Service Learning Reflection

Service leadership and service learning is the most important thing we can do as leaders. It is important to learn by serving others, and I think the most important leadership is when you can give back to others. You can learn personally so much by volunteering for others, making a difference that way is so important.

I have fulfilled my volunteer hours by volunteering at the Leadership Launch, SOMI Fall Games, and the Polar Plunge. I am currently on the wait list as well for Young Athletes to start volunteering with them as well. You can read about this experiences on my previous blog posts.

Also look forward to reading my volunteer experience in Flint, MI next weekend.

Future Volunteer Bucket list: 
Volunteer at local Rainbow House this summer in my hometown community
Young Athletes with SOMI
Women’s Shelter in Mount Pleasant, MI
Alternative Break

 

Polar Plunge 2016

The Polar Plunge: the jump into freezing cold to spread awareness of the Michigan Special Olympics. This year on February 20th, was my first time every doing the Polar Plunge in Mount Pleasant, MI. I did the Polar Plunge in my hometown about six years ago to raise money for our local community pool and swim team, but I swore I would never do it again — but …  Michigan Special Olympics is something worth breaking that oath for.

As a CMU student, I was hand chosen to be on the Student Polar Plunge Committee, which was created to help promote and advertise the plunge. Thanks to all of our committee’s work, Mount Pleasant had the biggest plunge statewide.  Mount Pleasant raised over $70,000 for SOMI (Special Olympics Michigan).

I was on the Leadership Institute team, who raised the most money as a CMU group with $7,220 raised. As an individual I raised $1,205, which I tied with Hannah Rickers for the most money individually raised by a CMU student! I was honored to share this title with Hannah because she is a role model of mine that I always look up too, especially when it comes to being passion about and involved with SOMI.

The day of the plunge we expected over 490 plungers, and that is over 490 people that are advocating for people with and without intellectual disabilities; that’s truly impact. It’s not just about raising money to take a brave jump into freezing cold water, it’s about raising money for the happiest people on this earth. People with physical and intellectual disabilities are outstanding individuals that are worth getting to know, and that’s why I participated in the plunge.

The plunge donations were collected through firstgiving.com, or you could also receive cash/check donations. My site is called http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/megan-nemetz/MtPleasant16. Where people donated and read my story about how I am involved with SOMI.

Special Olympics Michigan is close to my heart, and I am so proud of this community for standing up for this cause. Also I want to thank my friends, family, and my community members for supporting me and helping make it possible for me to raise over 1,000 dollars. My first goal was set at $300, and I was lucky enough to set that goal to $1,000 thanks to all the tremendous amount of support. It was incredible to see family members, old teachers, and old friends donate to my page. I even had strangers donate to my page thanks to spreading awareness by the word oft mouth. I can not thank everyone enough for supporting me with my passion, but more importantly supporting the Special Olympics Michigan.

PSY CHI, now what?

At the start of the year, well really since I ever started thinking about what I would study in college, I knew I was going to major in Psychology. My heart was set on majoring in Psychology and getting a Doctorates degree in Clinical Psychology since I was in 6th grade. So in the beginning of this year (sophomore year) I decided to join PSY CHI. PSY CHI is a national honor society for Psychology Majors. It also is an RSO that meets once a week as a great resource tool of PSY majors. Each week they would discuss important topics such as GRE testing, graduate school applications, future careers in the field, and research opportunities. I loved attending the weekly meetings on Tuesday night because it always provided me with great information towards my future career and my major.

Now I am a Child Development major, so joining PSY CHI is not really an option for me anymore. When I met with my new advisor for my major, she told me about an RSO for my major called the Family Relations Council. I plan to join that next year to take the spot of PSY CHI. I also plan to look into the RSO called Breaking the Silence, which spreads awareness about mental illnesses.

Since I start attending CMU my majors/minors and passions have changed so many times, so I am currently trying to find RSO’s that match those passions to spend my time wisely. I am thankful that CMU gives me so many opportunities to find the right place for myself; I am lucky to be on a campus that provides so many resources in so many different areas.

COM 461L: Communication in Leadership

COM 461L: Communication in leadership is the last class I will take with my LAS cohort, so it tends to be a little bittersweet. Being a group of leaders in a class discussing communication in leadership might sound pretty easy and self-explanatory, but not necessarily. A lot of the topics discussed in this class comes very easily to many of my peers, but for me I need to take a little more time to find the clear understanding, and I think that is one down fall of this class; it’s assumed we already have a lot of background knowledge to this subject.

Communication is a very important aspect in leadership though, and that’s why I believe this class is so important. To be an effective leader you need to communicate to your followers and peers at all times. One of the biggest parts of this class is reading stories and analyzing them out of the book titled The Leadership Moment by Michael Useem. Each chapter of the book tells a different unqiue story that exemplifies leadership in someway, and as leaders reading the book we have to discuss the negative and positives of the leadership throughout each story. We do this by have participating in a fishbowl activity, which was designed by our professor. She hands out a cards that get passed around the room, and if you get a card with a fish on it you are running the discussion in the center of the room, and if you get a bowl then you are listening to the discussion which will later break off into smaller discussion groups ran by different fish. It a unqiue way to learn and evaluate each story; it’s very beneficial for my individual learning style.

In the beginning of the class we start the semester off by storytelling. Each student in the class had to discuss a time when we were ineffective leaders and what we took from that moment in our life. This exercise help us develop our storytelling skills as a leader; this is an important skill to have to inspire followers, and to get your passions and point of emphasis across effectively. Now at the end of the class this semester we are scheduled to story tell again a time we changed our leadership communicate due to something we learned in this class, and I am looking forward to using my communicate knowledge to practice my storytelling skills once again.

COM 461L is a very useful class, and I have highly enjoyed. Communication is a such a huge part of our lives, especially since my classmates are all Leader Advancement Scholars, we all understand the importance of this class for us to develop as strong leaders in today’s world.

 

 

 

 

FCA: Future Child Advocates

This past year at main stage, which is an event CMU puts on that allows students to explore different RSO’s on campus, greek organizations, and clubs, and I found one that is very close to my heart – Future Child Advocates. When I was walking around, I saw a flyer that asked, “Want to become an advocate for children who are victims of abuse and neglect?” I finally thought I found an RSO that I could be passionate about.

FCA is a very small group on campus, since it is a fairly new organization on campus. Due to it being new, we experiment with a lot of different ideas; kind of a trail and error process. This group has very many ideas with not a lot of money and few resources to do so, but that hasn’t stop this group from trying to help out where and when we can. Our whole goal is to help children in anyway that we can, and we had two large success this year.

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FCA put on our second annual Trunk-or-treat for the community of MoCRC49GwUcAQFRK8unt Pleasant on October 30th from 7-8:30 PM. This event consisted of many organizations from CMU including Best Buddies and SOMI Young athletes (and many more) that brought decorated trunks to lot 18 to pass out candy to children. This ended up
being a great turn out that gave children and families a face and happy environment to trick-or-treat.

A second huge success that FCA had this year was our first Toasty Tootsies sock drive. Socks are a very essential part of keeping warm and healthy during long winters, and many families lack this essential in our home of Michigan. FCA collected over 800 pairs of socks to donate to many families in need. Thanks to one of members, Caitlin Strobel, who collected over 600 pairs of socks herself. We would have not been as successful without her help and dedication to this cause. Since her community was a HUGE part in this sock collection over Christmas break we gave back to her community of Petoskey, MI by donating most of the socks to Pellston Elementary, Middle School, and High School. The remainder of the socks went to Clare, MI which is located about 20 minutes from Mount Pleasant.
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My first year a part of FCA I was elected the Public Relations chair of e-board, which involved running the twitter page (@FCA_CMU) and Facebook page while advertising our events and fundraisers. Our group started out in the beginning with over 25 members, now we are down to about seven. I was elected President of FCA next year, which will be a challenge but it will also be very rewarding. My goal is to keep this amazing group around here at CMU; I have visions for this group to start making the difference in a small way that will make a huge impact. One of our biggest goals for next year is to start a backpack drive to provide backpacks full of supplies for students that need them.

I believe that FCA is helping me grow professionally and individually. Next year my leadership skills will be tested, along with my organizational skills and time management skills. This group is also helping me grow and develop my strong passion for helping children that are abused and neglected. This isn’t just some group I joined for the recognixition, it’s something that means the world to me.

Future Child Advocates seek to provide a voice for those who are left without one. 

PHL 118L: Moral Problems

PHL 118L: Moral Problems was a very interesting class that really questioned your moral beliefs and reasoning. Topics discussed were capital punishment (the death penalty), euthanasia, abortion, affirmative action, sexuality, hooking up, war and terrorism, economic justice, pornography, and drug use.

This class taught us to make educated guesses about moral issues, as well as learn to develop our own beliefs on such controversial topics. Philosophy classes are great classes to help you develop critical thinking skills. Also PHL 118 was a class that allowed you to speak your mind freely without getting criticized for your opinion; this class is about one of the only classes I have ever taken that actually allowed us to discuss these topics. Most classes ban or don’t allow topics to be discussed such as sexuality and abortion because they may offend some people due to their religion. That’s why this class stood out to me because it allowed us as leaders to actually face this issues that are usually set aside.

As leaders I think it’s important to talk about things that aren’t necessarily the easiest to discuss; it helps you build strong beliefs and character, and it also also help students finally get an understanding on issues that are usually placed in the dark.

The structure of PHL 118L really was effective for my learning style. Each class was open to free discussion, as well presentations on each topics were presented throughout the course to gain a different perspective on that given topic. It’s also very helpful I think to learn from your peer’s presentations because they seem to be more at your level.

PHL 118: Moral Problems is a wonderful class to take if you ready to discuss difficult conversations and to develop a strong moral background of your own beliefs.

 

Much Love,

MEG

HDF 110: Roots of Oppression

HDF 110: Roots of Oppression was a required class that I had to take at CMU due to my minor of leadership but I strongly believe that this class should be required for all CMU students. I learned so much from this course that applies to so much in our generation and society.

Roots of Oppression discussed many topics and issues that individuals currently face, including: racism, discrimination, prejudice, stereotypes, oppression, environmental injustice, poverty and wealth inequality, poverty and social class, hate in America, gender oppression, religion, LGBTQ  oppression, disabilities, and age and oppression, and most importantly, denial and resistance to these topics.

My class was made up of mostly white students, which made discussion a little more difficult with these topics since most students did not quiet understand the issues. I found myself always raising my hand to answer my professors questions, because I was one of the lucky individuals who have been somewhat educated on oppression issues before. That’s why I believe that every students at CMU should take this class. It opens your eyes and mind to many topics that need to be discussed and taught. Without discussing hard issues dealing with discrimination they will continue to stay relevant and never be fixed.

Two topics that really stood out to me:

  1. Native American Cultural Desensitization
    • My background is Native American, and I was not aware of the issue of whites trying to take away Native American’s culture and identities. Whites forced Native American children off their reservations to enter a boarding school to teach them the “right way” to society (the white’s way). This was a huge problem that happened in history that is not taught in American’s history; which needs to be changed. This topic was not discussed in history throughout high school because it made us look bad as white American’s and that is what is wrong with society. If hard topics are not discussed and taught then history could repeat itself. Since my ancestors are African American this hurt my heart to hear, especially just first hearing about it in college. If you would like to understand this topic more, watch the movie Where the Spirit Lives. It really is a great film that captures this issue very well.
  2. Hate Crimes
    • Learning about hate crimes and hate groups was so eye opening for me, especially since hate crimes are still happening and there are a lot of hate groups still very active in America. The three main hate crimes we discussed were: Matthew Shepard, who was killed for being gay by being tied to a pole and beaten, James Byrd, who was dragged beyond a truck on a gravel road to be killed for being African American, and the Columbine shooting. The examples stated just helped us understand better what hate crimes look like. Also The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr., Hate Crime Prevention Act was created.
    • Reason for hate crimes: Intimidation and get people to move, quit jobs, etc.
    • Hate crimes are against race, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, and disability.
    • Most hate crimes go unreported because reporting hate crimes is voluntary by police departments, and there is differences in what is considered hate crimes in different areas.
    • Look at the Southern Poverty Law Center website to see and find active hate groups currently in America.
      • Looking at this map was shocking and scary.

The two topics I discussed above are important issues to learn about, but like I said early, I was not aware of these issues until I took this class. Sadly, this is the case for most students entering college. High school education shelters us from so much, which I think is truly wrong. Our society is still facing issues of discrimination and racism of all types. So many of my generation are oblivious to issues even though hate crimes against African Americans are on the news, Lady Gaga is performing on the Grammy’s to stand up for sexual assault and rape victims, and do you know Michigan does not have any law in place to stand up for victims of hate crimes? My generation is sheltered, and so many are not aware of some issues going on. People tend to say discrimination isn’t an issue anymore, but how isn’t it? Women still get paid less than men, African Americans on average still get hired less and paid less even if equally as qualified as the white candidate, people still use the r-word in conversation, some states still are allowed to deny services to homosexuals due to their religious beliefs, but yet you still hear some people say “everyone is equal now”.

Due to our lack of education on hard issues today our society still is racist and prejudice, and some even believe in “reverse racism” meaning that white people are the ones getting discriminated towards, even though the most privileged people on this earth are the white males. I believe taking this class is essential for gaining a well rounded education, and to also start discussions on how to make this world a better place. Starting the conversation and admitting to the problems is the first step towards fixing the problem – TAKE HDF 110 AT CMU! 

 
Much Love,

MEG