RSO Reflection: College Republicans

 

CR1

 

This year I was in and out with the College Republicans. When I came to CMU, I was heavily involved with the group here on campus, but as my schedule got busier and busier, my time commitment to this RSO went away a little bit. The CRs are a group here on campus that push for Republicans to get elected throughout the county, state, and federal government. They also work with local campaigns to help each candidate. During my time this year with the group, I attended some fundraisers for candidates, as well as contributed to some political campaigns back home.

This RSO is cool because it allows for students with conservative ideologies to come together and work for a common cause. This group on campus is also very open minded regarding politics and encourages members to reach out to non-members to talk about politics. Now a days, politics is so partisan; you are either on the right or on the left. I cannot say how bad this is for our country. The framers intended for debate and discussion but now a days, political parties are so polar, nothing in government can get done.

I have worked on many campaigns in the past and this group has helped me increase some of my leadership skills in the field. Campaigning today is so different compared to a few years ago due to social media and technology now having a bigger role in elections. This group has also provided me many points of contact in my profession and I am grateful to have made the professional connections that I have. As the political system becomes more polarized, it is imperative to place ethical leaders into positions to create some type of middle group, because this will be the answer to most of America’s problems.

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PHL118 Reflection

Coming into Sophomore year, I was excited for what the year had to offer. I took courses in many different disciplines,  as I wanted to expand my knowledge regarding some issues surrounding our nation. As part of the LAS protocol, our cohort was required to take PHL118, a moral problems course.

Because of my major, I was unable to take the course with my cohort, so I took an alternate section of the course. This section happened to be a WI section, which called for intensive writings within the course. My professor, Dr. Robert Stecker, was an awesome instructor. In the class, we explored some provocative topics that led to powerful discussions as well as some emotion. Some of the topics included the death penalty, animal rights, eugenics, moral arguments regarding drug use, and abortion. As anyone could imagine, the discussions were all but simple. Students from all different walks of life filled the classroom, which led to powerful and productive discussion. Along with classroom discussion, Dr. Stecker assigned us essays that challenged our analysis and argumentative skills.

The moral problems course really opened my eyes in the sense of diversity. Because each student had different life experiences, he/she had different opinions on each of the topics we explored. This diversity allowed discussion to be interesting and challenged each student to take a step out of their comfort zone to understand new material. As a leader, it is crucial to be able to understand multiple levels of morality, as well as understand differing opinions. Because the world is so diverse, there are often tens or hundreds of different positions on an issue, and as a leader, it is important to be able to remain open-minded to listen to different positions. The course itself was a great first step to allow for critical discussion that promoted debate. Without debate, the world would be boring, as each person would agree on everything everyone said.

PHL118 was the first class at CMU that pushed me outside of my comfort zone. The topics discussed were those that promoted a lot of discussion and emotion. As a leader, it is crucial to be able to understand the positions of others , rather than be closed minded to any change. I believe that good and productive discussion requires an uncomfortable setting which challenges the positions and beliefs of all those involved. As a leader, I must understand that my followers each come from a different walk of life. Each follower has different experiences, different expectations, and different opinions on crucial issues. Rather than be closed minded, it is imperative to promote diversity and lead with an open mind.

Mentor/Mentee Retreat

On September 10th, 2016 I experienced something great with even better people. What I am talking about is the Mentor/Mentee retreat. As a program requirement for LDR100, my cohort of 50 boarded a bus with our 50 mentors and took a road trip. Our trip was to a place called Eagle Village, and at the time I had no idea what I was getting myself into. What I was getting myself was one of the best experiences of my life, and this weekend proved to exceed all expectations. It all started on the bus ride : we connected with our mentors, told stories, and sang songs. We all knew what the weekend held in store. SOMETHING AWESOME. I was so excited to spend time with my mentor, Dalton Sutherland. He and I were in store for a wonderful weekend.

We got off the bus and got our dorms ready to sleep in. After this we quickly got ready for our first activity which included sharing our “About me maps” that we did the weeks prior. On our maps were our stories of life: the good, the bad, and the ugly. During this time many emotions were flying around some got uncomfortable. As leaders, we knew we had to share these experiences with each other, and these experiences made us stronger as individuals and strengthened our groups as well.

Next, my group went to a room where we discussed our expectations for the weekend with the staff of Eagle Village. The hosts explained to us that it was it was a sacred space and it was okay to be our true selves at the retreat. We were excited as a group to take on the whole weekend together whole heartedly.

Our first group activity took place on the high ropes course. Mentor/Mentee combos went up into the course together and had to conquer the course together. I hated heights and so did Dalton. When it was our time to enter the course we both looked at each other and knew what we had to do. Be the best duo we could and tackle the course head on. Dalton and I hurried up the ladder and completely killed the high ropes course together. If it was not for Dalton I would not have even climbed up the ladder. During this activity I truly realized how important it is to have someone there for you when you need it. Dalton and I were both scared, yet we were able to conquer our fears by going through the ropes course together.

The night continued with basketball and volleyball where were able to connect with other mentor/mentee pairs on the trip. Large groups came together to play competitive sports and the competition made the events fun. This was a very sociable experience for everyone involved and this created a very fun night for everyone.

That night we had a group bonfire and had an open discussion and shoutout session to everyone in the cohort which was a very cool experience. Everyone bonded completely over the bonfire and everyone ended the night with s’mores and smiles.

As a cohort we all slept on the floor of the lobby that night and sang songs all night.

The next day involved another team challenge course. We were required to carry a sled full of balls through a log course without touching the ground or letting go of the rope attached. This challenge made us work together and also made some people frustrated. It was a challenge for all students to remain calm, and this added to the intensity of the exercise. We learned that we either going to win as a team or lose as a team, there was no other way around it.

The wonderful weekend was over as we boarded the busses and headed back to Mt. P. Mentor/Mentee combos fell asleep on each other while listening to cheesy 90’s music. After a long and near restless weekend, all participants had a wonderful times, the mentor/mentee retreat created smiles for miles.

After this experience, Ive come to realize how lucky I am to have an active mentor in my life. Dalton has been the go to guy for me when Ive needed help with anything, and I am lucky and blessed to call him my mentor.