Leadership Safari Guide Round 2

In the beginning of the school year, I was able to participate as a Leadership Safari Guide for a second year! Yes, it is one of my favorite times of the year. I know, it is stressful and nerve racking to get ready to start up another school year, however Safari very knows how to pump me up first the start of the semester. Safari does take up the two weeks before the start of classes and people will always ask me, “Evan, why do you like Safari so much?” I’m going to try to blog for the reasons why.

First all, Leadership Safari is a program put on by Central Michigan University to help incoming students adapt to their first year on our campus. There is so much excitement, enthusiasm, friendship, eye opening, reflection, diversity say just a few things. Participants learn so much during this week in such an unique way. We listened to guest speakers including: “The Dating Doctor” David Coleman, Michael Miller, Ed Gerety, Slam Poets “The Asia Project”, and Ebony Stewart. These speakers all provide education, motivation, and different perspectives to all, including the guides. Leadership isn’t just about self gain, but the betterment of people surrounding us. Participants also get to go on excursions, challenge courses, and learn how to grow as a community.

The participants are the main reason why I love to work with Safari, but a great incentive of being on Safari staff is the friends and connections you make. The friendships that formed within my core team was phenomenal and I still keep in contact with today. The sleep deprivation, tears, laughs, and bond really does create a family in two weeks. Because I will be back for a 5th year at Central, I am so proud to say that I will be returning to Safari and as guide!

 

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Leadership Role in an Organization

At first I was unsure if I should write about something that I would typically not want to talk about to the general public being the happy, energetic person that I am, but a person who is extremely important to me convinced me otherwise.

“Evan, what has happened is in the past. What you have learned, gained, and grown from your experiences is part of who you are”

As many people have heard in the CMU community, my fraternity has been suspended from Central Michigan for the next three years for breaking university policy. Although many people recently have seen us as the “bad guys” or may refer us to more derogatory terms I want to give my experience as a brother.

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. 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 values, have fun, and had a group that was different from each other yet still held a bond that I will always hold. . I have met my absolute best friends and I could not 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. No joke, since joining, I have learned how to manage my time, my grades have skyrocketed, and learned to use my struggles in the past and turn them into life lessons.

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, as well as raising money through our PKTober-fest this last fall. Up until the suspension, I was able to give brothers community service opportunities, like cleaning up the streets of Mount Pleasant, volunteering at camps, keep everyone aware of opportunities on campus, along with raising money for a cause that I cherish deeply in my heart .

This was my fourth and final year with the group. Although it did not end as planned, Phi Tau was everything I needed and if it wasn’t for this group. I don’t even know if I would still be at Central if it wasn’t for the men that pushed me. I am the man I am today because of my brothers and this year has taught me so much about overcoming something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I’m blessed to be a part of a group that is so accepting to who you are. Just because my house doesn’t have letters anymore does not mean that I still won’t represent Central Michigan in a positive and welcoming atmosphere.

Service Learning and Alternative Breaks

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.

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.

Post-Service Trip Reflection

LAS in the D 6

As you read in my most previous post, I was fortunate to attend the LAS in the D service trip. Can I say that this was probably the most fun I have had all year. We got to go downtown and visit Ford Field and Lowe Campbell Ewald, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and eat some heavenly pizza at PizzaPapalis. This stuff was all the fun I had imagined, but the most important thing we did on our first day was facilitating a leadership day for the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy.

The Jalen Rose Leadership Academy is four year secondary charter school located in Detroit, Michigan. One of our LAS alum is a teacher at this school which had given the Leadership Institute a good connection to the school. Giving these children the opportunity to participate in leadership activities actually was quite inspiring. Most of the children of this school do not get the same opportunities to get involved in leadership roles like we do everyday.

The next day, we had the privilege to work with the Motor City Blight Busters and learn about their organization. The people who had started the organization had a dream and built on in. We served them by spreading mulch on a big field which will eventually be used for urban farming.

I felt that this trip was very beneficial for me to have. I have learned the importance of what it truly means to serve a city that has served us throughout our lives. Working with the students at Jalen Rose really impacted me since I want to become a teacher when I get older. Also serving with the blight busters I felt also gave me the motivation to want to go out and give back to the community. LAS in the D was very successful and I hope that I will get the opportunity to do it again!

LAS in the D 1 LAS in the D 2 LAS in the D 3 LAS in the D 4 LAS in the D 5

Preview: Detroit Service Trip

This upcoming weekend, I have been given the wonderful opportunity to give back to the community. One form of leadership is service and is one of the main purposes of our Leadership Institute at Central Michigan University. As we all know Detroit is not in one of the top places to live, economy isn’t too hot, and has such a negative vibe that people tend to attach to it. Detroit has probably the worst reputation in the entire country. These are the things we hear, whether you have heard about it on the news, from family, or even at your schooling. It may be negative, but it all adds up to our mission of the Leadership Institute.

The Leadership Institute’s main goal is to develop not just leaders, but leaders that actually strive for success in all aspects of life. We can’t just give up and throw a city like Detroit in the dirt. People give Detroit such a bad name, but the only way of getting rid of a reputation of such, is by actually going out into the world and working as hard as you can to make a change. Our vision of the Leadership Institute is to give back to community, love the community, and improve the community.

One thing we really do care about is service. Service is what you do for others without expecting anything in return. It is something that really is the building blocks of a paradise. If everyone served each other, no one would ever have to worry about a single thing in this world. Going on this service trip is another step in my adventure to be the best leader I can be. Being a true leader is defined as what you give to others and service proves to the world that you care. I can’t wait to see what this weekend has in store for me!