This week I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute at Indiana University. At UIFI, I got to meet Greek Life leaders from all the country that want to improve their chapters and communities. It was the experience of a lifetime and I feel so blessed that Kappa Delta provided me with a scholarship to attend.
I have been to many conferences and camps before this but UIFI was much different than anything I had ever done. I bonded so quickly with my home chapter. From night one, we spent as many moments together as possible. Everyone was so insightful and contributed so incredibly much to our group. They may have made fun of my accent every chance they got but I wouldn’t trade them for anyone in the entire world. I feel so lucky to have all of them in my life. They all are going to do amazing things for their chapter, community, and the world.
This conference gave me so much to bring back to Kappa Delta and the Wayne State Greek Life community. The tools I was given will help improve things like participation, increasing chapter moral, and over all the culture of my chapter. UIFI is such a special place where everyone wants to do so much good in the world they don’t even know where to start. We spent hours talking about the hard stuff facing Greek Life and spent just as many hours laughing about any thing and every thing you could think of. Karen, the lead facilitator for the conference, made a huge impact on me. She put a lot of energy into investing in me personally and made me experience even more amazing. I will never be able to thank her enough for the advice, time, and ideas she gave me.
The people I met at UIFI made a huge impact on me. I was truly blessed when God put all these individuals in my life: from Hunter and I making fun of each other from day one, to Blair giving me pageant advice, to Tyler and I singing to country music all the way back to Indianapolis. Every person I met helped make the experience what it was. The conference gave me so much hope when it comes to not only Greek Life as a whole but our country. The future will be bright with people like these leading.
Being the feminist that I am the “Gender and Leadership” workshop was really important to me. Women leaders are still, in 2016, not as common as they should be. The idea that women aren’t strong enough or don’t know enough is a bunch of crap! According to research, women earn 57% of bachelor degrees, 60% of masters degrees, and more than 50% of doctoral degrees. I don’t want to hear women aren’t smart because you can’t argue with years of statistics. It has been proven that women lead in a more democratic style compared to men who usually go with a more direct style. This usually leads to better results because people feel more welcomed and open to share ideas. Being the next generation of ethical leaders, we can help to change this. I don’t blame men, I blame societies standards. I think it is important to also acknowledge agender people as well. Someone’s gender or lack of gender doesn’t affect how effective of a leader they are. I am committed to getting female leaders recognized in society’s eyes. I hope to one day hold a high leadership position in the National Athletic Trainers Association(NATA) or the American Kinesiology Association(AKA). I will not let others suppress me simply because I am a female.
To say LDR 200 was different than LDR 100 would be an understatement. In LDR 100, we just had fun and joked around most of the time. Not that I didn’t enjoy it but we didn’t really learn much about leadership. I was excited when I found out LDR 200 was all about learning what leadership really was. Over the course of the semester we were challenged in our ability to explain, show, and demonstrate. We had to facilitate a 15 minute initiative(not a game!) and a 40 minute workshop.
For my initiative, I had goal setting! I got to work with three other people and we created a fun, education initiative to teach the class. We worked really hard and created a really fun deserted island scenario. From what I saw, the class had a fun time and they had a good time competing with the other teams.
For my workshop, I had the path-goal theory. This theory talks about how leaders should motivate their followers through setting goals. According to the theory there are four different types of leaders. We wanted to base our activity on this aspect. I am so proud to say that I created the entire activity we did. We had a list of qualities from the book describing the four types. I came up with “Pin the Trait on the Leader!” The class was split up into groups and tried to figure out which traits corresponded with which type of leader. I was nervous to present but I think we did a great job and I am proud of the entire group.
The LAS in the D trip was truly something I will never forget. So much growth was achieved while we were in the 313. I was very intrigued and challenged while we were down there. I got more out of the trip than I expected. I had fairly high hopes but it was a lot different from what I expected.
We started at the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy. I was most excited for the part of the trip. We had some technical difficulties so we were a bit late so the beginning was kinda awkward. The students at JRLA seemed less than thrilled to be there but as soon as we started playing ice-breakers and creating chants they complete changed. You could hear the sound of laughter rising and it made my heart happy. Throughout the day we rotated to different service based activities. We did projects to benefit Children’s Hospital, OK2SAY, Special Olympics, and Veterans. For the students to graduate they must have a certain number of hours of community service per year. This was a fun, new way for them to get a lot of hours and they really enjoyed it. I loved meeting the students. They have so much potential and are just like us with their hunger to succeed. I really wish I could watch them become great leaders in today’s society. I hope the scholars I worked with learned half as much from me as I did from them.
Friday evening we got to experience Downtown Detroit. It is a pretty familiar area to me since I live a few cities away. I still gained a lot from the experience. For some odd reason, I never went to the DIA and it was truly amazing. The first room I went into took my breath away. I love the arts and that brought tears to my eyes. It was just so inspiring to me. These artists created these master pieces hundreds of years ago and they still make people think today.
The Outdoor Adventure Center, where we slept for the night, was so much fun! We were so lucky that we got to stay there. I was really taken back by how old the building was. The history of the building and area were very interesting to me. The whole place is like taking a piece of the forest and sticking it in Downtown Detroit. The amount of work that Mrs.Walters has put into the center is so great and I am very grateful for what she did for us. While we were there, my group had a really great debriefing session about the trip thus far. We all talked about how the scholars at the JRLA inspired us. We all had our ups and downs for the day but we all agreed that we learned so much about ourselves, others, and Detroit.
Saturday morning, we woke up bright and early to head to CASS community services. I was really unsure what to expect. I started my service for the organization at the soup kitchen. It was definitely different than anything I had ever done. Some of the things that were said to us were inappropriate but I just tried to remember what we were there for and keep a positive attitude. We cleaned the dining area, organized the pantry, and helped prepare food for the people living there. After that, we headed to help make the tire mats. This is was so cool! I was so intrigued by how passion some of the people working there were. They were so proud of their work so they accepted nothing but great. Some moments were frustrating but when Jordyn and I finally finished our mat I was so proud.
I learned so much from this trip about myself, serving others, and relationships. I personally grew a lot from the experience. I also realized that service is always comfortable or easy. Sometimes you have to put your feelings aside to make the lives of other better and I fully intend on doing that when deciding where and when to volunteer from now on. I grew closer with a handful of people in my cohort while on this trip. I am continuously amazed by some of the people I am surrounded with. I am so grateful for the trip and the things I experienced while I was in Detroit.
The Spark Leadership Series is a program at the Leadership institute at CMU. It is a program designed to help students develop their leadership. It is a four week program and each week you dive deeper into what leadership involves and why it is important to be positive, accepting leaders. I think it is so great that this program is offered to anyone on campus. I have gone to many different leadership programs but I am very fortunate. Not everyone gets to experience something like this. With Spark being open and free for everyone it gives everyone the chance to gain leadership skills. One of the greatest things I gained from Spark was connections throughout campus. I often interact with people in leader and the people I have in my classes. This program gave me the oppurtunity to interact and learn from people I would’ve have gotten to otherwise.
Over Winter Break, I went to my high school to help facilitate some leadership activities. The President and the advisor of the HOSA chapter at my high school asked me to come in and help with Leadership Wednesday. Their goal for 2016 was to create more leaders within their organization. I was so honored that they asked me to help. I really grew as a leader while I was the President of the chapter my senior year. The activity I facilitated was Dream Boards for the upcoming year. Since 2016 had just started I thought it was a good time to set some goals and make them visible every day. Everyone really enjoyed the activity and they set some great goals.
Leadership Safari is a week long leadership event for freshmen and transfer students at CMU. We move in a week early and get acclimated to campus. During the week, participants attend workshops, speakers, and ice-breakers. Participants get put into groups of about 10 and we were paired with a well-rounded, educated upperclassmen.
One the first full day of Safari, we experience excursions and had a super fun, hype kick off event. We got the chance to listen to some pretty great a cappella groups. We also had a Safari wide ice-breaker with David Coleman. The following day, we started the morning listening to Michael Miller. In the afternoon, we participated in a bonding leadership challenge course. We went to an amazing performance by Ebony and The Asia Project, both are amazing poets, later that night. The next morning, we listened to a very funny, wild Ed Gerety. That afternoon we all learned a valuable lesson. For lunch we all got different colored lunch according to our name tags. Sounds pretty normal but when we got back to our groups we quickly realized something was going on. We all had a different amount of food. However, my group handled this well. We put all the food in the middle and rationed it out. The lesson was not everyone has it easy in life and the fortunate people, like us, should help in any way possible. We continued with that lesson in the following activity. We all packaged food for third world counties. This wasn’t a huge thing for us but our small acts of kindness could possibly change someones life. I really loved the idea of that. Our final day was excited and sad at the same time. We got the chance to learn some great CMU traditions. We ended safari with a great conference dinner and an awesome celebration!!