Service

Servant Leadership

In LDR200L, we focused our learning on many types of leadership. My favorite theory to learn about was servant leadership. Servant leadership is the theory of bettering the lives of other people by serving them, and making sure you’re always putting yourself first before everyone else. The description of the theory (provided by the servant leadership workshop) is a “philosophy where a leader with strong values places others above their own self-interests and emphasizes the growth of their followers.” As a part of the LAS protocol, we are required to serve 30 hours of volunteer service per year. Volunteering is a very important part of LAS, and these hours can be served in many different ways.

I found myself experiencing the servant leadership theory during the LAS in the D service trip and during Relay For Life. On the trip, we traveled to Detroit for the weekend to help out the community and learn more about Detroit. On the last day of the trip, my cohort and I visited Cass Community Social Services to serve the community. We were split into groups, and I went to the green warehouse to sort cardboard and shred papers. I was so excited to work with people in my cohort to clean up the warehouse and help out the members of the community by taking some of the work off of their hands.

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Servant leadership was also portrayed during  Relay For Life when my LEAD team was required to stay at the Leadership Institute table and explain what we were selling. We volunteered for several hours and had so much fun doing it. I also participated in the Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center during the semester. I helped out with the Safer Sex Patrol by promoting safe sex with a group of other volunteers at the local bars, and I made paracord bracelets for the soldiers overseas. These bracelets are worn by soldiers and can be used when they are in emergency situations.

Now that I have experienced servant leadership firsthand, I realize that it is my favorite leadership theory, while also being the most important leadership theory. I have learned that it is so essential to put others before yourself and help out others in any way possible. I am making it a goal to make sure that I put everyone before myself and serve the community, while also being selfless. I want to encourage others to promote self growth by putting people before themselves and leading in the best way they can.

Leadership Training

Mentee to Mentor

As a member of LAS, each person receives a “mentor.” This person guides you through your first year of college, answers any questions you have, and is basically just a shoulder to lean on when you need one. I received a mentor when I got to CMU, and I was so excited to have someone to support me through my first year at college.

Now, going into sophomore year, I am ecstatic to receive a “mentee” of my own. As a tradition in LAS, it is a normal thing to keep yourself hidden until you plan a big reveal to your new mentee. I am so excited to reveal myself to my mentee and form a close relationship with her. Helping people is one of my passions, and I am so incredibly ready to do whatever it takes to make sure my mentee feels at home during the course of her freshman year!

In our LDR200L class, the TA’s prepared a workshop demonstrating how to be the best possible mentor we can be to the incoming LAS cohort. We were put into groups and received sheets of paper in which we were instructed to write down ten things we wish we would have known coming into college. After writing them, we discussed our answers and reflected back on the year. Some of the things I wish I knew before coming to Central were:

  • Not everyone will be your best friend, so don’t force relationships
  • Skipping class is never a good idea
  • Bring lots of storage containers to keep things organized in your dorm
  • Your planner will become your best friend
  • Only do things that benefit you- if they bring you down, don’t continue doing them

After reflecting back on the mentor workshop, I have many things that I want to accomplish as mentor. I want to be there for my mentee whenever she needs me, even if I am busy doing something. I also want to make sure that I keep in contact with her and make sure that I am not distant- especially when she is starting a complete new chapter of her life! Lastly, I want to make sure that I can be the best mentor I can be to my new pal, and I want to make sure she knows that she can come to me whenever she needs anything.

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Mentor/Mentee retreat
Leadership Education

LDR200L Reflection

As a requirement for the LAS scholarship, everyone in the cohort is required to take LDR200L. This course met on Wednesday afternoons from 4-7. This course taught us about different leadership theories, how to create a useful powerpoint presentation, and how to facilitate a workshop.

Some of the assignments required for the class included writing a paper about our own personal leadership philosophy. I loved this assignment because I was able to explain my own philosophy and tell why I do the things I do. Another assignment was leading a Leadership Initiative. We were put into groups of three and had to lead a learning activity that taught a concept of leadership to one half of the class. The Leadership Workshop was my favorite task. While working in a group, a few members of my cohort and I were required to facilitate a workshop that explained a leadership theory. The workshop had to include an activity and a powerpoint and it lasted around a half hour long. This was my favorite task because I learn best with hands-on-activities, and it made it easier to memorize the different leadership theories.

My favorite part of this class was gaining experience and knowledge on how to facilitate activities and workshops. I was able to interact with my fellow LAS members while getting help from the awesome TA’s. Now that I have participated in LDR200L, I am ready to sign my minor in Leadership and experience new courses in the future. I learned how to give a presentation that got straight to the point while being organized and clean. Because of this class, I feel more confident in public speaking and talking in front of a large group of people. I became a better listener and learned how to properly communicate with someone else and give feedback that helps them. I can’t wait to pursue my minor of Leadership and I am ready for the next LDR class!

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Leadership Development, Leadership Training

Relay For Life: LEAD Team

Being a part of an LAS LEAD team is one of the things required for the protocol, and I had the pleasure of working on the Relay For Life team. Over the course of the semester, we had a few meetings to discuss fundraisers and events that we would plan leading up to Relay. This LEAD team was my number one choice and I was super excited to get involved with the event.

Relay For Life took place on March 25th from noon until midnight. As a part of the Leadership Institute’s Relay team, we worked the table for the majority of the day. We set up a table with LI apparel and cookies and set a suggested donation amount of $5.00 for t-shirts and $1.00 for cookies. We also had a “Pie the LI” event where you could donate $2.00 and smash a plateful of whipped cream onto the face of one of the members of our team. This raised some extra money for our team and everyone got a good laugh out of it. Relay For Life was so much fun and I got to walk around the track and hear stories from the incredible survivors.

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Now that I have participated in Relay, I can easily say it is something that I’m looking forward to doing every year. Relay inspired me to appreciate my family members as much as I can and never take anything for granted. I lost my grandma to breast cancer, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss her. Relay For Life is an amazing event that I highly encourage everyone to be a part of. Our LI team raised over $1,700 to donate to research. The event was so much fun and I can’t wait to participate in Relay next year!

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Community, Leadership Development, Service

LAS in the D: My Experience

Going into this trip, I was excited. I knew it would be an awesome weekend, and I knew I would gain so much from it. Little did I know I would be experiencing one of the coolest, most influential trips I have ever been on.

Visiting Jalen Rose Leadership Academy was the first stop on the trip. We arrived at the school and got separated into groups with the leadership students. We played a few icebreakers with our new friends, and we wrote down things that we wanted to accomplish while we were there for the day. Some of the things we put on our list included using teamwork, being respectful, and communicating with one another. The students opened up really quickly, and I was super excited to continue on with our day.

After splitting up into separate classrooms with our groups, we did an activity that required us to figure out a pre-made pattern to get across the “lava” to the other side of the volcano (the other side of the room). Every time someone made a wrong step, we had to restart and go back to the starting line. It was really awesome to see the students take charge and try to figure out the pattern, and we worked together to discover the correct sequence to get across.

Next, we moved into a different room to take on another activity. This activity involved a ball on a circle of plastic with many strings tied around the plastic. To complete this activity, we had to pick up the ball by using the strings and carry it to the other side of room to place it on top of a pole. If we dropped the ball, we had to go back to the starting line to try again. This activity was very trial-and-error oriented, and we tested many different strategies before completing it. Our winning tactic was to slide the ball over to the pole and then get as close as we could to the center, while still holding the strings. We pulled the ball up and got it on top of the pole, and everyone was super excited that we were able to complete the challenge. After the activities were over, we debriefed for a little bit. We talked about what strategies worked and which ones didn’t work, how we used communication and teamwork, and how we stepped outside of our comfort zones to take on something. One of the students asked us when we were coming back, and when we told him we’d be back in a year, he said to “please hurry.” It was so inspiring to see how much the students at Jalen Rose loved the activities, and it made me really think about the impact you can make on someone without even knowing.

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After leaving Jalen Rose, we headed over to Quicken Loans to go on a tour of the building and to eat dinner. We all sat down and ate, and we were later shown a presentation about Quicken Loans and all of the opportunities and internships the company offers. John Fikany spoke to us for a while, and seeing his passion towards the company really made me think about applying for a summer internship. We then were split into groups and were shown around the building. The Quicken Loans building was amazing- it was so colorful and all of the workers were super friendly. I loved exploring around the company and seeing all of the different branches in the building.

The Quicken Loans tour soon ended, and we headed over to the Detroit Institute of Arts. I was super excited for this part, because the DIA is one of my favorite places. There’s just something about going to an art museum and exploring around and admiring the art that makes me so happy. I got to walk around the museum with my roommates, and we were able to check out all of the different pieces and rooms before going to the little cafe inside.

At around 9:00 P.M., we all went to the Outdoor Adventure Center to debrief the day and get some rest. After exploring the waterfall and nature inside the building, we met with our groups and talked about everything we did on the trip thus far. It was awesome to reflect back on the day and talk about how inspired and excited we were about the activities and workshops. The discussion ended at around 10:30 P.M., and we all went to get ready for bed. Instead of going to sleep, we decided to circle up and share our passions and talk about our lives. It was really cool learning about everyone, and (in my opinion), I think it brought us even closer than we already were. When it got pretty late, I curled up in my sleeping bag next to my roommates and went to sleep.

We started the next day off bright and early. After eating breakfast, we got on the bus and traveled to Cass Community Social Services. Cass is an agency in Detroit that provides food, shelter, and jobs to members of the community. We were split up into groups when we arrived, and each group had the opportunity to do something different. My group walked over to the green warehouse, and we took on the job of breaking down tons of cardboard boxes and shredding papers to get the warehouse cleaned up for spring. This building was awesome because it was powered by spinning bikes. Whenever we wanted to take a break from shredding, we would ride the spinning bikes to give the warehouse energy. Our group leader, Mark, was super outgoing and played awesome music while we broke down the boxes. I loved this part of the trip because I got to work with my cohort and gain new experiences while helping out the community.

We got on the bus to head to Great Lakes Crossing for lunch at around 11:00 A.M. This was the last part of the trip, and we all settled on the bus to head back to CMU in the afternoon. Most of us fell asleep immediately after sitting down, but some us jammed out to old songs and sang for a little bit.

Now What? This trip was one of the most amazing opportunities I’ve been able to be a part of. It’s crazy how much of an impact you can make on someone/something, and going on this trip opened my eyes to the issues around me and inspired me to want to get out there and do something to help my community. Detroit is an amazing city, and it doesn’t deserve the reputation and stereotypes it receives. This trip gave me the initiative to want to reach out and help the wonderful city. I absolutely loved volunteering at Cass Community Social Services because I was able to work with others and clean up the warehouse for the upcoming spring and summer and create energy by riding the spinning bikes. The Quicken Loans tour gave me inspiration to go out and do whatever I wanted to do because I am a leader and I am capable of achieving wonderful things. This trip  was so inspiring and was one of my favorite activities of the entire year. I am so grateful to be a part of LAS and I will never forget the amazing experiences, memories, and opportunities I’ve gained from this trip.

Leadership Training, Service

Pre-Service Trip: LAS in the D

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On Friday, February 10th, I will be traveling to Detroit with my LAS 2016 cohort and some amazing faculty members to partake in a service trip. We will be going to the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy to lead initiatives and activities, and we will be volunteering at different locations that we are assigned to.

Living near Detroit, I am able to visit there pretty often. Whether it’s rocking out at concerts, going to baseball games, visiting little coffee shops, or just looking around the city- I notice how different it actually is from the stereotypes it receives. I am aware that there are many social issues in Detroit- some of the issues including the lack of funding for public schools, poverty, and crime. We hear about these things all the time on the news, but we never think twice about them. Most of the time, we hear only about the bad things that happen in the city- never the good things. Detroit is so much more than it appears to be, and I can’t wait to serve in the city.

The purpose of Central Michigan University is to prepare Michigan’s students and citizens for leadership roles in a challenging and complex society. This experience will help familiarize me with roles of being a leader as I perform tasks and lead initiatives with my group. Being assigned to run through activities will help me gain experience that I can use in the future. 

The vision of the Leadership Institute is to prepare the next generation of individuals who will act responsibly to improve the quality of life, improve the state of the economy, and improve the communities in which they live and work. This trip will work to inspire us and challenge us to open our eyes to the bigger issues that surround us. It will make us realize that we have the potential to change not only the community we live in, but the world, and I am so excited to do just that.

Going on this trip will help me grow as both a leader and an individual. I am ecstatic to be able to improve my leadership skills by running activities and leading things on my own. I have never led a workshop or facilitated group activities before, so I am ready to take on a new challenge and get out of my comfort zone. I am so excited to be able to volunteer while helping people in need. I am also ready to make new connections with people I don’t know that well and form new memories that I’ll always have to take with me. I love helping out the community and I am ready to be exposed to issues that our society faces today and further my knowledge on Detroit. Fire up for LAS in the D!

Leadership Development, Leadership Education, Leadership Training

Igniting the Spark

As a requirement for our LAS Scholarship, our 2016 cohort needed to attend the Spark Leadership conference. Not knowing what exactly this conference would entail, I was pretty excited for it.

I walked into the ballroom in the LI, picked up my name tag, and sat at a table with a few people from my LAS cohort and a few others that I hadn’t met before. Also sitting at the table was a staff member of Spark, otherwise known as a team leader. After being called up and introduced to all of the people participating in Spark, the team leaders switched tables, and my table got the pleasure of working with Connor Haskins.

The first activity on the agenda was finding out our own personal leadership styles- something I was very interested in. The four different types of leaders were Systematic, Spirited, Considerate, and Direct. After ranking a series of activities from 1 to 5, I found out that I was a Spirited leader.

After learning about what type of leader we all were, we broke into different groups pertaining to our own leadership styles. I went into the Spirited group, and we all discussed why we were categorized into Spirited leaders and what characteristics we all exemplified. Some of these characteristics were that we were all super positive, very outgoing, we encouraged others, and we like to be outside of our comfort zones. After going back to our tables, we chose what leadership style we wanted to improve on. I chose Systematic, because I’d like to be more organized and want to step back and think about things more before going ahead and doing them.

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Photo by the Leadership Institute

Later, we were separated into different classrooms and were put into two groups: Alphas and Betas. I was an Alpha, and we were required to participate in a game. The rules of the Alpha culture were that we had to embrace in a hug or pat someone on the back before speaking to someone, we had to ask about the men in that person’s life, and we were then able to participate in a card game. The Betas would come over to our Alpha classroom to observe our behavior, and we would always kick them out.

After debriefing our activity, we learned that everyone gets treated differently and sometimes you have to take a step back and realize that we aren’t all the same. You could be saying or doing something offensive without even noticing, and we need to realize that everyone is different.

Now What? I got a lot out of Spark, and-despite having strep throat and wanting to be curled up in bed- I really enjoyed the conference. I learned that I am a Spirited leader, and I now know how to help out when it comes to leadership activities and now know what to contribute. I am excited to take the steps towards becoming a more Systematic leader by organizing all of my things into folders, color coding my notes that I take in class, thinking about and analyzing my actions before taking them, and participating in many more leadership conferences.

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