Sigma Alpha Epsilon (RSO) Reflection

In the fall of 2016, I decided that I wanted to go greek. I decided to rush Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity here on CMU’s campus. When going through the process, I did not know what to expect, but joining SAE has truly impacted my life in ways unexplainable.

Soon after joining SAE, I knew that I was joining a brotherhood. Never have I ever had a solid group of 40+ guy friends in my life. SAE has shattered all stereotypes regarding “fake friends.” Not only are the members of my fraternity are my brothers, but they are my friends. I can genuinely say that I can see multiple members of my fraternity standing up in my wedding. During my first semester, I was elected to serve as the Member Educator, and currently sit on my fraternity’s executive board.

I have learned many things from joining SAE and later getting elected to the executive board. Greek Life in general gets knocked for “partying” and what not, but Greek Life instills a sense of community into each of its members. Being in Greek life has also made me think more about others than myself, and has created a great sense of camaraderie between all groups within the community. The world today has become selfish. People don’t think about others as much anymore. Philanthropy is begged for rather than simply given. This is a problem. People in the world need a helping hand sometimes, and one must reach out to give support. After joining my fraternity, I can truly say that I am dedicated to helping those who cannot help themselves through philanthropy and service. Each day I attempt to achieve my why statement: “Inspire others to protect and serve communities that cannot protect themselves.” My involvements in Greek Life have contributed to allowing me to indeed serve the communities around me. After almost two semesters in my fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, I can truly say that I have grown as a person. I am more open to new ideas, always willing to help, and always have a smile on my face. Be true.

 

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HST110 Reflection

When I signed up for my 3 hour history class, I was a little nervous, but was excited to learn more about history. College history classes teach you things that you did not think about in high school. I did not know what to expect in a 3 hour college class. All I knew about the class was that I would be taking it with members of my cohort. I had taken a history WI class last semester so I knew I could handle the writing. During the Spring semester of my freshman year I took HST110L, “The American Experience.” The professor, Dr. Jones, focussed on the importance of immigration throughout American history.  In the class, we covered topics regarding all different races and ethnicities moving to America. Dr. Jones truly created a sense of  an inclusive American society.

So far, I have learned so much in Dr. Jones class. From the Irish Potato famine to Latin American labor union, the class covered many different forms of immigration. In addition just to the immigration, the class taught us the motives for creating barriers between people, which we know now is a very bad practice. Oppression has targeted many groups of people, and we must ensure that we are being proactive when it comes to protecting the oppressed.

In the present day, leadership MUST be inclusive. We live in a world where people are consistently stereotyped based on their gender, race, or sexual orientation. We must know the history of immigration and the history of oppression to ensure that people in the present do not repeat what had already happened. In America we face the challenge of racism, sexism, and other cultural differences. Taking this class has been eye-opening. Moving forward, it important to continue to preach inclusive leadership. With the conflicts occurring in the world today, we must understand that immigration is going to happen. America will be taking in immigrants.. Or maybe America will not be taking immigrants. Whatever situation arrises within American politics, we must understand as a nation that people over generations have been oppressed. We as Americans need to break the streak of oppression.

LAS in the D Post Reflection

On the weekend of February 10th, the Leader Advancement cohort of 2016 traveled to Detroit to perform two days of service. First, we visited Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, where the cohort participated in leadership activities with the students. Jalen Rose Leadership Academy is a pubic charter high school on the North West side of the city of Detroit. Students who would like to attend the high school must apply for it their last year of middle school, making the school selective. Jalen Rose Leadership Academy opened its doors in 2011, and took its first class of freshmen that September. Students at Jalen Rose are exposed to leadership at an early age, making them prospective leaders of the future. LAS arrived at Jalen Rose around 2pm. The school had already released class, however, students stayed after to participate in the activities that we had for them. The students welcomed us with open arms and were very engaged in the activities that we shared with them. The school promoted a sense of inclusion, and the students felt very comfortable to be sharing their experiences with us. As an LAS student, I facilitated activities at Jalen Rose, making it one of my first times facilitating! Within the few hours at Jalen Rose, I felt that we were able to make a difference in the lives of many upcoming leaders. The amount of time that we spent at the academy was short, a mere two hours, however, we as a cohort were able to leave a lasting impact on the students of Jalen Rose.

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After leaving Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, we ventured into midtown of Detroit. We were invited to a presentation and tour of QuickenLoans, one of the largest FinTech companies in America. Upon arrival, I instantly knew that Quicken was different. The Chase building where Quicken is located had a real feel, and created a sense of belonging with a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. QuickenLoans leads the push to bring back the city of Detroit, and is a contributor to pulling new businesses into the city. Upon arrival we all ate pizza as a cohort. After eating a delicious meal fromPizza Papalis, QuickenLoans put on an inspiring presentation. The Quicken presentation changed my perspective of the entire city of Detroit. The presentation began with Buddy Henika, a recruiter for Quicken. Buddy explained the company and shared inspiring experiences he has had with QuickenLoans. At the end of the presentation, Buddy opened up the floor for questions. When one of my classmates asked, “Why did you join Quicken?” Buddy gave a great answer, “I joined because of the community aspect.” However , what really impressed me is that John Fikany, Vice President of strategy development, stood up and took the mic: “You have to find something you are passionate about, and for me, that was the city of Detroit.” As a student, it is not common for the Vice President of a company to be front and center in a room addressing college students, however, Quicken had their VP front and center. Mr. Fikany has the accolades that any professional would want, and even better, he is humble about his work. Mr. Fikany was a top executive at Microsoft, and previously was an executive at Oracle. He contributed to the success of two of the largest technology companies in the world. The philanthropy of John Fikany and QuickenLoans as a whole has inspired the upcoming generation to become more involved within the community. QuickenLoans will hire close to 1000 interns into the Detroit office. This within itself is giving back to the community. Quicken promotes innovation, and allows the upcoming generation to come into a professional workplace and thrive.

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After QuickenLoans, we went into the DIA(Detroit Institute of Arts). For me, the DIA was a good time to do some self reflection regarding the day at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy and at QuickenLoans. Ive been to the DIA plenty of times, but I always enjoy looking at art. When looking at art I often express many different forms of emotion, which usually leads to me understanding how grateful I am.

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After the DIA, we ventured to  the Outdoor Adventure Center in Detroit. Linda Walter, mom of Senior LAS member David Walter,  is the director of the center. At the Outdoor Adventure Center we learned about the history of the city of Detroit. As the city grows in population once again, it is important to learn about how a citizen can make a difference in the community. At the center we also learned more about the environment and learned information about the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

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The next morning, we went and volunteered at Cass Community Social Services. Cass Community Social Services fights poverty and creates opportunity for those in need. Cass provides food, health care, housing, and jobs to those who need it. When working at Cass, I could tell that everyone loved helping out the community. It was truly eye opening to be working side by side with underprivileged people, because it destroyed the stigma of people being “lazy” that is often associated with homelessness. When working at Cass, I fully understood that the people who were utilizing the center just caught a bad break, and were working hard to get back on their feet.  Our day of service began! When at Cass, we were divided into groups. One group made door mats, one group worked in the kitchen, one group shredded paper, and one group organized donations. I was in the group that was shredding paper. The shredding job employs many people who have mental disabilities and are looking for work. The community center allows people with special needs to experience having a job, and to experience being integrated into society. Cass allows people of all backgrounds to have a shot at getting acquainted with society. The experience allowed me to realize truly how fortunate I was. There are many people in the city of Detroit that are living at or below the poverty line, it is truly sad:  it honestly breaks my heart. Community Centers like Cass are the reason the citizens of Detroit are able to receive some relief.

NOW WHAT? Overall, the trip to Detroit was truly an eye opening experience. When on the trip, I deeply connected with students from Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, as well as volunteers at Cass Community Social Services. My biggest eye opener on the trip was seeing all of the poverty in a neighborhood so close to mine. The city of Detroit once was a thriving city, filled with manufacturing and life, however, over the last 40 years, the city has been deteriorating due to racist policy and limited opportunity for minorities.

As a student in the Leadership Institute here at Central Michigan University, I feel that it is my job to promote an inclusive environment, and produce an environment where EVERYONE is able to have an opportunity to thrive and demonstrate their God given talents. The city of Detroit lacks opportunity. The once great city lacks the investment that it needs to thrive again. Businesses such as QuickenLoans has started the idea of renovation and development, but the next generation of leaders are  going to be the ones that are going to leave the lasting impact. The foundation has been started, but must be continued by the millennials who are graduating college in the next few years.

During the trip, I connected deeply with one of the students at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy. We were engaged in good conversation, and I asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up.” He responded with, “I know I want to be an anesthesiologist. My cousin is the first person who went to college in my extended family, and he is an anesthesiologist.” I was really inspired by his response. The boy I was speaking to would be the 2nd person in his family to go to college, and that really inspired me. Instead of shooting for a “average” life, the boy wanted to go big. He was inspired by his cousin to do great things, which in turn inspired me to be grateful of the opportunity I had here at CMU.

As an emerging leader, it is important for me to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, rather than holding a bias about an area. The city of Detroit is a beautiful and upcoming city, however, if one had a bias about the city, they would not be able to truly experience its beauty. As a leader, I need to work on being a compassionate and always inclusive. The trip really exposed me to people from all different walks of life, and they have inspired me to always be inclusive in my actions. I will take this experience to reflect on how fortunate I am. When I have spare time, instead of participating in selfish actions, I will reach out to members of my community and participate in servant leadership the community so deeply needs.

In the city of Detroit there are many things that I am not familiar with, such as urban development. I do not know much about the revival of the city, only that QuickenLoans is leading the push to integrate business back in the city. In the future, I want to learn how I can help in the constant rebuild of the city, along with learning about the other businesses who are helping to restore the city.

In the city, we need more people who are dedicated to servant leadership. Most people in the world today are greedy and put themselves before others. The fix in the city of Detroit is having people who are the opposite. We need to create values that revolve around the principle of community rather than individualism. Once we are able to change the mindset of people, we will be able to begin the service to rebuild  the entire city. The city has the potential, we just need to give it the helping hand to get on its feet again and thrive.

LAS in the D Pre Reflection

In the city of Detroit, there are many that live in poverty. Poverty is the main reason the city of Detroit is struggling. Throughout the years, many have moved into the city hoping for a better life and a better job, and this worked for a while. However, once racism spread throughout the city, the city’s urban population began to feel the direct effects of the racism. The racism caused many urban zones to be redlined and caused a segregated community. Today, the city is mostly African American, as most of the whites have moved into suburbs. Unfortunately, this has caused jobs and opportunity to leave the city. Due to many of the manufacturing jobs moving to the suburbs, Detroit has started to deteriorate. During the talk with Dr. Baugh, I learned that racism and unequal opportunity was the reason the city started to deteriorate in the first place. Detroit is a large urban center, and it is the job of the upcoming generation to start the rebuild of the city.

The Leadership Institute as a whole serves those who cannot serve themselves. As a deteriorating city, Detroit needs the hospitality and philanthropy of those in the surrounding area. As a cohort, we are very fortunate to be experiencing higher education together; however, some of the students in the city may never know what higher education is. As a member of the Leadership Institute, it is my responsibility to go into communities that are struggling, and do my best to contribute my part. The Leadership Institute preaches inclusion. Whether you are white, black, blue, or  purple, we all bleed the same color. We are all humans first. WE need to care for each other. As a product of a public school, I say that if the opportunity and spark is given, students will be able to be successful. I am very excited to work with some of the upcoming leaders from Jaylen Rose Leadership Academy. As a member of the Leadership Institute, it is my obligation to bring leadership across the state. During this weekend, I am looking forward to giving back to a community that really needs it. I am fortunate. I understand that some are not. My part? To give my time and service to those who cannot serve themselves.