Greek life automatically comes with a negative stigma. However, without Greek Life, I would not know half of the people on campus that I do and would not have some of my best friends. I also would not have been equipped with necessary life skills and connections to the business world as I do.
I have made many life-long friends and memories during my time in SAE, and I can only imagine what it will bring me in the future years. I was the volunteer chair where I planned volunteer events for our brothers. I was also elected as our philanthropy chair.
Greek Life brings our community together by holding events such as Greek Week and other philanthropic events. We raise thousands of dollars for different organizations and truly make an impact. I could not imagine my life without my brothers and friends I have made, and it truly makes me a better person being a part of such an amazing organization.
The responsibility of “mentoring” another individual is a scary thought. I often find it difficult to take care of myself and answer my own questions, how am I going to “mentor” someone else? Yet here I am, supposed to be the go-to-guy for this college freshman. The LAS program does not have any specific guidelines, just that you mentor a freshman in the freshmen cohort. When it came time to choose, I knew Kyle Jennings was going to be my lucky mentee!
Kyle is from Ortonville, Michigan, a small town in the metro Detroit area; but don’t let that fool you! Kyle is no small town guy. He is way cooler than I’ll ever be and try to ride along on his coattails. He has his own YouTube channel, (make sure you go subscribe) dances, and almost made it on the voice!
I am also lucky enough to not only have Kyle as a mentee, but as one of my brothers in Sigma Alpha Epsilon! When Kyle told me he was interested in rushing I was ecstatic! I knew he would be a perfect fit in SAE but I made sure he explored all of his options and always told him to go where he felt like he would fit in the best! Watching Kyle grow as a brother and a leader in our chapter has been amazing. After his first semester, he ran for countless positions and is our social media chair. I could not be more proud of everything he has done throughout this year and look forward to mentoring him on being a mentor
Where has the time gone? I don’t know why this blog is so hard for me to write. Every time I sit down to write this, I find myself scrolling through old pictures and reminiscing on memories. As the last few days of the year approach, I have caught myself reflecting on one of the most memorable years of my life. Coming to college, was one of the most life changing experiences. Who knew that the guy I drove to the hospital after getting stabbed in the butt would end up being my best friend? Or the girl whose succulent I broke on the first day would be one of my best friends?
I vividly remember move in day like it was yesterday. After I was all moved in, and my parents left, I was now stuck with these three guys I had never met before. After a few awkward conversations, I knew these guys were going to be my best friends. I honestly can’t imagine my first year without these three. From our late night pizza talks to killing every plant we owned (even a cactus) I won’t change a thing.
Now for Barnes. Going into the year I was excited to live with everyone in LAS but I was not excited about living in the oldest dorm. However, Barnes is the place to be! There was never a day where I didn’t love living here. No matter what time of day, I know I can always walk into a room and memories will instantly begin to happen.
Every year the Leadership Institute takes the freshmen LAS cohort on a service trip to Detroit. I am extremely passionate about the rebirth of Detroit so obviously I was ecstatic when I heard about the trip. I am so blessed to have the resources to go down to Detroit for a weekend and work with children from a local school and doing service projects for the city.
It is a great time to be around Detroit. After years of being the unsafest and poorest city in the country, Detroit is making a rebound. With the construction of the new Red Wings arena, to more stores and business moving downtown, more and more jobs are heading to the area. However, this rebirth doesn’t come without a price. Many native Detroiters are being pushed out of the area to rebuild the city. Even though many people are trying to turn the city around, they are leaving the residents behind. I am very intrigued to see what the people of Detroit have to say about all of the changes that are occurring.
This trip relates directly the the Leadership Institute’s purpose and vision. The LI is providing us with the opportunity to help the communities in Detroit while also growing as leaders ourselves. I am very excited to see what our trip has in store.
DETROIT, MI – MAY 02: Graffiti decorates the ruins of the Packard Automotive Plant, a 35 acre site where luxury cars were manufactured until the 1950’s on May 2, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. Sitting on the East side of Detroit, the former automotive plant is now a site for scavengers, urban explorers and graffiti artists. (Photo by Ann Hermes/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images
One of the many programs that the Leadership Institute has to offer is called the Spark Leadership Series. Spark is a four week leadership training where you meet new people, learn about your own leadership style, and participate in different simulations.
The first week was a lot of work with your group. We made connections, set goals and expectations, and came up with our own definitions of what leadership was.
Week two was my favorite! During this session we took an exam to determine our own leadership styles. We then broke up into groups based on our leadership styles and we learned how we can incorporate our strengths to a group setting. I learned that I was a spirited leader which means I like to encourage others and put others before myself.
The third session was the challenge course. Sadly I was not able to make it to this session because I had to take my roommate to the hospital.
The fourth and final session we participated in a simulation called Bafa Bafa. The simulation was to show the diversity that can be found on college campuses, and the across the world.
My experience with Spark was so beneficial that I applied and am proud to be a facilitator for the spring session of Spark.
Leadership + Waterpark = A great weekend
The annual Connections Leadership Conference is held every year at the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City, Michigan. The main purpose of the conference is to make connections with the fellow leaders of CMU and learn new leadership techniques through the speakers.
I was a little hesitant about going just because I had been to many leadership conferences in the past. But boy was I surprised. Connection was unlike any other leadership conference I had ever been to. The speakers were very interactive and educational and there was a session each day where you would make a plan to but your passions into action. My favorite part however, was the speed dating. It was a lot of fun making those new connections with fellow leaders around campus. All-in-all, I would 10 out of 10 recommend Connections Leadership Conference.
Top: Evan (Mentor) Bottom Right: Dalton (Twin)
One of the cool things about being in LAS is getting a mentor from the cohort above you! Within the first few weeks of school, the Leadership Institute takes the freshmen and sophomore LAS classes on the annual Mentor/Mentee Retreat. But what is mentor/mentee retreat? It’s a weekend at Eagle Village where mentors and mentees bond through team building activities, trust activities, and other fun leadership activities. At night, we have a bonfire where we use this time as a reflection on what we did over the weekend, the new bonds we made, and a safe place to shared heart warming stories about one another.
The retreat really helped me bond with my mentor, Evan, and my twin, Dalton. I learned so much about myself, along with everyone in my cohort, during this weekend. I can’t wait to take my mentee to retreat next year!
LAS 2014 (Maroon) and LAS 2015 (Gold) at Eagle Village for the 2015 Mentor/Mentee Retreat