January 6, 2011
Think about the fall semester. On a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high), how busy were you? Some of you are thinking, “I was a 15!”
What contributed to your busyness? Classes, of course. What else? A job or two (or three). A student organization or two (or three). Campus events, working out, video games, Facebook, television.
How did you choose your involvements? Which ones matched your values, passions, and purpose and contributed to what you want for your life? And which just contributed to a constant state of busyness?
We make many choices every day. Are we pausing to make these choices intentionally, or are we allowing ourselves to get drawn into every time sucker that comes along? Letting each day fill with stuff we don’t care much about creates stress, frustration, and exhaustion. Each day becomes a chore.
However, being selective about our involvements—focusing on a few things we love, activities that enhance our personal and career interests—can bring joy and satisfaction…and a little room to breathe.
As the next round of classes approaches, what will you choose—another semester of frenzied chaos or one that’s less busy and more rewarding and fun?
October 7, 2010
At UW-Green Bay’s recent leadership conference, Max U. Day, participants began the morning by answering the question: “What do you want to learn today?” About 30 possible responses were provided. One of the most common answers was
“to build confidence, to act assertively, and to function without the need for constant reassurance.”
Research points to confidence as a key trait of effective leaders. According to Peter G. Northouse, author of Introduction to Leadership, “Confident people believe they can accomplish their goals” (2009, p. 21).
Students in UWGB’s First-Year Seminar on Leadership recently were assigned to interview a leader and write a paper about it. One of the leaders was quoted as saying, “I personally don’t think I’m a very good leader, but I guess people like me, so who knows, maybe I’m doing a good job.”
Where does confidence come from? Certainly Max U. Day tries to influence this trait. Workshop topics included being assertive, identifying personal strengths, and working through conflict. In fact, one participant wrote the following about her Max U. Day experiences: “I learned that it’s okay to say ‘no.’ I need to say ‘no’ without fear others will hate me.”
Practice also builds confidence. When we first learn to drive, we feel fear. After driving hundreds of miles, that fear fades away. Challenging ourselves to do more and thus to learn more helps us to feel more self-assured.
Northouse suggests that “taking on leadership roles, even minor ones on committees or through volunteer activities, provides practice for being a leader” (p. 22).
In fact, several people who were interviewed for the leadership course said that they began experiencing leadership in elementary school. Maybe you did too. Were you a line leader, a student crossing guard, or a team captain? Did you and your friends or siblings organize a lemonade stand? Did you belong to 4-H, Scouts, or some other similar organization?
The confidence it takes to lead well can be learned. Challenge yourself to take advantage of the many opportunities available at UW-Green Bay for fine-tuning your skills and building your self-esteem. The results may surprise you.
As inventor Thomas Edison once said, “If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”
September 7, 2010
So, what are the “don’t miss” events at UW-Green Bay this fall? Here are some recommendations from the Leadership Blog:
ORGSMORG, 11am to 2pm, Wednesday, September 15, Phoenix Rooms, Union
One of the most popular events of the year, OrgSmorg is your opportunity to “shop” for student organizations. Not sure what to join? At OrgSmorg, more than 100 student groups gather together, set up informational booths, and talk to students about what they do and when they meet. By being a member of an organization, you learn valuable skills, meet people, and build confidence. From the Ambassadors to Zeta Omega Tau, there’s something for everyone at OrgSmorg.
MAXIMUM U DAY: 9am to 5pm Saturday, October 2, Union
Max U. Day is UW-Green Bay’s popular daylong leadership conference. Whether you have no leadership experience or lots of it, this event has something just for you. Planned by students and staff, Max U. offers a wide variety of workshops from which to choose. Topics for this fall include time management, assertiveness, how to make teams work, and how to lead according to your personal style. Check it out at: http://www.uwgb.edu/stulife/leadership/maxureg.asp. Max U. T-shirts and portfolios are hot items on campus. Don’t be the only student without them!
FANTASTIC LEADERS & CHANGE-MAKERS ON CAMPUS
Lisa Shannon, founder of “Run for Congo Women” and author of “A Thousand Sisters: My Journey into the Worst Place on Earth to be a Woman,” 4pm Wednesday, September 22, Christie Theatre, Union
Paul Loeb, author of “Soul of a Citizen: Living With Conviction in Challenging Times,” 7pm Thursday, September 30, Phoenix Rooms, Union
Jeffrey Hou, expert on how urban gardens are improving communities, 4pm Thursday, October 14, Christie Theatre, Union
Sarhaa Karimi, maker of the documentary film “Afghan Women Behind the Wheel,” 4pm, Monday, November 15, Christie Theatre, Union
What programs look interesting to you and why? Alumni, what do you recommend?
These programs could change your life! Take advantage of all that UWGB has to offer!
August 20, 2010
I’d like to tell you about Nick.
Recently Nick stopped by the Office of Student Life to say good-bye. It wasn’t a “forever” good-bye. Nick is leaving UW-Green Bay to teach. He is ending his time as a UW-Green Bay undergrad and beginning a new phase of life as an education professional. This new UWGB alum is set to begin what may become a lifetime of influencing young people’s lives. (How awesome is that?!)
It was hard for Nick to walk away from this place, but I don’t think he would have it any other way. Nick made the most of his college years. In his final semester, he co-led the University Ambassadors and worked in the Dean of Students Office, among other things. The campus impacted him, and he impacted the campus.
So, I’d like to say to new students arriving to campus for your first semester, look for and make the most of the many opportunities available to you. Look at posters, read the weekly Campus Life Events blog, and listen to sophomores, juniors, and seniors who tell you what not to miss, like OrgSmorg, Max U. Day, soccer team matches, and UWGB Nites. You can continue your high school interests and/or explore new ones. Ballroom dancing? Organic gardening? Wall climbing?
For returning students, remember that each semester is a new beginning. You may be looking forward to conducting research with a faculty member, studying abroad, or interning. However, like new students, you may also want to tap into new interests. Walk around OrgSmorg with a first-year student’s perspective. What would you like to try before you graduate?
You may have heard from friends and family that “college is what you make of it.” It’s true. It can be an amazing ride. Memorable, life changing. Give it all you’ve got.
If you do, you, like Nick, will probably be a little sad when you leave. And, like Nick, it’ll take you at least a couple of days (if not longer!) to walk around campus saying good-bye to all of the students, staff, and faculty you’ve met and connected with.
I so hope that you have that experience because, in fact, all of the people you’ll be leaving aren’t really gone: they’re lifelong friends, supporters, colleagues. We’re all cheering for Nick and looking forward to his visits to campus, so that we can hear the great things he has experienced since UWGB…and perhaps because of UWGB, at least in part.
If you see your college experience as limitless, it will be.
See you again soon, Nick.
June 4, 2010
The oil spill.
The photos and stories are horrifying. So, what can we do about it? How will we, as members of the UW-Green Bay community, respond to this crisis?
The mission of UWGB is to prepare students to think critically and address complex issues. The University promotes both environmental sustainability and engaged citizenship.
So, let’s start doing some thinking. All of us—students, staff, faculty, administrators, alumni, and community members—can take part. Our collective heads, hearts, and hands are needed.
Where does this conversation begin? We don’t have to look far to find basic ways we can help:
• Fund-raising: The International Bird Rescue Research Center, which picks up oiled birds, cleans, and rehabilitates them, is asking for support for its bird-rescue experts. Adopting a pelican, for example, costs $200, which goes to the cost of raising and eventually releasing it.
• Tweeting and blogging: The National Wildlife Federation is asking for support via social networking sites, such as Facebook or Twitter. Twitter users can tweet and retweet messages with the #NWF tag. A Facebook Fan Page invites users to support the Wildlife Federation by setting up a “birthday cause.” Instead of getting presents from friends, you can direct them to donate to an organization of choice.
• Writing in other ways: Leave condolences to the families of the eleven workers killed in the explosion. Transocean has a Web page that introduces the employees who died and provides space for messages of sympathy. Or you can write to your newspaper, to your legislators, or to BP.
• Learning: Read about the spill. How do oil rigs work? What failed? What solutions have been attempted? Why haven’t they worked? What’s next? How can problems like this be avoided…or can they? Talk about these things. Listen to people who have perspectives different from your own. Start forming a position…
and yet…we don’t have to know everything before we can do anything. According to Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen: Living With Conviction in Challenging Times, if we wait until we have all the knowledge we need, ample time to give, and the right words to say, we’ll never act at all. Now is the time, as imperfect as it may be.
“The wonder, “ Loeb writes, “is that when we do begin to act, we often gain the knowledge, confidence, and strength that we need to continue.”
So, if we can’t go to the coast to hold back the oil or to clean off the pelicans ourselves, what can we do to support that area and to protect the environment here in our own community? We have a beautiful campus, city, and state. How can we keep them that way? What are your ideas?
Can we do something? Yes. Will we do something?
May 17, 2010
Just like college students, universities think about their identities. What makes UW-Green Bay, well, UW-Green Bay? Why should prospective students choose UWGB over other institutions? Is UW-Green Bay a good fit for anyone and everyone? If not, who benefits most from coming here? What do you tell your friends and family about the UW-Green Bay experience?
When I talk to students about this campus, I hear a wide variety of descriptors. Most everyone knows about the three T’s: tunnels, trees, and toilets. To be sure, there’s nothing better than the tunnels in the dead of winter. Private bathrooms, too, are great (although you never really get to know a person until you spit toothpaste in the sink next to him/her. Trust me. I’ve been there.) And, this campus is certainly a rare beauty; not every university has deer in residence.
What else? Here are a few things I think are just great:
1) Student organizations. We now have about 120 recognized groups on campus, up more than 30 percent in five years. Most UWGB students are members of at least one organization. There’s something for just about everyone. And if you don’t find something you like, it’s easy to start your own group.
2) First-Year Seminars. For fall 2010, these amazing courses include “Science in Film,” “The Leadership Question,” “The Culture of Food,” and “Gods, Ghosts, and Goblins.” First-Seminars provide an opportunity for new students to learn from some of the most dynamic faculty on campus. And, in addition to learning about food or ghosts, students are introduced to study and test-taking skills, time management, and more. It’s a fabulous way to get started at UWGB!
3) Size. UW-Green Bay isn’t too big, and it isn’t too small. It’s relatively easy to get connected here, whether it’s by working with faculty on research, walking to class with your neighbors from the residence halls, making pillows or getting massages at UWGB Nites, joining an intramural team, or sitting down to talk with someone in the commons or coffeehouse.
How about you? How would you describe UW-Green Bay’s identity? Why should students consider coming here?
Tunnels, trees, and toilets, sure. And then there’s the Winter Garden lounge, bags of popcorn in the Garden Cafe, OrgSmorg, cheap movies, the climbing wall, the Shorewood Golf Course, the comfy couches in the AIC/Student Life, games in the Club, a disc golf course, Communiversity Park, Max U. Day, and…
April 25, 2010
UWGB student leaders and organizations have had a great year. As I look back over the last nine months or so, so many things stand out:
1) Student groups—big and small—have gathered around a shared purpose, committed to it, and are making a difference. Two organizations, in fact, are changing the face of the campus: The SLO Food Alliance is growing fruits and vegetables in the planters behind the Union, and “Together We Cope: Support for UWGB Grieving Students” has created a Memorial Garden by the bell tower.
2) The Campus Life Task Forces work to improve programs, specifically in the areas of relationships, alcohol and drugs, diversity, and leadership. Working with staff and faculty, a number of students actively contribute to creating a healthy, safe, and supportive campus environment. Task Force-supported programs included Cash Cart, the drunk-driving simulator, Day of Silence, and Max U. Day.
3) Many students give their time and talents to recruit and retain other students for the University. Phuture Phoenix mentors and interns, Ambassadors, Resident Assistants, Peer Mentors, and many others teach about the value of higher education, share their college experiences, and help their peers get involved, have fun, and connect with resources to ensure success.
4) Hundreds of student employees serve meals, make lattes and smoothies, plan activities, ref intramurals, work in offices, assist professors, familiarize their peers with the library, and help us all with our computers.
5) Students and organizations have handled big changes and unanticipated disappointments with grace and resilience. They’ve worked through conflicts rather than run from them, they’ve challenged others respectfully, and they’ve come out of difficult situations stronger and better prepared to work through the next ones (which will arise whether we want them to or not!).
And there are so many more examples of great student experiences! What have you observed? What highlights come to mind? What will you remember from 2009-10? As we approach the end of the year, take time to reflect on the memorable moments and to savor these remaining days.
Endings make way for beginnings. 2010-11 is coming…imagine all the new adventures and endless possibilities. Are you excited?
April 12, 2010
I’m a little worried about some of you guys. You don’t look good. In fact, you look like you’re about ready to (pick one): 1) cry, 2) scream, 3) fall asleep standing up, or 4) gorge on a large Pecan Cluster Blizzard with a side order of fries. (Oh, wait, that last one is me.)
So what’s wearing you out? Papers? Tests? Projects? Roommates? Boyfriends/girlfriends? Parents? Job? No job? Bills? Lack of sleep? All of the above and more? Almost all of us has a mile-long list of stressors. To make matters worse, we seem to be working very hard to “out-stress” each other. You have two exams in the same day? Well, I have two exams, three papers, two organization meetings, and a flat tire. Have you heard (or participated) in the following conversation?
“I didn’t get to bed until 3:30 in the morning.”
“Well, I haven’t slept since last Wednesday.”
“Oh yeah? I haven’t had any sleep since my freshman year.”
We have a winner, first place, A+++, the Champion of Stress.
There are a handful of people who haven’t joined the UWGB Stress Competition. You see them at the Kress Events Center playing basketball, doing Zumba, or climbing the wall. They get enough sleep on most nights. They drink water, eat an occasional apple, put a veggie or two on their pizza. Papers and projects are spread over weeks rather than cranked out all in one night.
Some of you will stop reading this post now because you’re thinking something like: “Really, what planet is she on?” Or who wants to be one of those people? Yep, who wants to be calm, happy, awake, and healthy? Certainly not me.
We all have days when we feel frazzled and frantic, when we can’t focus on anything but our list(s) of things to do. We get through those days the best we can. But, for today, let’s challenge ourselves to stop for a few minutes. Let’s go for a walk around the arboretum (invite a stressed-out friend!), lie on the lawn and watch the clouds, enjoy a (decaf) latte and some music in the coffeehouse, or call a family member and wish him/her a happy birthday/anniversary/engagement/Monday.
We can simply try to survive April or we can make the most of April. The sun is out, the snow is gone, and anything is possible. Let’s not wish it away. Go out and play.
March 30, 2010
A group of UW-Green Bay students traveled to South Dakota over Spring Break to build relationships with the Lakota people, to learn about their culture, and to participate in service. The group visited Wounded Knee, the mass-burial site of 150 unarmed native men, women, and children who were massacred by the Seventh Cavalry in 1890. The U.S. government awarded Medals of Honor to more than 20 of the soldiers.
So what is honor? Personal characteristics associated with honor include self-respect, dignity, courage, fidelity, and excellence of character. To honor someone is to treat him/her with esteem, respect, and civility.
How can we, as members of the UWGB community, act honorably? We might start here: Treat everyone with dignity, work collaboratively rather than competitively, keep commitments, focus on community needs and interests rather than on an individual’s personal agenda, refuse to give up easily, and learn constantly. What else can we add to this list?
Central to acting honorably is being able to identify our values and convictions. When all is said and done, what really matters to you, and are you living according to these convictions? If we value honesty, we must live honestly. Can others identify what you value by how you live your life? As Ralph Waldo Emerson stated: “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”
Think about a person of honor in your life. Who would you name and why? What makes him/her honorable?
In honor of the Lakota people who welcomed the UW-Green Bay students into their homes and their lives, I share this Lakota prayer:
Wakan Tanka, Great Mystery, teach me now to trust my heart, my mind, my intuition, my inner knowing, the senses of my body, the blessings of my spirit. Teach me to trust these things so that I may enter my Sacred Space and love beyond my fear, and thus Walk in Balance with the passing of each glorious Sun…
March 12, 2010
What drives you? Why are you involved? Why did you pick the organizations you did?
Sometimes, people get so involved in something or multiple things that they find it difficult to answer these questions.
This week, during all of my ridiculous amount of paper writing and exam cramming, I learned that by answering this question, you not only find out a lot about yourself, you also find a lot out about your priorities. By asking this question, you may also find a renewed sense of excitement in the activities that have felt like burdens in these stressful times.
Why did you get involved? What’s YOUR story? Everyone has one. Everyone has a reason they applied to be an Ambassador, an RA, a board member for an org like GTP, or wanted to attend RHAA. Everyone has a reason they signed up for groups at OrgSmorg, attended weekly meetings, and volunteered for events.
Was it someone inspirational? A life event? Were you following your friends? Were you leading them?
It’s really hard to be a good leader when you forget why you wanted to lead in the first place. You have to be excited so that everyone else can be.
So in the time of midterms, when leadership seems like more of a check-list than a series of events, I encourage you to go back to your roots and take into consideration the words of Max Dupree:
“Leadership is much more an art, a belief, a condition of the heart, than a set of things to do.”