Alternative Breaks Advisory Board

I do not really know where to begin talking about my experiences this year on the Alternative Breaks Advisory Board. I took a leap of faith last year when I applied to be on the Alternative Breaks Board. I knew I was passionate about Alternative Breaks and wanted to take a larger leadership role on campus. I was blessed to be given the opportunity to be the Weekends Chair for the 2017/18 school year. Coming into the year, I did not realize how big of an impact each member of the board would be on my year and life.

Each person on board lives with such passion for social justice issues and is always trying to make a difference at CMU and communities around the country. I know each person is going to be so successful in their future endeavors.

This year wouldn’t have been so impactful if it wasn’t for the challenges I had to overcome. The position of Weekend Chair had me planning Weekend Alternative Breaks throughout Michigan in the Fall and Spring semesters. This included many calls and emails to service and housing partners, waiting till the last minute for paperwork to be sent back, and in the end having successful breaks during the year. I was not always the best at the position and had to overcome many challenges. This experience has really allowed me to grow and become an overall better person. I have become more confident, better at organizing, more open to others opinions, and gained many skills that will help me in my future.

This group has truly become another family away from home. I am already starting to miss everyone that will be graduating in just a few days after writing this. In good news, I am excited to say that I will be returning next year to be the Fundraising Chair. I am beyond ecstatic for the new challenges and opportunities this position will bring me next year. I have already started game-planning. I am also excited to learn from all of the new board members, even some familiar faces, that will soon share that same bond we had this year on board. I could probably talk about Alternative Breaks forever. I think it is safe to say that I love AB.img_0217


Level Up: Alternative Breaks

I have no doubt found another home at CMU and that is with the Alternative Breaks Program. I decided to take my involvement to another level this year by becoming a Site Leader. A Site Leader is in charge of running 8 weekly meetings and leading 10 participants to volunteer with an organization in a community in the U.S. This position also requires speaking with the housing and service partners, handling the money for food and gas, and running reflections with the group. I was lucky enough to have lead a week-long break during Spring Break to Tallahassee, Fl., lead a break for Marine Life to Muskegon, Mi, and been a participant on Community Restoration in New Jersey.

I was able to work with organization like the Saint Bernard Project, Ability 1st, and Darling Cetaceans. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to work with each of these organizations. I was able to learn a lot about the effects of Hurricane Sandy that hit the east coast, issues facing marine life all around the country, and was able to assist the special needs community in Tallahassee. Alternative Breaks has made such a large impact in my life over the past two years and I would not trade it for the world.  I am proud that it is one of my involvements at CMU. I am excited for what next year will hold as I will be once again taking on the role of site leader.

Launching into Leadership

This year I was lucky enough to have participated in Leadership Launch as my LEAD Team. I am very involved with Special Olympics on campus, so I was blessed to be given another opportunity to get more involved with the community. This was a big year for Leadership Launch and Special Olympics. We really put an emphasis on having our own ideas implemented and to take a big step in development of the event. The event was a huge success as it was recognized by the higher ups in the Special Olympics Organization.

I was lucky enough to be able to hangout with an awesome group of students throughout the day. Participants included students and partners from high schools all around Michigan. We went around to different rooms participating in various leadership and critical thinking activities. I really feel that the students took a lot from the day and enjoyed their time. Personally, I was able to learn a lot from the students. They always had very thoughtful things to say in the activities and personal experiences. It was also great to run small group activities and reflection. You can never have too much practice in those skills. I am very excited to see the direction Leadership Launch takes in the future and I hope to be apart of it next year.Leadership Launch

Special Olympics College

     To this point of my college career, the experiences I have had with Special Olympics at CMU have meant the most to me. I would not trade them for the world. SO College is one of the RSOs I have been apart of at Central my Sophomore year. I started getting involved with similar activities in high school through Victory Day. At Victory Day, Varsity Football players each got assigned an individual with intelectual dissibilities to be our partner for the day. We got to run drills with them and let them run in a touchdown on the field. It was one of my best moments in high school and pushed me towards Special Olympics in college. 

     I have been able to do a lot with the SO College this year. One of my favorite parts is participating in Unified Sports. We basically go through every sport, competing on teams that combine CMU students and Special Olympic athletes. This year I was able to participate in Football, Basketball, and hopefully kickball at the end of the year. Being around these athletes is one of my passions in life. I love to interact with every single one of them. Competing with the athletes has brought about a lot of joy  and lasting memories. My favorite memory was playing a basketball game on McGuirk arena and bringing home the W. By simply playing a sport, I have made connections that I may normally not have had or expected. It truly brings joy to my heart. Another fun experience was getting to volunteer at the opening of Texas Roadhouse where we were able to spread awareness for Special Olympics. There are so many great things I have been able to do this year through Special Olympics and I am excited to continue participating next year.

My Unified Basketball Team

     I am blessed that a couple of my friends share the same passion as me for Special Olympics. Being able to do these things with your friends make it even better. I will always enjoy this type of experience, and I hope to continue being involved in some way or another throughout my life. I have had a great experience with Special Olympics at Central Michigan University this year.

Communication in Leadership

     COM 461L is a class taken with our cohort in the second semester of our Sophomore year. Out of all the LAS classes we are required to take, this class was the best class for becoming better leaders, learning a lot of valuable skills, and putting them into action with the leadership roles we have around campus. Our professor was so awesome and I highly enjoyed taking her class. The class allowed for a lot of conversations on the information presented in class. We learned the many ways that communication is a very important part of Leadership. We also learned that leadership needs communication, even non-verbal communication, but to communicate one does not always need to have leadership skills. 

     Throughout the class, we would have to do a reading every week. These readings consisted of many leadership situations and how they played out. They were in things like businesses, expeditions, and simply leading a group of people. All of these people had unique leadership skills, and some even misused or did not have the skills necessary to be successful. The readings provided many different ways that leadership can be effective and not effective, while also being interesting and showing great examples.

     I definitely enjoyed the class and learned a lot. I was able to expand on the knowledge I had already, and was able to expand on it even more. I think these skills will help me in the future with my future leadership endeavors. I will continue to improve on these skills even after the class concludes. I never have a bad experience taking a class with the LAS cohort and this class did not prove to be an exception. This was one of my favorite classes of the semester and I am glad I was able to take it.

Trials and Tribulations of Mentorship

     I was very excited to become a mentor towards the end of my freshman year. I was even more pumped when I selected Billy Chillman as my mentee.  Billy and I had an interesting relationship to say the least. Some of my favorite memories occurred at our yearly Mentor-Mentee retreat. We had an especially great time at the outside high ropes course. It was a great activity to build  a strong bond and trust to strengthen the mentor-mentee bond. We found a lot in common with a love for sports  and similar personalities.

     Throughout the year, we were pretty on and off with how much we saw each other and communicated. At times I definitely felt that Billy had his life together more than I did. He was from Beal City, a surrounding city to Mt. Pleasant, so he was very involved with his school and taking different coaching roles. He was also planning on graduating over a year early which was very impressive. At the beginning of the year I was able to help him get adjusted with the college life and get his classes situated, but beyond that he had his life together way more than me. 

     Overall being a mentor had its fill of  ups and downs, but I learned a lot of valuable lessons. In future opportunities to mentor someone, I will be able to take what I learned and improve. I think this experience was valuable to my developement as a leader and will stay with me for the rest of my proffesional career. I am so glad to have met Billy and have this experience.


Philosophy: Moral Problems was one of the LAS protocol classes that my cohort took together. This always proves to make the class even more interesting than it already could have been. Our professor, Gary Fuller, was one of the most interesting proffessors I have ever had at CMU. This class was full of controversial topics which my classmates had some great ideas and opinions, but also some questionable views that I respected. 

My favorite part of the class was giving a presentation about a topic that was discussed in class. The topic I was given was torture. I was lucky enough to be in a group with my roommate the previous year and one of my best friend Chase, which made the presentation very easy and relaxed. Of course we killed it(not being cocky but in reality we did) and our professor loved our presentation.  

I enjoyed how this class challenged any views that you may have had coming into it. Many topics, that are normally tough to talk about in person, were heavily debated. I will continue to challenge ideas now that I have taken this class.