3 Ways to Become More Decisive!

3 Ways to Become More Decisive!

So since I am soon to be graduating from the University of Mount Union (yes the countdown has begun), I have been revamping my LinkedIn profile, resume and found myself reading many more professional articles. Whether it’s job advice, insight to personal or professional growth, I am usually drawn in by the author. Recently, I came … Read more

So since I am soon to be graduating from the University of Mount Union (yes the countdown has begun), I have been revamping my LinkedIn profile, resume and found myself reading many more professional articles. Whether it’s job advice, insight to personal or professional growth, I am usually drawn in by the author. Recently, I came across one from Jonah Berger, who talkes about topics like what makes ideas viral and products spread contagiously? The professor studies social epidemics, or how products, ideas and behaviors catch on and become popular. He examines how individual decision making and social dynamics (Ex: social influence) between people generate collective outcomes such as social contagion and trends.

Since I am usually trapped in the middle of simple decisions all the time, something I am trying to improve on, I found his article extremely helpful. I hope you do too!

The Benefits of Traveling Young

The Benefits of Traveling Young

I graduate in just over a month. Wow. There are many different things I am contemplating as the countdown to commence has begun. Should I go back home for a job in Milwaukee, or move just about anywhere else in the country? Should I take a little travel break after I receive my diploma? What … Read more

I graduate in just over a month. Wow. There are many different things I am contemplating as the countdown to commence has begun. Should I go back home for a job in Milwaukee, or move just about anywhere else in the country? Should I take a little travel break after I receive my diploma? What about working internationally? I seem confused about my future, but optimistic I am not settling for something I would hate. In light of all these thoughts, I can across an article by Jeff Goins called Why You Should Travel Young, and needed to share excerpts of it with you. The morality if the article is that travel may not seem like it’s preparing you for a job, but there are many immeasurable assets you take away from being on the road. Read on to learn some!

“Do you think I should go to graduate school or move to Africa?”

I don’t think she was talking to me. In fact, I’m pretty sure she wasn’t. But that didn’t stop me from offering my opinion.

I told her to travel. Hands down. No excuses. Just go.

She sighed, nodding. “Yeah, but…”

I had heard this excuse before, and I didn’t buy it. I knew the “yeah-but” intimately. I had uttered it many times before. The words seem innocuous enough, but are actually quite fatal.

Yeah, but …

… what about debt?

… what about my job?

… what about my boyfriend?

This phrase is lethal. It makes it sound like we have the best of intentions, when really we are just too scared to do what we should. It allows us to be cowards while sounding noble.

Most people I know who waited to travel the world never did it. Conversely, plenty of people who waited for grad school or a steady job still did those things after they traveled.

In a year, I will turn thirty. Now I realize how wrong I was. Regardless of the intent of those words, there was wisdom in them.

As we get older, life can just sort of happen to us. Whatever we end up doing, we often end up with more responsibilities, more burdens, more obligations. This is not always bad. In fact, in many cases it is really good. It means you’re influencing people, leaving a legacy.

Youth is a time of total empowerment. You get to do what you want. As you mature and gain new responsibilities, you have to be very intentional about making sure you don’t lose sight of what’s important. The best way to do that is to make investments in your life so that you can have an effect on who you are in your later years.

I did this by traveling. Not for the sake of being a tourist, but to discover the beauty of life — to remember that I am not complete.

There is nothing like riding a bicycle across the Golden Gate Bridge or seeing the Coliseum at sunset. I wish I could paint a picture for you of how incredible the Guatemalan mountains are or what a rush it is to appear on Italian TV. Even the amazing photographs I have of Niagara Falls and the American Midwest countryside do not do these experiences justice. I can’t tell you how beautiful southern Spain is from the vantage point of a train; you have to experience it yourself. The only way you can relate is by seeing them.

While you’re young, you should travel. You should take the time to see the world and taste the fullness of life. Spend an afternoon sitting in front of the Michelangelo. Walk the streets of Paris. Climb Kilimanjaro. Hike the Appalachian trail. See the Great Wall of China. Get your heart broken by the “killing fields” of Cambodia. Swim through the Great Barrier Reef. These are the moments that define the rest of your life; they’re the experiences that stick with you forever.

Traveling will change you like little else can. It will put you in places that will force you to care for issues that are bigger than you. You will begin to understand that the world is both very large and very small. You will have a newfound respect for pain and suffering, having seen that two-thirds of humanity struggle to simply get a meal each day.

While you’re still young, get cultured. Get to know the world and the magnificent people that fill it. The world is a stunning place, full of outstanding works of art. See it.

You won’t always be young. And life won’t always be just about you. So travel, young person. Experience the world for all it’s worth. Become a person of culture, adventure, and compassion. While you still can.

Do not squander this time. You will never have it again. You have a crucial opportunity to invest in the next season of your life now. Whatever you sow, you will eventually reap. The habits you form in this season will stick with you for the rest of your life. So choose those habits wisely.

And if you’re not as young as you’d like (few of us are), travel anyway. It may not be easy or practical, but it’s worth it. Traveling allows you to feel more connected to your fellow human beings in a deep and lasting way, like little else can. In other words, it makes you more human.

That’s what it did for me, anyway.

Thank to you Converge magazine for the post!

Raider Relief launches the Abandoned Stuffed Animal Project

Raider Relief launches the Abandoned Stuffed Animal Project

Visit raiderrelief.org today! The Project Welcome to Project ASAP, brought to you by Raider Relief. We’re putting together the biggest stuffed animal drive ever! Help the University of Mount Union and our awesome supporters in the city of Alliance as we donate our gently used stuffed animals to be professionally cleaned (by Cintas) and sent … Read more

Visit raiderrelief.org today!

The Project

Welcome to Project ASAP, brought to you by Raider Relief. We’re putting together the biggest stuffed animal drive ever! Help the University of Mount Union and our awesome supporters in the city of Alliance as we donate our gently used stuffed animals to be professionally cleaned (by Cintas) and sent out to kids who will love them.

When does it start?

We officially begin collecting donations on March 31 and will continue until April 5.

Take the Teddy Pledge!

Click HERE to take the “Teddy Pledge!” Give us your best guess of how many abandoned stuffed animals you’ll collect from home Easter weekend, and we’ll send a text message to remind you before you leave home!

Where to donate?

Feel free to drop off your donations at the University of Mount Union Library (KHIC) or Family Video in Alliance.

What exactly to donate?

Please bring your used, lovable, stuffed animals to donate. We’re looking for the sort of stuffed animal that you used to love playing with, but is ready for another child to love

Want to chat?

Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for some Teddy shenanigans! Follow the #ProjectASAP hashtag as well!

College Advice, Take More Risks

College Advice, Take More Risks

My brother recently shared a LinkedIn article with me called Wanted at Work: Take More Risks in College by Jeff Selingo, an editor and columnist at The Chronicle of Higher Education, which describes how risk taking is so important in college and how it will help you in the workplace. It’s safe to say, although … Read more

My brother recently shared a LinkedIn article with me called Wanted at Work: Take More Risks in College by Jeff Selingo, an editor and columnist at The Chronicle of Higher Education, which describes how risk taking is so important in college and how it will help you in the workplace. It’s safe to say, although I do not know quite yet, that you will have more freedom and room to do this while you are young and in a collegiate career. The moral of the article is that focusing on major research projects, putting yourself in unfamiliar situations and developing a portfolio are all crucial to future success.

I feel that I have accomplished all three of these, and that Mount Union prepared me for two of them. First in the research realm, Mount has a Senior Culminating Experience (SCE) for all majors. Last semester I wrote my Spanish research paper on an economic analysis of La Liga in Spain and FIFA mega-events, particularly the World Cup. For my management major this semester we are going through a game simulation of running a company, and also are required to write several papers. These two classes, among others, have helped my analytical skills. Secondly, putting myself in unfamiliar situations was easily accomplished by studying abroad in Spain for a semester. This stretched me beyond comfort zones and helped me achieve cultural and experiential learning. Lastly, through much of my time at Mount Union I have been fortunate to be part of several organization and work a couple internships, allowing me to develop a portfolio and e-presence. At any rate, I encourage students to take as many risks in college that they can, it may pay off! I hope it does for me.

Please take a moment to read the actual post by Jeff Selingo, it’s worth the read, and Mount Union will prepare you for the first two for sure, and in most cases the last! Enjoy.

Photo taken by Zak Suhar in Calpe, Spain while studying abroad in spring 2012.

Stretch Yourself Through Experiential Learning

Stretch Yourself Through Experiential Learning

My Social Responsibility and Personal Well-Being course has arrived back on campus after a week of service in Santo Domingo, a moving experience to say the least. We worked with West Indies Christian Ministries participating in service for its school and working with kids at the site for the entire week. Some highlights of the … Read more

My Social Responsibility and Personal Well-Being course has arrived back on campus after a week of service in Santo Domingo, a moving experience to say the least. We worked with West Indies Christian Ministries participating in service for its school and working with kids at the site for the entire week. Some highlights of the trip were plastering the side of a Dominican church (after mixing concrete in the street), giving food donations to a community living next to a landfill, playing with children and teaching them team dynamics and making other clothes and equipment donations. This experience made me realize that simple is better, and to try to live a more relaxing or tranquillo lifestyle.

It was also a great time to practice more and more Spanish, and interacting with Dominican children who’s Spanish was probably better than mine. I am certain there were a few times where they were poking fun at me, and I just couldn’t understand them! That being said, some dialect was different, and I now find myself repeating ‘que lo que’ (what’s up) and ‘tranqi’ (short for tranquillo or relaxed) whenever possible in the states. We also rode around the countryside in ‘guagua’s’ or smaller buses, my new favorite Spanish word. There are times when you would see a group of 15 inside a small guagua with two backlights out and a door missing!

The trip promotes a sort of class style that I am very fond of and that our professor believes in too, called experiential-based learning. David Kolb is a doctorate who studies this sort of learning and states that experiential learning is ‘education that occurs as a direct participation in the events of life.’ Here learning is not sponsored by some formal educational institution but by people themselves. It is learning that is achieved through reflection upon everyday experience and is the way that most of us do our learning. This was very effective, as our class reflected on the day behind us, every night.

As I said before, I was moved by the trip, especially after some of that group reflection and response time. Professor Kramer offered a bit of life advice, saying to stretch yourself through experiences whether its socially, culturally, spiritually or intellectually. I felt that this trip did exactly that, improving my view on gratitude, finding meaning in life, stretching me beyond my limits and comfort zone. This trip has definitely made itch and want to travel more! Where to next, any suggestions?

Social Responsibility Trip to the DR!

Social Responsibility Trip to the DR!

This semester I am enrolled in Dr. Kramer’s Social Responsibility and Personal Well-Being course, one that I already highly recommend. We are reading several incredible books, like World on Edge, full of factoids on how to make the world a better place, and also find ourselves within deep conversation on achieving personal growth within our … Read more

This semester I am enrolled in Dr. Kramer’s Social Responsibility and Personal Well-Being course, one that I already highly recommend. We are reading several incredible books, like World on Edge, full of factoids on how to make the world a better place, and also find ourselves within deep conversation on achieving personal growth within our lives. One of the reasons I was drawn to the course in the first place as well was the spring break service trip to a Spanish speaking country.

Originally we planned to go to El Salvador, but due to a travel warning, we weren’t able to go and are now headed to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. In the DR, our class will be working with West Indies Christian Ministries participating in service for its school and working with kids at the site for the entire week. Although we leave on Saturday at 2:15 in the morning to catch an early flight out of Cleveland, I am stoked for the trip.

I have been itching to practice my Spanish more since returning from Spain, and am glad I can be immersed in another spanish speaking culture. I also plan to document the trip through photo and video, potentially making a digital short or documentary if you will. Who knows! I also am excited to pack as little as possible for this trip to really challenge and stretch myself. I am very excited for the trip, and will share many fotos upon our return!

Later, and have fun on your very own spring break trip! Hasta luego, y diviértete en su viaje de vacaciones de primavera!

Susty Tour: The MAAC’s Solar Array

Susty Tour: The MAAC’s Solar Array

I posted previously about RecycleMania has Begun! in an effort to win a nation-wide recycling contest. Being a student on the Sustainability Advisory Committee, several other students and I had to present at the Emerging Leaders on Campus conference, our presentation being about Leaving & Sustaining a Legacy on Mount Union’s Campus. Through serving on this … Read more

I posted previously about RecycleMania has Begun! in an effort to win a nation-wide recycling contest. Being a student on the Sustainability Advisory Committee, several other students and I had to present at the Emerging Leaders on Campus conference, our presentation being about Leaving & Sustaining a Legacy on Mount Union’s Campus. Through serving on this committee I have found out about many of the initiatives on campus, moving us in a green direction.

I plan to do several posts highlighting sustainability at Mount Union, the “Susty Tour” if you will. For instance, the huge solar array on the roof of the MAAC.

A total of 230 feet of the Peterson Field House roof is covered by the solar panels, which are manufactured by Uni-Solar in Detroit and are being installed by Commercial Siding and Maintenance of Painesville. However, passers-by may not even recognize the new roof as being covered in solar panels. Each panel measures 18 feet long and 15.5 inches wide. A panel is less than an eighth of an inch thick and is fastened to the metal roof with an adhesive.

Each of the panels will produce 136 watts. Overall, they will make up a 54-kilowatt system and will produce enough energy to power seven average-sized houses for one year, according to Jason Watts of Sheffield Metals, which is the supplier of the roofing materials and solar panels.

This solar array is currently generating enough electricity to power several average size homes, and is the largest single solar array in the state of Ohio. The solar panel system is also generating most of the energy that powers the fitness center, which includes 16 flat panel televisions, 16 treadmills and 14 ellipticals. The panels will also produce energy from dawn to dusk and are still over 80% efficient with as much as 2 inches of snow covering them. A great feature for snowy Ohio!

Here is an Installation Summary and some technical details provided by AASHE (the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education):

  • Installed in 2010 at University of Mount Union in Alliance, OH
  • Estimated Annual Utility Savings: 5400
  • Capacity: 58 kilowatts
  • Annual Production: 63,000 kWh
  • Installation Type: Roof top mount
  • PV Panel Type (8) Uni-Solar PVL-136 136-watt thin-film amorphous silicon PV laminate (6.3% peak efficiency)
  • Inverter Type (8) Sunny Boy 7000US inverters.

Additional Notes:
The project is part of the $17.5 million renovation to the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex (MAAC). It was made possible through an anonymous investor and grants which are available due to the initiative to have 25% of the state’s power be generated through renewable energy sources by 2025.

Thanks to AASHE and Mount Union for the resources.

Let’s get Wasted! (Reducing our Waste, That is)

Let’s get Wasted! (Reducing our Waste, That is)

I recently came across an organization called We Hate to Waste, a community of people who hate to see things go to waste: food, energy, water — you name it. It was founded by “Junky Jacquie” Ottman, an expert and author on green marketing and “eco-innovation.”  After 25 years working with industry and government, she decided … Read more

I recently came across an organization called We Hate to Waste, a community of people who hate to see things go to waste: food, energy, water — you name it. It was founded by “Junky Jacquie” Ottman, an expert and author on green marketing and “eco-innovation.”  After 25 years working with industry and government, she decided to make a difference in a new way: by empowering a community of like-minded Waste Watchers — the conservers, the repurposers, the mindful and the resourceful — to ignite a cultural change that can help reduce waste.

The organization developed its own creative ways of reducing waste in our everyday lives, and arranged them in seven different categories. Start getting wasted – check out its list of tips.

Download Everything You’ve Ever Done on Twitter

Download Everything You’ve Ever Done on Twitter

Last month Twitter announced it was officially rolling out its Twitter archive feature to users. The feature, one Twitter users have been asking for, allows you to browse every tweet you’ve ever sent. Twitter is rolling out the archive feature slowly, with the full rollout expected to take months to reach all users across all supported … Read more

Last month Twitter announced it was officially rolling out its Twitter archive feature to users. The feature, one Twitter users have been asking for, allows you to browse every tweet you’ve ever sent. Twitter is rolling out the archive feature slowly, with the full rollout expected to take months to reach all users across all supported languages. Here’s what they said in its press release:

“It’s no secret: You make Twitter what it is. And if you tweet, you may have found yourself wanting to go back in time and explore your past Tweets. Maybe you wanted to recall your reaction to the 2008 election, reminisce on what you said to your partner on your 10th anniversary or just see your first few Tweets. We know lots of you would like to explore your Twitter past.

“Today, we’re introducing the ability to download your Twitter archive, so you’ll get all your Tweets (including Retweets) going back to the beginning. Once you have your Twitter archive, you can view your Tweets by month, or search your archive to find Tweets with certain words, phrases, hashtags or @usernames. You can even engage with your old Tweets just as you would with current ones.”

If you are peculiar on seeing when you tweeted the most, what your first tweet actually was, or are just curious as to what the archive interface is like, there are a few steps to downloading the archive. Here’s what you’ll need to do…

  • To see if your account has the archive feature enabled, log into your account and navigate to Settings. Scroll down the bottom of the page.
  • If your account is one of the lucky few, you’ll see a new “Your Twitter archive” section. Here you can then request your archive with the click of a button. An email containing a link to your archive will be sent once Twitter has your archive ready.
  • Follow the link in the email and download the ZIP file.
  • Open the ZIP file, then double-click the index.html file. Your browser will launch and you’ll have every tweet you’ve posted laid out in front of you in a month-by-month fashion.

I downloaded my archive and it was ready in minutes. My most activity seemed to be in August of 2010, right when the Brewers were getting hot, I was dabbling into WordPress blogging and I worked the Brandon Jennings basketball camp. I must have discovered how to effectively use #hashtags and tweet @users because of my high volume of tweets. I also discovered my first tweet, which was for Mark McConnell’s BA220 11 a.m. marketing class. The tweet was about an ‘unfaithful’ Tiger Woods and an energy drink label prank. Anyways, happy archiving on Twitter!

Thanks to the Twitter Blog and CNET post for content in this blog.

Leaving and Sustaining a Legacy on Mount Union’s Campus

Leaving and Sustaining a Legacy on Mount Union’s Campus

The Conference This past weekend several other sustainability student leaders and I were fortunate enough to present at the Student Leadership Conference, highlighting the importance of getting involved with sustainability on campus. The idea was to give all this valuable information, many of the concepts being ‘behind the scenes’ that students aren’t aware about (ie: … Read more

The Conference

This past weekend several other sustainability student leaders and I were fortunate enough to present at the Student Leadership Conference, highlighting the importance of getting involved with sustainability on campus. The idea was to give all this valuable information, many of the concepts being ‘behind the scenes’ that students aren’t aware about (ie: our greenhouse gas emissions, geothermal heating units, solar arrays), to the student leaders in hope of promoting more initiatives with student groups on campus.

Sustainability at Mount Union Video! Watch here: Work that Lasts: Leaving & Sustaining a Legacy on Mount Union’s Campus

View/Download the presentation in full by clicking HERE!

What We’ve Done

“Assist in the decision making process of socially, financially and environmentally sound opportunities in order to create a sustainable, efficient and healthy atmosphere for students, faculty and staff.” Here are just a few things that our group has most recently achieved…

  • Attended the AASHE 2011 Conference in Pittsburgh, where we met Bill McKibben, founder of aspiring non-profit 350.org.
  • Developed the Eco-Rep manual and program that offers paid positions to student Eco-Reps in almost all residence halls.
  • Coordinated Mount Union’s first ever Game Day Challenge diverting 48% of waste from landfill at a home football game.
  • And much, much more!

Becoming a Signatory Instiution

President Giese committed Mount Union to sustainability by signing the President’s Climate Commitment in 2007.

We are committed to Carbon Neutrality by 2046, including both the operations of our campus and our curriculum.

We submitted a Climate Action Plan as part of Campus Sustainability Plan in May of 2010.

Carbon Reduction Goals relative to 2008

  • 25% by 2015 (3.9% by 2010)
  • 50% by 2025
  • 80% by 2035
  • Neutrality by 2046

How’s our Campus Looking?