impact it has not only on the city but the freshman LAS class on next year.
This past year I had the privilege of being a part of the Organization for Black Unity (OBU) student organization. OBU is a social organization on the Campus of Central Michigan University that was created to support fellow students in their collegiate journey. This Organization is not limited to African-American students and welcomes anyone, regardless of race, creed or color. The organization believes that we can all learn from each other and provides its members with the tools necessary to succeed at CMU while simultaneously creating a more accepting and inclusive environment.
Being a student leader on campus who also happens to be a minority, this organizations goals truly resonated with me. Their goals are to maintain a strong minority presence on the campus and in the community, promote high academic standards, community service, member support, and present culturally informative events to the public while creating a bridge between the minority and non-minority community. These are goals I have held close to my heart ever since I stepped foot on CMU’s campus, but I never really knew how to go about reaching them. This organization allowed me to grow as a student leader because they showed me how to do all of this, while provided me with new perspectives along the way.
I will continue my involvement with OBU next year as I believe this is an organization that is all for creating change the right way and I believe I can still grow a great deal from being a part of it.
This past school year I had the privilege of holding the title of Executive Treasurer for HPU (see blog). This position gave me the opportunity to grow in my skills as a student leader as I took on more responsibility with this organization than I previously had as a general members. I was in charge of opening and maintaining the HPU bank account in which we kept our fundraising rewards, and coordinating our fundraising events. HPU’s goal shifted quite a bit from the beginning of the year to the end and fundraising was put on hold as we tried to figure out what our destination as an organization was.
The members of HPU were considering turning the organization into the multicultural greek organization known as Sigma Lambda Beta (SLB) Fraternity Co. so a lot of my responsibilities as an executive member consisted of working towards that goal while also assisting with creating change on campus through various student programs and activities. I took on the role of coordinating meetings with CMU alumni who were also a part of the SLB organization, as well as communicating and coordinating with other current SLB brothers at other universities to attend their events.
Although I did not have a typical treasurer experience, I certainly felt the wight of my executive title and learned a great deal from this experience. I was met with many challenges like sending last minute meeting requests and not effective communication with other universities, however, I learned that adaptability and proactiveness are key to creating the best possible outcome.
Being a part of HPU has given me a deeper sense of community at CMU as its members have grown incredibly close and created a safe inclusive environment in which all are welcome. Next year I will be not he executive board for HPU again and continuing to work towards the transition from HPU to SLB. I am honored to be a part of such a dedicated and passionate group of individuals and I know that I will continue to grow as a student leader and create change on CMU’s campus.
The DIS Lead Team was created to teach the meaning of diversity to the leadership advancement scholars, as well as to promote cultural events and educate others on the topic of diversity around the campus. The DIS Lead Team had a goal of fostering a change in the community that would leave a lasting impact. As a general member, I did whatever I could to help the team develop and grow. Despite not reaching any of our goals, we did pave the way for next year to be successful. With myself and two other LAS scholars chairing the LEAD Team next year, we have organized a plan that will bring structure and motivation to the new and improved DIS Lead Team. This plan consists of motivating our group members, hosting meetings that are worth while and educational, organizing events that people can take away valuable and mind-opening information, and participating in other cultural events around the campus. With the same goals as before, we plan to effectively teach and promote diversity to first our LAS peers, then to the campus as a whole. With a new and improved Lead Team, there is hope that we shall leave a lasting impact in the name of diversity at Central Michigan University.
Having taken advanced history classes in high school, I was not too excited when I found out that I was required to take a history class for my leadership protocol. History 110 had a twist, however, and focused primarily on historical leaders instead of the events. This was beneficial because it focused on what made those historical figures influential and how the different types of leaders impacted history. This class really opened my eyes to the concept of leadership styles and how truly powerful a person can be when they have influence over another being. This class ultimately taught me that history is a powerful tool; looking back on past leaders and their methods can provide valuable lessons to learn from.
My first year at Central Michigan University has not turned out to be what I had expected. I knew that I was going to volunteer and take classes that would eventually lead me to a major, but I never thought I would grow as a person at the rate or length as I have. A large part of that is due to my LDR classes. In previous blogs, I mention LDR 100 and how it is a class I am required to take my first semester as part of my Leadership Advancement Scholarship protocol; this class helps to mold and foster my leadership abilities. Second semester, in LDR 200, we go more in depth with the different leadership theories and discover our own individual leadership philosophies. First semester, my LDR 100 class taught me to take advantages of the opportunities around campus to impact my environment. This led me to getting involved with different registered student organizations and volunteering with any and every group that came my way. LDR 200, on the other hand, taught me that in order to truly impact my environment and make a difference, I must know what is driving me and why I do the things that I do (Ted Talk). It taught me that in order to inspire others to follow there passions, I must follow my own. In LDR 200 we covered the Servant Leadership Theory which teaches that: a leader with strong moral and ethical values place others above their own self-interests and emphasize the growth and development of their followers. This really spoke to me, as it described what leadership meant to me. This theory has shaped me and continues to shape me as I strive to live day by day as a servant leader, putting others before myself and embracing growth.
As I look back on my year with only a few weeks left to go, I realize now that my expectations have been far exceeded. I grew so much as not just a leader, but a human being. I could not have asked for more out of my first year of college; the experiences I have acquired opened my mind and enabled me to educate others on what it means to lead, and provide them with skills needed to make a change that will impact their environment and world for the better.