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.

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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.

Service Across the Country

     One of the two Registered Student Organizations that I have been apart of this year is the Alternative Breaks program. CMU has one of the top AB programs in the country. I was lucky enough to have been able to participate on a Winter Break that went to Asheville, North Carolina. I went on the break focusing on Access to Sports and Recreation. We were able to work with a YMCA that held after school events for kids and ran a summer camp. We built a Gaga Ball pit, dug out a trench to help reduce the field from flooding, and ran a field day for the kids. It was awesome to improve their field and get to spend some time hanging out with the kids. Also, we were able to go out into a couple of communities and give out healthy food options and Turkeys for families to have for Christmas dinner. It was an amazing feeling to see how grateful each person was to receive a turkey and some healthy food.

The Whole AWB Group


     Coming into the week, I did not have super high expectations. I was completely blown away by the experience. I simply thought we would be volunteering at a YMCA, but it was much more than that. The things this YMCA were doing with having food drives that gave healthy options and steered people from using whatever canned food they were normally given does not get the credit it deserved. All of the workers at the YMCA had such passion for what they were doing. Especially Lisa Riggsbee, our community partner, who had so much passion and was doing so much that she was most likely not all required to do. This was such an amazing place with so many amazing people and I am so proud to have been on this break. Words can not fully describe how much this trip meant to me. My site leaders Alexandra and Cullan helped make the experience great along with my amazing group members. Everyone had such great personalities and a love for helping others.


I am so happy that I was able to experience an alternative break. It has had such a large impact in my life. I enjoyed my experience so much that I wanted to explore more that alternative breaks had to offer. This lead to me applying to become a site leader my self and be apart of the board. I was happy when I got accepted to be a site leader next year. As well, I will be one of the Weekends Site, Service,and Development Co-Chairs. I am so excited to be taking on these leadership roles next year and to be even more involved with Alternative Breaks.

Special Olympics Winter Games

This year I have been very involved with Special Olympics at CMU. One of the opportunities that CMU provides is the ability to attend the Winter Olympics. Every year over 100 CMU students sign up and volunteer over a weekend in January/February. We all sign up for certain jobs that we will do over that weekend. I was able to work on the ski hills where I would flag down if any of the athletes did not go through any of the gates. It was awesome to watch how awesome the athletes enjoyed being out on the hills and how talented they were in participating in the different Solemn events. I could tell they had worked very hard to be so skillful and had a passion for what they were doing.

During the nights once we returned from the outdoor events, students and athletes all joined together to have an opening ceremony. We all formed lanes for all of the athletes and their families to run through while we obnoxiously cheered them on. Watching all of their faces light up gave me a lot of joy. After all of the festivities, we were able to get together with all of the other volunteers and share our memories and hangout. On the last day of the competitions, all of the medal placing athletes were awarded their various medals. Then once we finished up and returned to the hotel, we had a closing ceremony. This time we created lanes again, but had bubbles and even more cheering and high-fives as the athletes ran through the lines showing pride with their medals around their neck. The amount of joy on each athletes face was amazing, especially the ones that continuously went back in line to run through the lanes again. There was also a motivational speaker that had once been injured in the army, and then went on to be a professional lifter despite losing a leg. To end it off, we all had a large dance party filled with smiles and pure joy. It was truly an amazing experience and I can not wait to go again next year.

Chase and I volunteering on the ski hills!

This was just one of my volunteer experiences this year, but it was definitely one of my favorites. It is so important to give back to the community and those that are less fortunate. If you are able to find something that you are passionate about it will be that much easier to go out and volunteer. That is exactly what I am doing with Special Olympics. I am excited to continue volunteering through Special Olympics and taking advantage of all of these amazing opportunities I am blessed with.

PHL118L

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. 

HDF 110

     HDF 110 Opression: Roots & Impact definitely proved to be an interesting class. I came into the class expecting it to be filled with a lot of common sense topics. The class for the most part followed my expectations, but it had some information that I found interesting. I enjoyed my professor and how they taught despite not always agreeing with what they had to say. 

     Unfortunately, there was a student or two that dominated the class often with their views. Other than those few students, I enjoyed debating and hearing other student’s opinions. The topic of privilege and Opression always bring a lot of different viewpoints and interesting statistical data. I enjoyed being able to analyze and talk about the data and its effects. 

     Overall I enjoyed the class.  It had its ups and downs, but it was interesting enough to have a positive effect on me. I enjoyed many of the activities we participated in, and enjoyed reading the certain articles assigned. I will be able to be more conscientious about other people and the backgrounds they come from to help me become a better leader and overall person.

I’m Not Lucky I’m Blessed

Deciding to attend Central Michigan University has been the best decision in my life to this point. I am blessed to be able to call this place my second home. I have already changed and grown so much in just one short year of college. I came into college not knowing my future and just about anyone here. That soon changed with my LAS family! 47 amazing people that I am lucky enough to call my friends. They have taught me so much and made me want to be a better person.

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I came to Central as an uninformed kid that loved people, but was clueless about the issues around the world. There is so much change that needs to happen around the world and I know my fellow LASers and I are gonna make a difference in the world. Saving the world, whether it be the environment (no more disposable plastic water bottles), going Vegan (meat is too good for me to stop), or just being more knowledgeable and aware. I do not tell everyone in my cohort enough just how amazing they are.

I realize this transition could have not been easy on my parents. I came close to commuting to a university near my hometown which would have saved me & my parents a lot of money  and student loans. After meeting Dan Gaken and other Leadership staff, my wise older sisters and parents encouraged me to go to CMU because they knew how much I would gain from the Leadership Program. Going from 4 kids living at home, to now an empty house. They have been nothing but supportive. They are always pushing me to do better and improve. My first semester was defenitely a challenge academically which I never faced previously in my schooling. I was surrounded by the support of Dan, my mentor, & many positive LAS’ers  who had high standards & similar interests which made the transition easy. I have learned so much and made the necessary changes to be successful. I can take everything I have learned into the future with me so that I can be and do anything that I put my heart into.
     I have been lucky enough to receive a wonderful mentor; Bellal, and brother; Nate,  volunteer and give back in Detroit, attend leadership conferences where I was inspired, go on weekend retreats where we bonded, listen to amazing speakers, meet the president, and make life long friends. This is only the start of what LAS has offered me. 

Living on campus, I have become a part of Program Board, volunteered around Mt. Pleasant, became an intramural champion in co-ed dodge-ball (with only a team of 6 against all teams of 7),  and lost the championship game of bubble soccer (we should have won if 26 year old nurses didn’t beat us :), fundraising and participating in Relay for Life, which is near to my heart, and all the future opportunities I will have to be involved in.
I was lucky enough to live in a Dorm where we are truly a community. Barnes has given me lifelong friends I will treasure forever, an important support system and many lifelong memories. Warm weather finally hits and everyone goes outside to hangout, do homework, and get a little competitive in volleyball. We stay up late writing blog posts, making cookies for competition day, going on long boarding trips (even though I am not the best), supporting each other, or just simply hanging out.

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Everything I have done in college has improved me as a person and allowed me to grow as a leader. I can’t even imagine my life without having such a strong leader & mentor in Dan and the LI. I now have a passion to make everyone feel special, because you do not know what someone is going through and even just a few kind words could have a positive effect on them. I have improved my facilitation skills which I hope to always keep improving on. My eyes have been opened and I have a new overall compassion as a person. Although Engineering is usually not common as a leadership fulfilling major, I am excited and will strive to become a leader in the field and use my knowledge for the benefit of others.

A true leader understands cultural differences and that every individual they encounter is different and can lead in their own way. If you know what is going on around you, you can be more effectuve in how you lead. I hope I have expressed the positive and life altering affect college has had on me so far. It is hard to put in words how special this place is to me. I am blessed to call it my second home. Most people say they love their college and the opportunities it brings, but I truly mean it. The campus is so inviting, there is a common passion to make a difference, and the focus on the importance of Leadership makes CMU so amazing. I could never write about all of the positive impact CMU & most importantly the LI,  has had on me but I hope you get the scope of it.  I can not wait to see what the future holds.

The Future Roomies. I am ready for the crazy ride we are about to have next year in Emmons with everyone else that is also joining us!