Proud to Be Phi Kappa Tau

In April 2015, I was initiated as brother of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity and it is what happened to be the best thing that happened to me in my college career. Fraternities in the United States have a pretty bad reputation but I want you all to hear my story. I struggled in college, had lost a couple friends, and it seemed at the time that the whole world was against me. Greek Life had never really been something I could see myself being a part of because of all the heat that fraternities take. I didn’t want to be hazed, I didn’t want to be forced to drink, I didn’t want my grades to worsen, and most importantly, I didn’t want to lose all my money paying for dues.

I was convinced by a friend to rush and just see what happens. Eventually I had found that Phi Kappa Tau had most represented me. The brothers cared about me, offered many leadership opportunities, shared the same value, have fun, and had a group that was different from each other yet still held a bond that I will always hold. I won’t go super deep into my associate period, but I will just to the beginning of this semester after my initiation. I have met my absolute best friends and I could imagine life without them. They picked me up when I was down, I learned from other brothers’ mistakes, and have been able to serve my chapter and my community. The amount of networking I have made meeting brothers from across the country that all have the same beliefs as me is something truly spectacular.

I have also been able to take on an executive board position as our Philanthropy Chairman where I raise money for our National Philanthropy, SeriousFun Children’s Network, giving terminally ill children a summer camp experience free of charge. Planning our 3rd annual SeriousFun Week is still one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences I have ever had.

Being a part of this chapter for the last 2 and a half years, it is great to know that you are putting your effort into something bigger than yourself. Phi Tau was everything I needed and if it wasn’t for this group, I do not know if I would still be here at Central. Since the group, I have learned how to manage my time, my grades have skyrocketed, and learned to use your struggles in the past and turn them into life lessons. I’m blessed to be a part of a group that is so accepting to who you are and for that I am Proud To Be.

 

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Leadership and Service

This year I experienced something that is considered unique to me. Central Michigan University offers a program called Alternative Breaks. If you are a college student that attends a university that offers this program and haven’t heard of it, you truly are missing out. Basically you sign up for a social justice issue that you are interested in and you go volunteer for a week-long somewhere around the country. As a future educator, I signed up for Education and had the opportunity to travel to Immokalee, Florida and work with the students, teachers, and administrators of Highlands Elementary School.

From 9am until 3pm, I was in Highlands with 12 other CMU students offering our aid to the teachers, chilling with the students while being a positive role model, working with the administration by working on campus beautification. It was incredible seeing how well the school was run and how smart the students were. Highlands is a school that stresses leadership with their students and you can really tell how much these children want to make an impact on their lives and community. The school even hosted a leadership day where over 100 people from Collier County came to visit and see what these students were doing. These people included teachers from outside districts, business owners, superintendents, and other powerful people. I was blown away of how this day was almost completely student ran and how powerful their messages were. It’s almost scary that I saw more maturity, confidence, and motivation in second graders than I do with most adults.

Of course I got to have a little fun while I was down in Florida (mainly bumming on the beach after school), but overall, the message I got out of this week-long service trip is that I am even more confident that I chose the right major. I really want to continue to work with the children of America and try my hardest to bring the most out of them. These students are my motivation and inspired me everyday to continue to work my hardest so that one day I’ll be able to make the impact on them that they do for me. I am really going to miss Immokalee, but if I ever travel to Florida again, that will be my first stop!

 

LAS in the D round 2

Something that the Leadership Institute values is our gift of service to the world. As leaders in today’s society it is our responsibility to be able to give back to the community that we are given. We are to work our hardest to keep our Earth beautiful and never give up on it, even if many people already have. For the second time, I was able to go on the LAS in the D service trip in fulfillment of my Lead Team in my LAS protocol. This time I was going to experience this trip to Detroit on the other side of the deal. On our trip we had a fun journey planning the two days there. It may have been a little stressful at first, but overall everything seemed to run pretty smoothly. We took the LAS Freshmen to the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy where we had a service day with the students. Jalen Rose students are required to have community service, so it was nice to help them get service hours while we were all there to help. We also got to volunteer with CASS community center where we helped make food for the homeless and made recycled tires into floor mats. We were also able to have some fun downtown like visiting LAS alumni in the area, eating at Pizzapapalis, and seeing the Detroit Institute of Arts. Overall the trip was an amazing time and I truly see how amazing it is to watch our Freshman learn the importance of service and being able to share it with our community.

Mentorship Part 2

Where do I even begin? Basically as a LAS sophomore you take a “mentee” from the newest LAS class and act as a mentor for them. In my case I was blessed with “mentees”! Thats right I am fortunate to have two in my hands out of all of the amazing leaders of LAS class of 2015. It was a really amazing experience to see how much Bobby and Dalton have grown throughout the year. I can tell how busy they are and how involved they are becoming on our campus. It is so crazy thinking that last year I was in the same position. I am so proud of my mentees and I cannot wait to see how great of a job they do as mentors next year to the LAS class of 2016. Wow I’m old now, but that just means that it is Bobby and Dalton’s turn to make their impact on a new freshman entering the world of college and LAS. If you guys are reading this, then good luck and be the best mentors you can be! 🙂

College 101

College is about education. We are here, most importantly, to earn our degree. I’m working my hardest to achieve my academic goals and use my degree to help me find a teaching job. That is what college is doing for me. For many people, college is not the answer and that is totally fine. Today a good chunk of the jobs out there require a degree and what happens to those children out there who can’t afford college or have been told their whole lives that college will not be an option to you?

I am part of a Registered Student Organization called College 101. In College 101 I am a CPV certified volunteer who helps with many other CMU students take at risk students and show them what college is like and how it is possible for them. We give these students a tour of Central, a mock lecture, show them different educational programs, and get to know them on a personal level. College may not be for everyone, but everyone should have a chance of going to college. This organization really makes me proud to be a CMU student and I hope that I can make a difference for these children to pursue there goals with high education.

Leadership and Service

A huge part about being a leader is what you give back to society. Service can be literally anything that you are doing to improve the lives of others without being paid to do so… out of the good of your heart. You are required to have a certain amount of service hours to be an LAS student, but I don’t see it as a job. I believe it is my responsibility as a human being to help out our fellow species and do the best I can to make life a safe and happy place. This year I was a Leadership Safari Guide where I mentored a group of CMU freshmen to figure out how to adapt to college in a super fun way. I have also volunteered with an RSO called College 101 where we take at risk students and show them the possibility of higher education. I also like to volunteer with my fraternity as well. Whether it is cleaning the streets of Mount Pleasant or helping out local parks in the area. Making Valentines cards for veterans or blankets for children in the hospital. Even tomorrow in going down to Detroit to serve our community. Service is all about helping those around you. I want to do my best to live in a world where I believe that my future children would be proud to live in and the only way to make it that way is to do my best to help out, even if its small.

COM 461L

Communication in Leadership is one of the last Leadership Minor courses that I will have to take here at CMU and I feel is one of the most important courses as well. I still have a couple weeks left of this class and I can already tell how much I have learned. My favorite part of this course is reading a chapter each week from a book called “The Leadership Moment”. This book takes a different event in history and learn a little bit about a leader of a situation and see how they either succeed, fail, or overcome a challenging situation. After reading a chapter, we do an activity called a fishbowl where people in the class are randomly selected to talk about the chapter. After their discussion, they break off into groups with people not in the “fishbowl” and further the discussion. I love learning about different leadership styles and can’t wait to use what I have learned in this class to develop my leadership skills.

#SLcamp15 #LifeLibertyL3

As many of you may know or for those of you who do not know, two of my passions include Education and Leadership. Prior to graduating from Divine Child High School in May 2014, I was selected to become a member of the College Volunteers Facilitators Corps (CVFC) which consists of college students who help plan and develop leadership curriculum, work along side the director of student services of Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP) and Michigan Association of Student Councils and Michigan Association of Honor Societies (MASC/MAHS), and teaching leadership skills to students all across the state of Michigan. We assist MASC/MAHS events like our State Conference and Leadership Training Institutes. Out of all the events we take part in, our Summer Leadership Camp is our “Christmas”.

CVFC members play roles in this camp such as JC’s (Junior Counselors) for all three levels of camp, A-Team, and Captains. This camp is a magical experience where high school students come for one week of the summer to meet friends, share experiences, go through leadership simulations, but most importantly learn how to develop our world into a better place. These students would blow your mind if you ever had the chance to meet them. Their passion, courage, and optimism are so powerful that these students aren’t the leaders of tomorrow, but the leaders of today. They are the reason I know that there is hope in the world. They are the reason I know that our generation isn’t as bad as the media portrays us. They are the reason I know that this world is going to be a better place. If you do not believe me, than I invite you to make a trip to the MASC/MAHS Summer Leadership Camp to form your own opinion.

This year I was fortunate enough to be selected to return to #SLcamp15 for a second year on staff as a level 3 JC. Last year, I served as a level 1 JC and it was one of the most rewarding positions I have ever held. Level 1 was a great experience because I was able to observe first year campers begin their leadership journey through MASC/MAHS. Being transferred over to level 3 this summer was overwhelming at first because I was a sophomore in college placed in a position typically held by juniors and mainly seniors. When I was a camper, I only completed level 1 and level 2 and I had viewed level 3 as the “top dogs” of the organization. It was hard to comprehend that I would be a level 3 JC. Either way, I went into the week with confidence and the results were fantastic.

Camp is a golden opportunity that I wish everyone could experience. Only a very small percentage of students get the privilege to attend all three levels of camp. The Americana theme for level 3 is a total hit with the hashtag #LifeLibertyL3 for all the campers and staff to talk about through twitter. Witnessing these campers and how they have grown from level 1 all the way through level 3 was such an eye opening experience for me as a JC. Some of these students started out nervous and not even wanting to come to camp, and these same students end up as some of the wisest, passionate, and  most engaging young leaders I have ever seen. Level 3 is split up into three councils, Red, White, and Blue with two JC’s in each council. As one of the Americana White JC’s I was blown away by how much these campers already knew about how to impact their schools and communities. But although they may be experienced, there was very much more for them to learn.

We as JC’s, challenged these leaders through Leadership Reactions Courses, teaching them about the Gift of Feedback, talking about their leadership bests and inspirations, learning what values define them, talking about culture and privilege, what issues in schools are going on, rediscovering their passions and how they will put them into action, exploration of higher education, and figuring out how do all of these relate to them as campers and what are we going to do about it. Level 3 is a lot about having fun, but the curriculum is rigorous and pushes the students to evolve into thinking globally by thinking locally. My Americana White Patriotic Polar Bears pushed themselves to the limit and truly discovered themselves while enabling others to act. Facilitating this emotional experience for them was such a confidence booster and really encouraged me to not just guide these campers, but to do the same as they do.

“What did you learn?” was repeatedly ask to them their last night as campers. “What did you learn?” The response: “Family” “Discovering themselves” “Leadership” “Passion” “Values” “Home” “Community” “Acceptance” “Integrity” “Lifestyle” “Happiness” “Hope” “Love” “Camaraderie” etc. This train of emotion caused many tears of campers realizing that it was their last night at a place that was judgement free. A place where they could be themselves. A place that taught them how to imagine the world. A place that taught them to not just imagine, but make it come true. “What did you learn from this camp?” “How will you apply what you learned?” “You are the leaders of today” “You make a difference”. “What did you learn?” B.E. Better Everyday #LifeLibertyL3

The link below was a camper made video that shows a little bit of the magic of camp. I even make an appearance at 1:22 in the video! 🙂

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Year in Review Reflection

My New Year’s Resolution wasn’t anything special, but basically just to have fun and make the most out of this semester. I have definitely made progress on these goals. This semester has literally pushed me to my limit. I have had my ups and downs, but I am doing my best to be the best I can be.

Since being here in August, I must say that LAS and the Leadership Institute has helped me grow tremendously and I can’t thank them enough. I have gotten involved with many different organizations. I became a desk worker, our Hall Council Vice President, a member of College 101, and an Active brother of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity. I participated in my events and conferences and was even an Alpha Leadership Facilitator. I have truly advanced myself as a leader on this campus and cannot wait to get involved even more. I have learned a lot about myself as a leader while being involved in all my organizations. I have learned about how to work with others whether you get along or disagree with them. Working with others can be a challenge, but you got to do what you got to do to survive. Happy School Year!

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Lead Team Reflection

As Leader Advancement Scholar, one of our requirements is to be an active member of a all LAS group called a LEAD TEAM that has a specific job in order of the advancement of the Leadership Institute. The LEAD TEAM that I was a part of was our 2015 Competition Day LEAD TEAM. The LAS Competition Day is an annual event that we put on as our day where we just the top 80 applications for the Leader Advancement Scholarship. There the potential LAS students go through an interview and multiple leadership activities and are judged by current LAS. We all get to hang out a talk to the students.

Our LEAD TEAM was very fun and we got it all accomplished with ease. We only met once and all the rest of the communication was done through email. Competition Day itself was the execution of our LEAD TEAM. We planned literally everything, hosted the events, and made sure that everything going on at the event ran smoothly.

After participating with the Competition Day LEAD TEAM, I learned a lot about email communication. I personally wish that we met more often because I feel like other LAS benefitted more through their LEAD TEAMS then I felt with mine. Yes, I did have a lot of fun, but I feel like I did not get out of it what I wanted to get. I am much looking forward to hopefully be working with another LEAD TEAM.

I do not have any digital evidence for Competition Day, but here is a snapchat at Midnight the day of Competition Day and a text from my Mom.

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