Active Minds: Being a Co-President

Good evening everybody! Today I wanted to write about my experience being one of the Presidents of Active Minds at SUNY Oswego. For those of you who do not know, Active Minds is a national organization whose goal is to reduce the stigma of mental illness and help people access the resources that they need.

I first joined Active Minds my second semester Freshman year. My roommate at the time was thinking about declaring her major as human development and had heard about a mental health club called Active Minds. I remember walking into the room being really nervous about joining a group in the middle of the semester but once I walked into the room I felt much better about my decision because everyone was so nice. I had attempted to join a different club with my roommate earlier in the semester but still a few weeks in and had a strange experience where I felt like I was intruding on a group of friends hanging out so I was very relieved that Active Minds felt nothing like this. One of the things that really drew me to Active Minds was how they were trying to get the word out on how common mental health issues are. I struggled with anxiety and depression throughout high school and did not know anyone in any of my classes going through the same things as me. Active Minds made me feel better by making it known how common mental illness really is, for crying out loud we give out buttons that say how common it is (1 in 4, meaning 1 in 4 people have a mental illness)!

My memories from Active Minds include participating in Send Silence Packing, which is a display of backpacks that represent the number of suicides on college campuses each year, “Get Scrambled” which was a stress reliever where we threw eggs with our stressors written on them at a tarp on the wall in front of Tyler Hall, as well as going to weekly meetings with a bunch of people who wanted to help people understand mental illness as much as I wanted to.

After a semester, I became secretary of Active Minds and started a twitter account for our chapter. I remember being happy to have been elected to this position because it meant that I could be more involved with the club. I went to every meeting and would send out meeting reminders before the meeting through our email list and on our twitter. I would also send out the meeting notes to members who could not make it to the meeting due to class or illness. Then at the end of my junior year, I was elected to take over for our former Co President who graduated and got the chance to run the meetings which I have been doing since then. I really liked the freedom to talk about whatever topics I wanted in the realm of Active Minds and I still do! Although it can get frustrating being President like when budgets don’t go through or when we do not get a good turn out at a meeting, knowing that I have the ability to make a difference on campus is something that I will always appreciate getting the opportunity to do.

Circle Of Sisterhood

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The SUNY Oswego National Sororities on campus have adopted their first philanthropy. This philanthropy is called “Circle Of Sisterhood Foundation”. This foundation is not for profit that is ran by sorority women who intend to remove those barriers all over the world. Giving women and children all equal opportunities to educate. Without proper education you are far from likely to succeed.

Being that the sorority women here at SUNY Oswego do have the opportunity to be educated they see how important it is for everyone to have that too. Every female in this world deserves to have the chance to be a change in the world. All the sororities that are participating in Circle of Sisterhood have been educated on why this is so important to us.

We are going to spread awareness, make a difference, and be the change.

 

Giving back in a different way

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One of my favorite things to do at WTOP-10, aside from producing news and working crew positions, is giving tours of the studio to potential students. It’s a great way to let people see what’s inside our recently upgraded high definition studio and let people know more about the station than just what is told on the general tours. Admitted students days and open houses are the prime of studio tours, which is why you can tell from my enthusiasm on those days how much I love giving studio tours.

April 8th was the first admitted students day for all majors and by far my favorite tour I’ve given so far. Me and some of the other Toppers (as we like call them) started giving tours of the studio after the information tabling session in the ice arena.

At around 1:00 PM-ish, a whole group of nine or ten transfer students from Suffolk County Community College came in and were so excited to see the studio. Me and the other Toppers gave the general info and tour we give to potential broadcasting students, but it didn’t stop there.  The questions became more specific and the students become so intrigued by every answer we gave them. They were so excited about the studio and working at the station, they were there hanging about for about 45 minutes wanting to know more. I was even able to talk to a few of them more as I guided them to Onondaga Hall during my walk back home.

During the time the SCCC students were in the studio, a curious meteorology student who was separate from the group came in. I greeted her at the door and let her in. I talked to her for a few minutes about our WSI weather graphics system we use at the station and how many professional stations use it as well as how our system of choosing meteorologists works.

When I usually give tours of the station, I try to make them as interactive as possible depending on the person’s interest. For meteorology students, I would let them try to do the weather on our green screen. I asked the girl if she wanted to give weather a shot and she immediately jumped at the idea. I got her set up on the green screen, handed her the WSI remote, and let her go on her way.

After she did the weather, she told me she was committed to coming to Oswego and was even more excited to do it for real when she comes here. While I won’t be able to see her in the fall, I wish I could be there to see her enthusiasm if she becomes one of WTOP-10’s meteorologists.

I didn’t really get much of a tour of the studio during my visits. When I was finally able to join my first year, I was so amazed to see it. My friend told me if it wasn’t for the tour of WTOP-10 he got during his visit, he may not have came to Oswego at all. It’s wonderful to know how much of a difference you can make by giving a more in depth tour to someone dedicated to their field, whether it’s broadcasting or meteorology.

Al Roker return(ed)s!

Students crowd Al Roker after breaking the world record

Students crowd Al Roker after breaking the world record; Photo courtesy of Chuck Perkins

If you’ve been paying attention to our social media or The Today Show at all this past week, you may have noticed we had a certain special guest on campus Friday morning. Al Roker, returned to campus to broadcast an attempt to break the world record for the longest conga line on ice. The entire event was broadcasted live on the today show starting at around 8AM and only going to about 9AM. What you didn’t see was all the behind the scenes work that went into it, including the meetings and the practices. It was a long and exciting week that lead up to the morning of so let me walk you through it!

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Rokerthon Caps Off Tour at Oswego

Did you happen to catch the familiar green and gold while sipping on your morning coffee? No, your 8 a.m. eyes didn’t deceive you, SUNY Oswego was on the Today Show. In fact, we were pretty busy breaking a world record. Rome may not have been built in a day, but we broke a world record in 5 minutes. Okay, that’s only technically true, but it isn’t the whole story…

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We managed to get 593 skaters to show up at the Marano Campus Center Arena at 4:45 a.m. in preparation for the national broadcast. Who knew you could get 593 to conga across ice to Gloria Estefan so early in the morning? The celebration was splendid, but more than what meets the eye went into putting on an event that sometimes felt like the circus- “The Greatest Show on Earth!”

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Aside from mandatory rehearsals for skaters, it was all hands on deck from virtually all departments on campus. If if wasn’t ice skating recruitment calls which took place in the dining and residence halls, it was working on the broadcast itself. The theatre department set up the lights and came up with the idea of snow machines for Al Roker’s zamboni entrance!

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(He rode in on a bigger zamboni. Team Mini still looked great!)

It would be misleading to say the event was easy. The amount of coordination and organization was Hurculean. It was exhausting, but man, if it wasn’t pretty darn cool. Some were there for Al, some were there for the fun of it, some (like me) got to geek out over the process of national TV (live-to-broadcast drones anyone?!?!). Our student media organizations were able to get interviews with Mr. Roker and develop great material. Del Sarte, the student dance club, brought signs that were cleverly themed to incorporate their recital and NBC. Everyone got to have a unique stamp on the day. Al even visited all of his old haunts around Oswego and campus on Friday!

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(If you go back and watch the recording, you can catch me darting through crowds to run the social media beat!)

The effort on behalf of the student body, administration, and community was incredible. Oswego absolutely has its moments and is a unique place. Why would we get selected out of so many large universities across the nation and Al Roker come back if it wasn’t?

Why I Chose Oswego

As I watch the Class of 2021 and Transfers Facebook group, I’ve noticed one of the most common things that I have been seeing lately within people’s posts is “I haven’t decided if I’m going to Oswego yet but…” In no particular order, here is a list of reasons why I decided to come to Oswego.

  1. Rejection
    1. Although this sounds like a bad way to start, Oswego was not always my number one choice. If someone were to go back in time and tell the high school version of myself that I would end up at a school four and a half hours north of home, I would have told them that they were nuts and I that was destined for a minimum of 60 degrees year round. Something to take away from this, if your top choice rejects you, although at the time it may feel like the end of the world, give your second choice a chance!
  2. Tours
    1. I applied to a total of four colleges, none of which I toured before applying which was probably a mistake but oh well! After getting rejected from my original top school, I started looking into Oswego more because that was the only other public school that I applied to besides my community college. I really did not like the idea of staying in my town for another two years and then transferring so I decided to go to admitted students day at Oswego. It was here that I toured the campus and really started to get the smallest gleam of excitement, which leads me to my next point.
  3. My mom
    1. My mom was really the push I needed to get me to commit to Oswego. I originally came into college as a Zoology major and at the time my class was the first class to use the new Shineman science building. The tour guide mentioned that a large portion of Zoology professors had their Doctorates and my Mom really liked that. I can still remember our conversation in the Campus Center auditorium where she convinced me that I should be thrown out of my comfort zone and commit to Oswego. If it wasn’t for my mom, I don’t know if I would have had the courage to move nearly five hours away from my house to a place where I did not know one single person.

Overall, I urge anyone who is considering Oswego to take a trip up here and really take a look at the campus in person and feel what it is like up here. I promise you will not regret it, I know I haven’t!

Food, Yoga, and Trying New Things

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At the beginning of this semester, I promised myself one thing I would do before I graduate in May: Try as many new things as possible. It’s March 1st and I’ve accomplished a lot already.

One thing I really wanted to try was ACTUALLY cooking some meals instead of just putting frozen food in an oven or microwave or ordering from Dominos. During winter break, I found as many recipes online as I could based on my capability and my budget. On one of my first nights back in my Village house, I made lo mein and teriyaki chicken, as seen in the photo above. I gotta admit, I was extremely proud of myself for being able to make it. Since then, I’ve promised I would cook something at least once a week. I’ve been able to make garlic and parmesan zucchini fries, banana pancakes, crescent pizza rolls, and even edible cookie dough.

While all that food tasted delicious, I needed to be able to work it off somehow. I absolutely love going to the gym, but sometimes going on the treadmill and machines at 7 o’clock in the morning just wasn’t enough for me. I was looking around the list of group exercise classes available at Cooper and Glimmerglass gyms and found one that caught my eye: Strengthening Yoga.

I never took a yoga class in my life. I was a little nervous about it. However, when I did take it, I felt completely relaxed and at peace with myself. Yes some of the positions were a little tricky and I fell onto my mat a couple times. When I did fall, I was laughing it off and trying to keep up with the rest of the class.

Going on with the theme of working out, I took another group exercise class one night where my instructor had us hold a plank for one minute. I typically held mine for about 30 to 40 seconds, but I was extremely proud of myself when I was able to hold mine for a minute. Now I make sure to always include it in my workout routine.

College is about trying new things, whether you’re a first semester freshman or a second semester senior. I encourage those who read this post to try something new, whether it’s cooking a delicious meal or trying to do a crazy yoga pose.

 

#OzGoldRush and why it’s a big deal

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Maybe you’ve heard, maybe you haven’t. Some call it White Out Part 2, some wanted it to be Black Out, its proper name is Gold Rush. This Saturday, Marano Campus Center Arena will be bombarded with fans from all over, whether that is alumni, students, community members, etc. to catch a glimpse of what could possibly be history.

“That feeling in your gut when red shows up on the ice in more ways than one.” An apt line from the Laker Men’s hype video to describe the scene that will take place on Saturday. Archrivals Oswego and Plattsburgh will show down as they try to set the record straight on who the true king of the SUNYAC is.

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Fact: This group of seniors have not beaten Plattsburgh at Marano during their tenure. Looking to cement their legacy, they will be hungry during this Saturday’s championship game.

Fact: This Saturday will mark the 6th consecutive year that Oswego and Plattsburgh have met in the SUNYAC playoffs. If you don’t call that rivalry, then I don’t know what you would.

So why the name Gold Rush? The team is hunting for SUNYAC gold this Saturday. They are also looking to wear their gold alternate jerseys. These jerseys are special because they have the names of alumni as well as the active roster etched onto a bright Oswego gold.

There is only standing room left now for student section tickets. The line is expected to reach White Out proportions. What do the fans need to bring? Simple, unmatched energy and gold. What do the players need to bring? Their best play of the season.

*Wordpress distorts the quality of the photos.

Greek Life Doesn’t Deserve A Bad Reputation

IMG_1607When I first came to Oswego and I was thinking about joining a sorority the first thing my mom said was “all you are going to do is drink”. She was very wrong. Joining a sorority was the second best decision I made. Of course going to Oswego was my first best decision. A lot of people stereotype members of Greek organizations based off of movies. Movies are the main reason Greeks get such bad reputations. Many people think that greeks are a bunch of jocks, dummies, and party people.

To join Greek life you must meet the GPA requirements, then you also have to obtain those requirements. Although the Greek life here at Oswego isn’t that big we make our presence known. Greek life is very involved on campus. When you are in Greek life you also participate in philanthropy events, fundraisers, community service, and much more.

Joining Greek life was a great decision here at Oswego. I met my forever friends and learned so many life skills. Being in a sorority has helped me network with alumni, find internships, and be my true self. Sure I know how to have a good time, but it is just so much more than that.

 

Adventure is Out There

The best time to be in Oswego has finally arrived. It truly is the only place where you can experience 4 seasons in one week. Not sure what I mean by that? Just take a look at this week’s weather forecast. You’ll see within just one week we go from 62 to 33, from sunny to windy, rainy and yes even to snow.

So, while the nice weather is here, go out and explore! There are so many amazing things to see and do in Oswego! Here’s a list of my top 8 favorite places to explore in Oswego (not in any particular order).

  1. Lake Ontario – There’s so much to do in our own back yard! In case you haven’t realized we live on a lake, and we are both incredibly lucky and a little bit unfortunate (I’m talking about you lake effect snow). The sunsets are an experience like no other. You can’t really capture them in a picture and you definitely cannot describe them, so get out and go watch at least one! From May-September, the flat rocks which are located just next to the campus, are the best spot to go swimming or even just hang out in the sun with friends!
  2. Fort Ontario – This historic site was built in 1755, during the French and Indian war and has also been used during the American Revolutionary war, War of 1812, American Civil War, and most notably during WWII to house Jewish Refugees. It has been destroyed and rebuilt 3 times during its history. It is now open as a state park. I personally enjoy the beautiful view of Lake Ontario and the grounds make for a nice spot to explore or take a walk. (P.S. there’s always dogs, and dogs are the best).
  3. Ontario Orchards – The orchard makes for a nice activity in the fall for apple and pumpkin picking amongst other activities. I enjoy taking the short 5-minute drive to the orchard because the area around the orchard is scenic. They also have some of the best baked goods, fruits, vegetables and cheeses in Oswego.
  4. Breitbeck Park – There is so much to do here! It is a beautiful park located right on the lake. There is a playground if you feel like being a kid and hopping on the swings or going down the slide. It is a great place to go for a nice walk or run, play basketball on the courts, or utilize the fields for softball or kickball. You’ll definitely see a few dogs here too. It’s a nice spot to de-stress with your friends and during the nicer months of the semester, it makes a great picnic spot.
  5. Fair Haven beach – While this one is a little farther away, it is absolutely worth the drive! It’s roughly 20 minutes from campus. The park offers a sandy beach with swimming spots, fishing, diving boards, playgrounds, campsites, grills to cook on, nature trails, more dogs, biking trails, kayak and canoe rentals, and playing fields. During the winter months, you can enjoy ice fishing, sledding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and x-country skiing. Some of my favorite memories of the warmer months here are getting out of class on a Friday and hopping in the car with my friends to spend time at the beach.
  6. Sterling Nature Center – On your drive to Fair Haven, you will pass the Sterling Nature Center. It is a well-maintained center known for its preserved and beautiful grounds, nature trails, and sites of various birds and other animals. The “bluffs” are also located off of the beach path at the Sterling Nature Center. The bluffs are high naturally formed cliffs that offer some of the best views of the sunsets over Lake Ontario.
  7. Riverwalk – On the east side of Bridge St. located behind the hotels on the river and behind Old City Hall is a nicely paved walkway that runs alongside the river up towards I-481. It makes for a nice place to take a stroll along the river and during the warmer months, local bands can be heard playing on the river.
  8. Lighthouse – The Oswego lighthouse can be seen as you enter into the city of Oswego from I-481 and down near the lake. It was used to guide boats into the harbor originally and is currently being renovated to restore it to its original condition. It is not advised to take the walk out to the lighthouse because it can be dangerous, especially on a windy day. However, the lighthouse will have boat tours that will allow you to tour the inside post-renovations.

 

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“Life was made for good friends and great adventures” – anonymous