October 31, 2010 - 10:38 AM
It's Halloween night and I should be out doing something fun, but instead I'm at my desk printing out the study guide for my PPPM midterm on Thursday. I spent the entire afternoon in the Knight Library reviewing my notes for my Human Physiology "Exercise as Medicine" midterm that's tomorrow afternoon. This is going to be a hard week on the studying front. Luckily, I've come to love the library. Whenever I go there, I feel like I'm obligated to be focused and not be distracted by my text messages or Facebook.
I have a couple study spots on campus that I alternate so that my routine doesn't get too dull. I go to the study lounge on my dorm room floor, the Knight Library or the Law Library. The Law Library is even more intense. People will give you dirty looks if they even see you looking at Facebook for five minutes. One of my favorite feelings comes right after a long afternoon at Knight Library. I love walking along the path next to the library on the way back to my dorm. The trees are busy changing colors, and not many people walk around there, so it's a peaceful way to decompress after reading a dense textbook for four hours.
Through the Annual Giving Program's Special Campaign, alumni and donors are helping to make the library even more user-friendly for students. You are helping to expand the library's collections and even keep the library open 24/7. Having the library open 24 hours a day let's students have a focused place to study into the wee hours of the morning. This is a crucial service that would not have been made possible without the support of donors, so thank you!
October 29, 2010 - 3:30 PM
When I was in high school, I was extensively involved with a national organization called buildOn, which provides community service based experiences to high school students through various types of after-school programming. buildOn's mission is three fold: to engage students in local community service, have them learn about global education issues, and raise money to build schools in the developing countries where buildOn works.
Being a part of buildOn honestly changed my life. It may cliché, but if it weren't for my involvement with buildOn, I can confidently say that I would not be pursuing an International Studies degree here at the University of Oregon. In July 2008, I had the privilege of participating in a trip to Mali, West Africa to help build a school through the organization's Trek for Knowledge program. For two weeks I lived with a host family in a small, rural village and spent four hours on the school construction sight molding cement bricks and tying rybar under the glaring sun and 110 degree heat. This trip impacted me on many levels, but if there's one lesson that has continued to stick with me it's that there is a world out there beyond my arguments with friends, disappointing test scores, or another rainy day in Eugene. In essence, I need not wait on someone else to change the world. What I really took to heart after my time in Mali is that change is in my hands, so instead of complaining about the trials and tribulations of daily life, I should get up and do something.
Now fast forward two and a half years later. Yesterday morning, I flew to Seattle to be the honored guest at a fundraising dinner for buildOn. It was a night full of inspiration, touching stories, delicious food and great networking opportunities. I had the opportunity to talk with many attendees about how buildOn helped me find my passions, and how they too could jump on board to support more youth around the country in doing the same thing.
After a long night of schmoozing over appetizers, four and a half hours of sleep, an hour flight back to Eugene, and attendance in three discussion sections, I'm about to clock in for another night of calling at the Annual Giving Program. I am exhausted, but trying to remember that college only happens once, so I better make the most of it!
October 23, 2010 - 5:00 PM
As a student caller with the Annual Giving program, alumni and donors that I talk to on the phone often ask me why I decided to become a Duck. Since this is my first blog post, I thought a little introduction of who I am would be appropriate. I was born in Minneapolis, and moved to Berkeley, California when I was five years old. When it came to researching colleges during my senior year of high school, my college counselor recommended that I check out the University of Oregon because she thought I would fit in well with the liberal, open-minded atmosphere. I had never really considered going to a large, public university because I had spent my entire life in private schools, and was convinced that I learned best in smaller, more personal settings.
However, when I visited the University, something intuitively felt right. Unlike some of the other schools I looked at, I didn't need to rationalize why I liked the school. An excited feeling in my gut told me that this was where I needed to be. When I visited with my mom in April, we took a tour through the Admissions Office, but also met with a professor from the Planning, Public Policy and Management (PPPM) department and talked to an advisor from the Disability Services office. As the two of them told me more about the programs offered here, I quickly became convinced that this school would be the right fit.
Upon starting at the University last fall, what I quickly discovered is that if I worked hard at it, I would easily find my niche. Finding my niche in the Service Learning Program and Holden Leadership Center makes my 400 student lecture classes feel a lot less intimidating, and let's me utilize my passions. Just in the past month, I've had the opportunity to participate in a variety of programs, such as the LeaderShape Institute and Make A Difference Day. Through these programs, I've started networking with like-minded students who share the same interests and values.
After a year as a Duck, I'm confident that I've also settled on two majors: PPPM and International Studies with a focus on International Development in Latin America. In the spring, I will officially declare these majors and start my upper division major oriented classes. I have great feelings about the road ahead, and look forward to sharing my experiences with the broader UO community through this blog!
October 23, 2010 - 5:00 PM
The week before school started, I had the privilege of attending a campus based session of The Leadershape Institute with about 60 other University of Oregon students. The program is coordinated every year by the Holden Leadership Center, with the goal of engaging a diverse group of student leaders that have "a healthy disregard for the impossible." The program is funded by Ambassador Glen Holden and Mrs. Gloria Holden, whose generous support makes it possible for every student to attend free of charge. Going into Leadershape, I had no idea what to expect. After a powerful week of small group discussions, hands on activities, group processes, and lots of reflection, I was faced with the reality that school would soon be starting and reading and studying for midterms would take over my life.
At the end of the week, John Duncan, the Director of the Holden Leadership Center, issued all of us a challenge to stay in action. He gave us some extra incentive by putting out an invitation to apply for a $1000 grant related to the vision we developed at Leadershape. My vision is to live in a world where students understand themselves and the world, and utilize service based experiences to be catalysts for change in their communities. I know it sounds big, but that is the purpose of a vision - to think about the ideal world you would like to live in.
I took John's challenge and applied for the grant. I partnered with another Leadershape graduate to develop three "micro" service projects to implement during National Volunteer Week in April: making baby blankets for the Relief Nursery, assembling Healthy Start Kits for ShelterCare clients, and putting on a Community Sports Day for local children in partnership with O Heroes, the student-athlete community service group.
Brainstorming ideas, drafting a budget, and writing essays are all parts of the grant writing process that I know will continue to serve me as I move through the University. Through this process, I learned about the value of collaboration and what it means to diligently work on a project I believe in. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that I get the grant! It's my goal to bring more service opportunities to campus that engage a cross section of the student population, and I think that this grant is great avenue to help achieve this goal.