Smile as Big as the Moon

Smile as Big as the Moon

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This past Thursday, all students in the Department of Education at Mount Union and students in the Alliance City Schools, had the honor of hearing author Mike Kersejes speak about his book, Smile as Big as the Moon. Mike is a special education teacher who wrote a book on his experiences with his special education class and their adventure to space camp! While discussing special education, Mike talked a lot about how we as future educators need to remember many things when working with these children. One important point that he made right at the beginning of his speech really spoke to me – “We need to start asking what the child does know, instead of what he or she doesn’t know.” Mike emphasized how important it was that we encourage students with special needs and focus strictly on the positives.

Mike told the story of how he wanted to try and teach the kids in his class what it meant to be on a team and the concept of teamwork. “Teamwork makes the dream work,” he said. And, for the kids in his class, he wanted to show them that they could reach their dreams by working together as a team. He had an idea, and a crazy one at that. He wanted to take his special needs class to space camp. Everyone in the school thought he was crazy and no one wanted to help him raise money for them to go. Mike’s class finally did receive a sponsor  (The Burger King Corporation), and from there they ventured off to space camp. At space camp, the kids ended up doing very well. They took 1st, 2nd and 3rd place awards in different events and really learned how to work through different obstacles and challenges that may have been easier for the other teams at the camp. To me, this showed that nothing is impossible with teamwork. While it may seem that children with special needs have some set backs, we as teachers can teach them to work hard together, so they can do anything they set their minds to.

Mike still takes his special education class to space camp every year and they never place anything less than 3rd in the different events. I was truly inspired by Mike and everything he had to say to us. He truly taught his students how to conquer their fears, by simply just believing in them and pushing them to work together. I highly suggest everyone read his book, Smile as Big as the Moon. I know it’s going to be first on my summer reading list!

Crazy times are ending

Crazy times are ending

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It has been a great and crazy semester. For me, it has been a very exhausting week. There have been many concerts and many recitals this semester that have included great talent. This past week included the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band featuring guest artist Bob Ferrel, two Concert Choir performances and an Alliance Symphony Orchestra performance featuring the Solo Con Tutti winners – Jenna Grant, Ally Oyster and Drew Duncan. Just within the last few days the Concert Band performed and trumpet, trombone and percussion ensembles had recitals. If you missed any of these amazing performances, I highly suggest trying to attend one next semester to see all of the amazing music making that goes on within the walls of Cope Music Hall.

If you are still interested in seeing a fantastic performance before the semester ends and graduation begins, stop by on Thursday, April 21 at 8 p.m. to see the Flute Choir perform. It will be a great recital, and if you go you will be very glad that you decided to attend. Hope to see everyone in Cope more often to hear all of the wonderful performances that take place every week.

New Apartments

New Apartments

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It’s hard to believe I am half way through my college career. It seems just like yesterday that my parents dropped me off at Cunningham Hall to begin my freshmen year. Freshmen year was a blast and I got the chance to meet and become friends with a lot of the people in my dorm. Everyone typically complains about the size of freshmen dorms but most of the first-year dorms at Mount are very decent in size. Also, having a community bathroom is not as bad as most would think. The exciting thing about housing at Mount is the ability to have a suite-style bedroom in only your second year. Like I have previously discussed, this year I’m living in Shields Hall, which has two bedrooms connected to a private bathroom. Next year, I will be living in the new apartments near the Sigma Nu and Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternities. The new apartments will be three stories and feature a kitchen, living room and half bath on the first floor, two bedrooms and a bathroom on the second floor and two bedrooms, a bathroom and a laundry room on the third. While I enjoyed living in Shields this year, I am definitely looking forward to living in the new apartments where the majority of my friends will also be living.

Scholar Day

Scholar Day

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Today is SCHOLAR Day at Mount Union. It’s a day where students present yearlong research studies to the Mount Union and surrounding communities. There are 77 research projects that will be presented throughout the entire day. My roommate presented his study on the power output of dehydrated athletes this morning to a standing room-only crowd. There are no classes on SCHOLAR Day and students are encouraged to attend as many of these presentations by their peers as possible. A grand array of subject material will be discussed from the use of saliva to help document diabetes and French utopian literary styles to the non-spiral make up of galaxies across the universe and Twilight and its detrimental effects on children. All of these presentations are extremely interesting and entertaining and a great experience for students!

BEST Program

BEST Program

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The BEST Program is program that connects Mount Union students with business executives. This is an opportunity only available for Mount Union juniors and seniors. Come the fall semester, I will be personally applying for this opportunity because I find the aspects of small businesses very intriguing. The program involves meetings between the group of students and the business executives where real life issues and opportunities are discussed. The participating students get the opportunity to hear directly from the executives about their strategic problems and issues. Not only do students get to hear and discuss the problems, they also get to put their classroom experience to good use as they actively help and advise the executives about possible solutions to their problems. I am looking forward to applying for the BEST Program, and if I am fortunate enough to be offered this opportunity, it will go a long way in building my experiences in the business world.

I LOVE the weather

I LOVE the weather

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Ahhh, the weather was so gorgeous today. It was UMUpalooza, which was the four-hour live music event hosted by WRMU that Samantha and I have been writing about the past couple weeks. It actually went really well. All the bands that performed did a great job and I think the people that came were really satisfied with the event. :]

I loooove when the weather gets nice out because I migrate from The MAAC to running outside around campus. The MAAC is short for the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex, which basically is our rec center.  I love working out there and it really is nice. My freshman year, we worked out in this tiny building that was called “The Body Shop” because the new place was being built. That is almost humorous to think back on that because the new workout center is so nice. There are a bunch of flatscreen TVs that you can watch while you’re working out, and all of the equipment you’d assume to see at the gym.

In high school, I ran track, cross country and danced, but I didn’t want to run when I came to Mount. The teams are so serious about the sport (which is how it should be), but I’m just more of a recreational runner now. I do road races here and there but I just love running to clear my mind and get fresh air. The dance team here looked fun when I first came here and I did try out my freshman year but was cut at the last second.  They told me to try out again but I never did because I got involved in too many other things.

It’s fun just being able to workout and run when I have time and not having to run whenever I’m SUPPOSED to. I ran this morning before class for an hour because it was just sooo nice out. Around 60 degrees is perfect for running because it’s warm but not too hot! Hope this weather stays nice so I can keep running outside and then just go to The MAAC to use the weights. :]

-Shannon

Circle of Sisterhood

Circle of Sisterhood

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This past Monday, all sorority women on campus had the pleasure of going to listen to a very special someone speak. Michelle Marchand Rebholz , an alumnus of Mount Union and member of Alpha Xi Delta, spoke about something very special she is doing now with her life. She’s a Greek life coordinator at Lehigh University. Michelle dedicates her time and talents to being a fraternity and sorority professional who has a passion for traveling, food, running and advocating for those in need.

Michelle came to Mount Union to introduce us to something called the “Circle of Sisterhood Foundation.” The Circle of Sisterhood Foundation was founded by a lady named Jennie Caroll. Jennie wanted to start this organization to bring all sorority women all over the world together in an effort to “pay it forward” and help the less fortunate and uneducated women of the world. Sororities help women every day by supporting their educational experiences and teaching them to give back to the campus and community through service and philanthropy. When Jennie started this foundation nearly a year ago (April 19, 2010), she had no idea how it would take off. “Educating girls is one of the most effective ways to get rid of poverty,” Michelle stated. Through this foundation, sorority women from all over are given the chance to make a difference in the lives of all women. Michelle told a story of a young girl names Sri Raff, who is a confident Cambodian teenager who was handed over to gangsters and sold into a brothel. A social worker eventually helped to save Sri and helped to give her an education so she could start her life over. If every sorority women contributes and does something, we could do things like that for women who suffer from oppression and poverty all over the world. After almost year of assistance, the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation has raised $20,000 and already approved several grants.Learn more about Michelle and what she is doing to support to the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation. As Michelle wrapped up her speech to the sorority women of Mount Union, all she asked was that we try and do something and pay it forward. So as a sister of one the sororities here on campus, I know I will continue to give back and try and make a difference however I can because that’s what being in a sorority is all about. Michelle ended with a very famous quote and statement for all of us to reflect on: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” So I say to anyone, in sorority or not, make a change and pay it forward somehow.

Celebrate. REMEMBER. Fight Back.

Celebrate. REMEMBER. Fight Back.

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Starting at 4 p.m. yesterday until 12 p.m. today, students from the University of Mount Union and other members from the Alliance community, came together to start setting up for the Relay For Life and fight back against cancer! Relay for Life is the signature fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. The University of Mount Union hosts a Relay for Life event and all the different on campus organizations as well as other places and businesses from Alliance come together to help in the fight against cancer. Each different organization and business sets up a table with different activities and games that help raise money for the Relay. The members from these groups and businesses will walk every hour around the track to raise money for cancer. Some of the fun games and activities they had to keep participants up and moving and awake all through the night were cornhole, water pong, Frisbee and zumba as well as awesome music put on by the great people from WRMU!

One really great parts of Relay for Life, is the Luminaria ceremony that takes place. This ceremony is a moving event that gives all people the chance to come together to remember loved ones lost to cancer and honor those who have won the battle. Throughout the Peterson Field House, lining the track, were illuminated bags, which bears the name of someone who had battled cancer. Some students and community members will write names of cancer survivors, while some will write the names of those who have passed away from cancer. The Luminaria is a great way to represent someone special who has been affected by cancer and the family and friends who are there to support and fight back in honor of them.

This was the first year I participated in Relay, and it was truly an amazing experience. Just being there, whether it was walking with friends on the track, participating in different games and activities or selling Alpha Chi Omega animal cupcakes, it was great knowing that I could be making a difference for the millions of people who fight through this disease. It was also great to see all of the survivors who came out to support the fight for those people who are currently struggling with the disease. Relay this year consisted 550 participants and 36 teams. This year, the community of Alliance and the University of Mount Union raised $36,000 for the fight against cancer. That is truly something to proud of! Also, congratulations to Alpha Phi Omega, for winning most valuable student organization this year!

The Most Innovative Company

The Most Innovative Company

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When I attended the National Sports Forum in Louisville, Kentucky, I had the pleasure of listening to a presentation given by the CEO of one of the most innovative companies. The guest speaker was Amy Martin and she founded the social media guru company – Digital Royalty. Digital Royalty is at the forefront of the social media world as they are social media consultants for elite athletes and sport organizations. When Shaquille O’Neal sat in the middle of the Harvard campus like a statue, Digital Royalty was behind it. When UFC President Dana White accidentally tweeted his phone number to millions of people, Digital Royalty capitalized on it and created the fan phone.

I was amazed how much of a business approach Digital Royalty took to social media. This company is all about helping businesses utilize the emerging market of social media. Social media has staying power and is a powerful tool that business and capitalize on to increase revenue and awareness. I got a few seconds after the presentation to approach Martin and talk a little more in depth on the topic. To me, social media is a fascinating new tool that that will have taken over the business world by the time I enter the job force. I plan on following this social media powerhouse company in order to stay tuned into the new trends, and I suggest anyone interested in social media do the same.

Summer is almost here!

Summer is almost here!

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This week spring decided to unveil it’s beautiful face on wonderful Alliance, Ohio. It has been in the mid 60s and 70s the past few days and I have much sunburn on the non-bearded portions of my face.

Mount hosted a home track meet this past weekend in which many great performances were recorded including my roommate Tom Karos of Barberton, Ohio, who threw over 400 combined feet in the shot put, discus, javelin and hammer throws. A long with Tom, my good friend Ty Griffin of Massillon provisionally qualified for the NCAA National Championships in the mile.

This past weekend, Mount hosted the Raider Olympics (orchestrated by my roommate). Teams of students competed in events for charity … it was a lot of great fun!