As part of the Leader Advancement Scholarship, each Sophomore chooses an incoming Freshman to mentor. As a result, during competition day all the soon-to-be mentors flocked into the Powers Ballroom to scope out the incoming freshman, but more importantly, potential mentees. I don’t remember a lot of details from that day but I do remember meeting Thomas. He was introduced to me by a friend that gave him a tour. When he was introduced to me, my friend said later that he thought Thomas was a good potential mentee for me. So, after competition day, I did a little research and sure enough, Thomas seemed like a more athletic, better-looking replica of me. AKA, the perfect mentee.
So needless to say, I was ecstatic when I officially became Thomas’ mentor. As I got to know Thomas I quickly realized what a great guy he is. Thomas is extremely focused and goal-oriented. I know that when Thomas sets his mind to something there is not much that is going to stop him. I knew when I received Thomas as a mentee that he was a special guy. And sure enough, right off the bat, Thomas and I had a great relationship and our relationship became more of a friendship than a mentorship. Due to our interests being so similar, and Thomas being a naturally outgoing, happy-go-lucky guy, it didn’t take long for us to develop a strong relationship.
One point of mentorship that was emphasized to us prior to picking our mentees is that you don’t have to be best friends with them, just be there to support them and help them transition to college. Although not every mentor-mentee relationship results in a great friendship, I got lucky with Thomas and am looking forward to the amazing things he’s going to accomplish.
As a result of my e-board position for Special Olympics College, I took on another role in the Student Government Association as a representative for SO College. Although when I accepted the position I knew very little about SGA, it did not take long for me to learn what SGA was all about.
My first day at SGA I had the opportunity to choose a committee to be a part of for the year. I chose Academic Affairs because, as a a future educator, the more experience I gain in the field the better. As a member of the Academic Affairs committee we worked together to first look at problems on Central’s campus in the field of academics. We did this by looking at each member of the committee’s personal experience and then, more importantly, did some tabling. Our goal during tabling was to survey a random population of Central students to see what types of problems students were having with academics.
After obtaining this information we set our goals on writing some proposals to get some change on campus. Throughout the year we wrote a couple of proposals including one for an online bump system to speed the process up, one to extend the library’s hours (open an hour earlier and stay open an hour later), a proposal to assist students in the case of medical amnesty, and more.
On top of participating in the committee I was also a part of the House of Representatives where I represented SO College. My job as a representative was to give my input on proposed bills and vote on these bills, just like the United States House of Representatives.
SGA provided me the opportunity to make a positive impact on campus and make my voice heard. Although I wasn’t always ecstatic about attending the meetings every Monday night, I am glad I was able to be a part of such a positive organization. The people I met and relationships I made, paired with the constant opportunity to improve Central Michigan made my time in SGA a great experience.
Anyone who knows me knows how passionate I am about the Special Olympics. So, naturally, one of the first things I did on campus was join Special Olympics College, the organization on campus. My freshman year I spent as a general member and as the year came to and end it was suggested to me that I run for an e-board position. There were quite a few positions open, however, the one I ended up running for was Student Government Association (SGA). As I said when I ran for the position, my role on e-board extended beyond just representing SO College at SGA but also taking on a larger role throughout SO College. During the past year, I was able to take on a larger role in the organization. This included participating in many more unified sports and, of course, taking on my role of SGA representative.
One of my favorite parts of being part of the Special Olympics College is unified sports. For those who are not familiar with it, unified sports are intramural sports played with half Special Olympics athletes and half Central Michigan students. These sports include basketball, flag football, volleyball, kickball, and more. I took every opportunity I had to participate in these games which allowed me to take on a larger role in the organization and develop a relationship with the athletes.
One of the best moments of unified sports was heading down to Western Michigan University for a regional tournament. This allowed my relationship with the athletes that participated in the tournament to increase and gave me an outstanding opportunity with unified sports. The sprinkles on top of the sundae were that we took first place and will soon head down to Ohio State for the national tournament. Unified has been a wonderful opportunity for me and something that I have had a blast with.
Overall, I have cherished my participation with Special Olympics College on campus. SO College has provided me with countless opportunities to grow and limitless fun and priceless interactions with the athletes. In fact, one of my proudest moments of my Sophomore year was all my hard work as an SGA Rep paying off when I received a grant for over $1,000 to pay every member of our organization’s way to the Winter Games. This made all my hard work pay off and gave me a priceless reward for the effort I put in. When elections came up this year I was looking to take on a larger role in the organization. As a result, I ran for President and was lucky enough to be elected as the President for next year. I cannot wait for my involvement in the organization to grow and take on the role of President of SO College.
When it comes to my volunteer experience Special Olympics have always been something I have always been passionate about and something that I love to do. Throughout the past year, I have had the pleasure volunteering with the Special Olympics several times. These include unified sports (read more about here), the Special Olympics Winter Games, and officiating the Special Olympics state regional tournament.
One of my favorite volunteer experiences is the Special Olympic Winter Games. The Winter Games take place the first week of February in Traverse City at the Grand Traverse resort. This was my second year attending the Winter Games and it again far exceeded my expectations.
The Winter Games are always a highlight of my year. It’s no wonder why hundreds of students wake up at 8 a.m. to race to get the volunteer spots. For the second consecutive year, I got a spot with my number one choice, snowshoe. As a snowshoe volunteer, I might be a little bias but I am convinced that snowshoe is the premier event at the game. From the early morning to dinner, with a break for lunch, we worked cycling scores of athletes through the events all week. Although being out in cold was a bit exhausting at times, there was never a dull moment working with the athletes. This year I had the pleasure of working awards. My job was to round up the athletes that recently finished heats and get their shoes off, get them to awards, and get them lined up on their podiums.
On top of the Winter Games, I was able to officiate at the Special Olympics state regional tournament. I was an official for intramural sports at Central and as a part of the Special Olympics College RSO on campus was asked to help out at the tournament. Helping out at the tournament was an absolute blast. I ended up officiating about 6 games. Volunteering, as always, was a very rewarding experience and it was awesome to see the athletes compete with each other. One specific experience that was awesome was when a game I was officiating began to get out of hand, some athletes on the leading team began to assist members on the other team to get baskets. Not only did they help the team get baskets but they made sure every single opposing player had an opportunity to get a basket. Despite the high competitive nature for a majority of the tournaments seeing the athletes caring for each other was an awesome experience.
Having these opportunities to volunteer with Special Olympics never fails to surprise me and fulfill my passion. As a future Special Educator, every opportunity to interact with the athletes reminds me again and again.
Central Michigan graduates ethical leaders. This is what I was told when I toured Central, when I competed for the Leader Advancement Scholarship, and repeatedly since I got here. I was always a bit skeptical, however. It’s easy to say that Central graduates ethical leaders but what will Central provide me that will make me a more ethical leader than graduates from other universities?
My answer came in the form of PHL118L, Intro to Philosophy, with Gary Fuller. So often we view ethics as cut and dried decisions. Often, when I use to think about ethics, I viewed it as a simple decision: do the easy thing or the right thing. Do the thing that will make you more money, or the right thing. However, it did not take long in Professor Fuller’s course for me to realize that when it comes to a majority of decisions, especially those decisions that leaders face, it is not this cut and dried.
Throughout the semester we examined many topics including abortion, war, torture, euthanasia, and more. A majority of the class was examining the pros and cons of these topics and making a decision. One of the biggest things I took away from this course is that often there is not ‘right’ choice. Nonetheless, being in a leadership position we are going to have to make a choice. It is our responsibility to look at it from all sides, weigh the options, and justify our decision. This course was one that I enjoyed going to and truly helped me develop as an ethical leader.