Leadership Skills – A.K.A. How to be a Good Community Member

If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.

-Henry Ford

You may not have known it at the time, but when you decided to come to SUNY Oswego, you entered into a sort of social contract. By making the choice to pursue a higher education degree, you have made the choice to be part of a community. The  community you and I belong to is called SUNY Oswego. The most important part of your end of the contract is your obligation to go to classes and do the work for them, but there is another part of that contract which may not be so obvious: being a valuable member of your community at large. The college has multiple avenues for being active in the greater community, but there is one common thread which holds them all together: you. Without student members of the extracurricular organizations and offices, there would hardly be anything to write home about at this school. And while you may not think your role in whatever group(s) you are a part of is particularly important, it most definitely is. If you take these bits of advice and try to behave more like a leader in your organization, you might see it spring to life and gain more influence and credibility in the community at large.

1. Confidence is key.

We’ve heard it a  million times, but it can’t be stressed enough. If you know what you are talking about (or at least act like you do), people are more likely to listen and believe. But this isn’t about just being outgoing for no reason; I mean to say that if you work hard on something, it will show in the way you talk about it. So, sometimes it isn’t enough to talk the talk if you don’t have something good and tangible to back it up.

2. Dedicate time.

This appears to me to be one of the most common problems facing young student leaders. It is very difficult to set aside time for something when the first thing you learn about college life is the breadth of opportunities and activities available to you as a student. But if you can hone in on a few things and really set aside the hours for them, you will soon find people looking up to you and appreciating your effort and dedication to your club or activity.

3. Organize.

If you can find some solid, meaningful, and well-defined goals for your time here at SUNY Oswego, you’re already two steps ahead of the competition. A good way to do this is to start big and work your way down. Find a few broad goals for yourself and compartmentalize them into smaller, more specific tasks, and keep working your way down more and more until you have found yourself in the possession of a set of tasks that are very easy and not stressful individually.

4. Enjoy what you do.

Most importantly, don’t force anything upon yourself. If an activity is not naturally part of your life, you might find yourself often unmotivated to pursue it. This may seem like common sense to some, however I can say from personal experience and first hand observation that it is very easy to feel the need to do something simply out of obligation to friends or maybe because you feel forced to. The trick is to enjoy helping others in the ways that you most easily can afford to.

Hopefully some of these tips stick with you throughout your college career, and hopefully I have helped you make some connections in your mind on what it truly means to be active and a good member of your community. This is an important skill set, one which will greatly enhance your personal and professional life – after all, that’s what we’re going to college for in the first place, right?

5 Student Organizations Anyone Can (And Should!) Join

“No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive.” -Mahatma Gandhi

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Boy this campus is boring, there’s nothing to do here!”? Well, if so, you’re in for a treat today and this blog post is just for you! You may not know it, but there are a TON of student run organizations on campus (many of which are free and just require attendance & participation), and no college experience is complete without being a part of at least one. Its a new year and a new semester, so maybe its time to make a resolution and be a part of something, no matter how small!  Without further ado, here are a few student organizations that you can join and become an active member of with relatively little or no prior experience:

 

Outdoor Club

http://www.oswego.edu/orgs/outdoorclub/index.html

Get back in touch with your wild side! The outdoor club sponsors trips to many of the natural wonders of the northeast. Expect lots of camping and hiking! They accommodate beginners as well as seasoned pros. They even have movie nights and often team up with other clubs to put on events, such as the ski and snowboard club’s campus rail jam. It’s a good stress reliever to get away from school and out into nature for a while, and this club makes it very easy, often providing trips for free! So check out their website and go to a meeting, you might just find it to be the perfect balancing out activity to your busy college lifestyle.

 

Arts Alive

The official student run Art club on campus, these guys are down to earth. No pretentious art gallery fancy pants judgment to be found here. All of their information can be found near or in Tyler Hall Rm. 201. They put on educational events almost every week, and beginners are as welcome as anyone else with a passion for creativity and aesthetics.

 

 

Story Teller’s Guild

Yes, they are nerdy. But they are all also great people with a passion for fiction of all sorts, whether it comes in the form of comic books, games, or anime (among other things). Probably one of the largest groups on campus, they welcome geeks from all walks of life, and encourage members to host their own game/movie/role-playing etc. events. They also put on one large convention every year called ARCON, featuring plenty of game tournaments, panels, and memorabilia booths. Anyone can join, and you don’t have to be obsessed with the lifestyle to have a good time (even if it may be encouraged)!

 

 

Students for Global Change/ Go Green Team

Now two separate clubs, formerly under the umbrella club Students for Global Change, S4GC and the Go Green Team exist to promote environmental, social, and political awareness amongst citizens, with the Go Green Team specializing in environmental concerns and local green initiatives. Students for Global change often supports many other organizations on campus and encourages members to reach out to the community with their concerns, whether that be through workshops, personal projects or fundraising for global outreach organizations.

 

Student Association

http://www.oswegosa.org/

Last but most definitely not least we have SA, the glue which holds all of the other student organizations together. Believe it or not, the students who choose to participate in SA are doing it of their own free will, actively working to make the social and cultural environment on campus great for everyone. They have a lot of influence in many of the policies that are made by the administration and work very hard with average students who want to make something happen, but perhaps don’t have the tools or the know-how to go about doing it. In joining SA, you could gain a lot of experience working with people, which is something employers love, but they don’t necessarily teach in the classrooms. Their are many positions, from being a senator to a financial officer, and finding which is right for you would be a great step in learning how to be a leader in not just the SUNY Oswego community, but later on down the road of life as well.

 

 

Honorable Mentions:

Cut the Craft

Ultimate Frisbee Club

Philosophy Club

History Club

 

You can find information on all student organizations here, including many more specialized clubs for your more immediate interests:

http://www.oswego.edu/student/organizations/search.html

I hope this was informative, and if I didn’t get to any clubs or organizations on campus (new or otherwise!) that are accessible and anyone can join, give ’em a shout out in the comments below!

A Glimmer of Hope, The Congo

Dr. Webe Kadima is an associate professor of chemistry here at SUNY Oswego. Since 2006 , she has made two biannual trips to Kinshasa, the largest city and capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The purpose of these trips? To research and develop an affordable medical solution to Type 2 diabetes using wild plants found in the jungles of the Congo. Working closely with a doctor in the region, Kadima has been able to narrow down what started as 90 plants in research to the three most reliable.

 In this interview Dr. Kadima explains why it is important to have effective alternatives to Western Pharmaceutical Drugs for diabetes, her involvement in the upcoming screening of Cry for Peace and the impact of the Panzi Hospital’s work in the Congo.

This interview does contain conversations about the crisis in the Congo and I feel it necessary to add a (trigger warning:rape) due in part to the discussion about some of those atrocities including rape as a weapon of war. 

 

ARTSwego will present the premiere screening of a new video version Cry for Peace: Voices of the Congo onFriday November 2nd 7p.m at SUNY Oswego’s Waterman Theatre. Tickets are on sale for $5 through all campus box offices. All proceeds will be contributed to the Panzi Foundation USA.

More information can be found about Panzi Foundation USA and the vital role they play in the DRC at their website: www.panzifoundation.org

BE.

Hello readers! My name is Mark Willson. Maybe you have seen me around campus, maybe you haven’t. Maybe you’ve seen some of my work on the Tyler Hall North Wall. My unofficial slogan of late has been the simple statement, “Be”. That’s what I’d like to talk about for my first post as a student blogger.

Be. It is only two letters, yet it carries a world of meaning. What does it mean to me, you ask? It means exist. It means be an active agent in your environment. My environment is SUNY Oswego. Yours probably is too if you are reading this.

So to kick off this new school year, I encourage all of you to get out there and  do something outside of your comfort zone, get involved on campus and in the greater Oswego community, and you will BE.

In the meantime, enjoy this entertaining excerpt from Open Mic Night (which you can catch/be a part of every Thursday at the Lake Effect Cafe!) :

Mike_BieberFever

Look! Up In The Sky! It’s A Bird! It’s A Plane! It’s…Some Guy Introducing Himself!

Hmm… given that we’ve been out of school for almost a month, you’d think I would’ve posted at least something by now. It seems procrastination, sleep, summer classes, sleep, looking for a job, procrastination, finding a job, sleep, working at said found job, eating, and sleep have gotten the better of me.

But now I’ve finally arrived, and am ready to finally make my first appearance on this fine Student Blog of ours!

My name is Tom Kline, and I’m a junior Cinema and Screen Studies/Creative Writing double major (with a minor in Theatre). I hail from the lovely (and rather quiet) town of Endwell, NY (which is about 20 minutes from Binghamton, for those of you playing along at home). I went to high school at Seton Catholic Central High School in Binghamton, where I graduated as a member of the Class of 2010.

I have what you’d call a “spirited” personality, which is to say that I tend to get excited fairly easily, and my voice often carries as a result. This ability to project is key to being an actor; in the real world, however, it often doesn’t fly. But that’s okay, because I find I’m still able to express my views and opinions (as well as fictitious anecdotes and the like) through writing, which in my experience has been an arguably quieter activity.

And if what people tell me is true (which is not always the case, sadly), I’m pretty good at this whole writing schtick.

Needless to say, much of my extra- (and even inter-) curricular activities involve extensive writing, editing, and other ways to mess around with the English language:

– I’m a member of the College Honors Program.

– I’ve been a regular Staff Writer for The Oswegonian for two years now, and some of my movie reviews have won journalism awards. I even served as a Copy Editor for a semester.

– I am currently a tutor in the Writing Center for the Office of Learning Services. Our office in Penfield Library is a perfect place to find help with papers and other forms of writing.

– My screenplay “The Chase” was featured in the Spring 2012 edition of The Great Lake Review, SUNY Oswego’s semesterly literary journal.

– Last semester, I was inducted into the Alpha Sigma Eta chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the International English and Creative Writing honors society.

– And of course, I’m writing for this blog!

As I mentioned, I’m also an actor; I most recently made my return to the stage in last semester’s production of Much Ado About Nothing, in which I played Friar Francis and the Sexton. Here’s a photo, courtesy of Lakeshore Images:

That's me in the front, with the Obi-Wan Kenobi-esque robes.

It was my first college theatre production, and I’m really proud of how it turned out. I’m looking forward to working with the Theatre department in the future.

When I’m not chained to a desk, writing, acting, or sleeping (or acting like I’m sleep-writing while chained to a desk), I enjoy playing video games and watching action movies (my favorites are Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 and Die Hard, respectively). I’m also interested in mythology; as part of my Honors thesis, I’m researching the various ties to world mythologies found within anime, manga, and popular culture at large. It’s just one of the ways I’ve been able to fully embrace my “nerdy” interests by integrating them into my academic studies (but more on that some other time).

Well, I guess that’s me in a nutshell. In closing, I’d like to thank Tim Nekritz and the others involved with this blog for allowing me to become a contributor. I’m looking forward to posting some of my more interesting stories about SUNY Oswego sometime in the future.

Until then, thanks for reading!

 

Live to Inspire.

From where do you draw inspiration. For me it’s everywhere. It’s my enviorment, it’s my friend who just got the really good job, it’s the blog or site I visit and go man they write so well!, it’s watching Kanye be passionate about art, it’s watching Jay-Z talk about progression, it’s sitting in Barnes and Nobles on a cold rainy day in the city reading magazines in the same corner for 2 hours in between classes, inspiration is knowing that one day my whole family is going to look down on me from the seats in the Campus Center Arena as I get my degree and pat me on the back. Inspiration is everywhere man. I truly do live off of my inspirations. I’m here to be inspired and to hopefully inspire someone else , like truly inspire them. So I don’t know…how are you inspired?

Remembering Gil Scott-Heron

 

Gil Scott Heron

Gil Scott Heron

 

 

 

I will not assume that many of my peers have an idea who Gil Scott-Heron is, or have any real knowledge of his impact. Most of his work until, recent was produced during the 1970s. By the time I was born in 1988, Gil Scott-Heron was rarely heard from unless to highlight the hard times he had fallen on.

However yesterday, at the announcing of his passing, people across the world responded. Many from various circles and backgrounds. Even Eminem  tweeted ” RIP Gil Scott-Heron, He influenced all of hip-hop.” As word continues to spread and more people becomes aware of his passing, the praise and adulation will undoubtedly pour in. Although his impact was felt world wide, his spoken word often dealt with the social issues felt by those within the black community. He became a social activist through the lyrics and lines within his poems and spoken word. Over percussionist sounds his words would flow touching upon political issues , poverty and disparity within government programs.

Gil Scott-Heron’s most popular piece The Revolution Will Not Be Televised took aim at mass media,mocking through references of pop-culture items and the role they played in distracting Americans from real issues.

To truly understand the talent and amazing spirit in which Gil Scott-Heron connected with millions isn’t to read about it, but to experience it for oneself. That is how he impacted a culture and helped to influence generations after. Through his words, his prose , his unique approach to addressing social issues over those rhythmic drums. That is after all how he impacted mine.

So I leave you with the link to his spoken word and the explanation that would come years later to what is regarded as his best work. RIP Gil Scott-Heron (April 1, 1949 – May 27, 2011)

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

“The catchphrase, what that was all about “The Revolution Will Not  Be Televised” that was about the fact that the first change that takes place is in your mind. You have to change your mind before you change the way you’re living and the way you move. So when we said that The Revolution Will Not be Televised we were saying that the thing that is going to change people, is something that no one will ever be able to capture on film. It’ll just be something that you see and all of a sudden you realize “I’m on the wrong page or I’m on the right page but the wrong note and I’ve got to get in sync with everyone else to understand what going on in this country”

-Gil Scott-Heron

Visit to Tyler Art Gallery – South

Today, I visited the Tyler Art Gallery, the South one, which has a lot to do with the mixing of cultures. I was therefore able to connect most of what I saw to this class, because this class has a lot to do with assimilation, the mixing of cultures. There are many pieces of art in the display, so it unfortunately would have taken a great deal of time to cover everything and then write about it. I picked five sites that really stood out to me and decided to primarily focus on those, even though I did examine everything.

The first piece of art that I examined was called “Clash of Cultures.” Like everything that I saw today, I absolutely loved it. It is a painting and portrays an older woman standing in front of a house with another older woman in the left window of the house, a Protestant pope in the right window, and a Catholic pope in the upstairs window. The painting is meant to be a depiction of the artist’s parents’ wedding day in 1946. The artist’s parents came from different religious backgrounds; one was Catholic, and one was Protestant, and for this reason, there were parental issues involving disapproval, ultimately resulting in religious hybridity. The painting, anyway, was gorgeous, very colorful, and by the way, I have that background knowledge because there was a panel of information located directly to the right of the painting, which I had to take the time to read. The painting, along with a number of other paintings that I looked at, was in a style known as “egg tempera.” I didn’t know what that was, but running a quick search on Wikipedia told me that it is “a permanent fast drying painting medium consisting of colored pigment mixed with a water-soluble binder medium (usually a glutinous material such as egg yolk).”

The next art piece that I looked at was a collection of photographs. There were two photograph collections that I looked at, and they were really neat because they were in a window display with curtains, as well. I really like this idea, because it made me feel like I was looking into a window to the past. However, what I don’t like about the window displays is that there is only a title next to them, no information, so I was left wanting to know more. For example, the first window display that I looked at was called “The Life of the War Hero” and featured photographs of a soldier during what I presumed was World War II, and that’s all I know. I wanted to know – who is this man? What was his name? I knew nothing and wanted to know more.

The second window display that I looked at was called “Ancestors.” The collection of photographs seemed, to me, to be different photographs of someone’s family, and one in particular really stuck out. It was a photograph of an older woman standing outside in a gown. She was staring ominously at the camera, and the photograph was a negative, so her eyes were white, as was her dress (which meant that it was actually black). It was, in a word, creepy. I examined the photographs and made note of the time period – a lot of time spent outside, and families were very close. There seemed to be a very high respect and admiration of the elderly, since they were photographed quite often. Once again, however, I was left wanting to know more. Whose families were these? Who took these photographs? None of this information was provided.

The next art piece that I looked at was another egg tempera painting. The painting was titled “The Adventures of Great Uncle Pete.” This was the exact opposite of the photograph collections. Like the “Clash of Cultures” egg tempera painting, I got some information. The painting was based on a photograph of the artist’s uncle, Peter Barone, who had been a sailor. The photograph, which was also on display, showed Barone standing on a ship. The artist changed the background, however, to feature an array of adventurous displays. There is an array of exotic places, the sea, and a dragon and knights. The artist really seemed to be proud of his/her uncle and was displaying that pride in this painting. Once again, it was very colorful, and I loved it.

The final piece that I looked at was called “La Mia Vita.” The painting looked like it might have been another egg tempera painting and shows an older woman in bed, and she doesn’t look all that happy. Again, there was some background information provided. The panel told me that the artist’s grandmother (the elderly woman in the painting) was, in a sense, stuck in time, that she thought that it was still forty years ago and that Roosevelt was still president. In the painting, behind the woman, were hills, fields, and an old barn, which I interpreted as memories. In front of the painting was a bed with a very colorful quilt, which I assumed was a replica of the artist’s grandmother’s bed. The old woman’s name, by the way, was Carrie Barone, so it was the same artist that did this painting and “The Adventures of Great Uncle Pete.” One thing that I really liked about this painting and the background knowledge behind it is that it kind of has this theme of being frozen in time, and, to me, that is kind of the whole theme of the art gallery, in a sense. The point of paintings and photographs is to capture time and make it a constant, just like it was in Carrie Barone’s mind.

I really wish that I had gotten photographs, but I didn’t want to risk being reprimanded, because I didn’t know if it was allowed or not. I really enjoyed attending this gallery and really appreciated all of the art. I also really enjoyed the music that was playing. It was very light, classical music and helped put me in that mindset of being in the time period. I was really able to link concepts such as assimilation and hybridity to what I saw.

Happiness

This past Saturday and Sunday I was very busy. Despite it being Halloween weekend, I did a quite a bit of community service.

Saturday I worked at Camp Hollis a camp for Youth in Oswego County. We worked there for about 5 hours doing everything from chopping and stacking wood, to cleaning the kitchens. We cleaned, cut, stacked, un-knotted, swept, scrubbed, moped, carried, shoveled, organized and covered. It was a very rewarding day for the almost 15 of us who attended. This is not my first time working at Camp Hollis. Last Spring we helped open the camp and were invited back twice this fall to help close. And there is no doubt in my mind we will be back next Spring.

Sunday I helped throw a Halloween party at Sunrise Nursing home, not too far from Campus. We provided decorations and games for over 30 elderly residents of Sunrise. This nursing home is very short staffed and with so many residents they have a difficult time providing activities. At first I will admit I was a little nervous to go to the nursing home, they’ve always had a stigma to me. But, when I walked in the door and saw how clean the facilities were and nice the staff I felt a little more comfortable. I was also nervous because I had no idea what to talk about with the residents and I was afraid of hearing problems, or Alzheimer’s but, before I knew it all of the Volunteers had found a few residents we clicked with a had quite an afternoon. We helped serve food, watched a nursing home Pinata go down and overall I got a new perspective on something I had been narrow minded about. This was an awesome experience and I believe everyone should try and take part in an event in a nursing home, you will leave with a new perspective.I know that in a few weeks APO will be underway of making Christmas decorations for a next venture with the Sunrise Residents. Below is a picture of Catherine who goes by Kat who played a special role in helping me to loosen up and enjoy a wonderful afternoon.

Thanks to those in APO who participated in both events this weekend and a special thanks to fellow blogger, housemate, APO brother and best friend Danielle Ferrara who played a huge role on organizing the Sunrise event.