A Different Kind of Leadership

Over the course of this past semester, I have been a Peer Mentor for UBE 101. UBE 101 is a 1-credit course that first-year students take during their first semester to help make the transition between high school to college easier.  Such topics would include How to get Involved, The UB Reads book for that year, How to Register for Classes, and Academic Success. Additionally, it gives first-year students and opportunity to get to know a faculty member on campus, in case they need a reference in the future. As a Peer Mentor, I am partnered with an instructor and serve as an additional resource for the students.

Instructors and Peer Mentors have the ability to request who they would want to partner up with for their class. Since I had made close connections with one of m y bosses in Student Life, Kerry Spicer, we requested each other. Each peer mentor can chose how involved they want to be in their class. Since Kerry and I already had such a close relationship, I am actually co-teaching the class with her. In these duties, we create the lesson plan together , I host mid-semester meetings with my students, and grade papers that the students have submitted. This has been a very different leadership experience then any of my other activities that I have done. I am taking on more responsibility and practice my public speaking skills every week.

Since I am an engineering major, I have a class full of engineering. Most of them are computer science, and I even have one lone soul who is a pre-pharmacy major. They are a very lively bunch, and I enjoy seeing them make UB more of their home every week.  One of my goals as a peer mentor, is to not have them fear reaching out to me if they want to talk about anything or have any concerns.

Aside from teaching my own class, I also take a 3-credit class called UBE 495 Supervised Teaching. Every week, I meet with other peer mentors and an instructor from the Orientation, Transition, Parent & Programs office to talk about the up and downs from our respective classes. Not only do we give advice to each other, but we learn about how to be better peer mentors as well. One of our main projects is doing a 20 minute presentation on a lesson that we will be teaching to our students.

Overall, being a Peer Mentor has been a great Leadership Opportunity so far, With half a semester left, I can’t wait to see where this adventure will take me!

Note: If you are interested in this opportunity, please know that applications for the positions are up in the Springtime. You must be an incoming Sophomore level or higher to apply.

Family Weekend!!!

Family Weekend is a UB tradition where families reunite with their students to enjoy the fall weather and experience some of the UB lifestyle.  Some of the events that families could  attend were  Homecoming Carnival, Tailgating, UB vs Norfolk football game, Niagara Falls or Great Pumpkin Farm bus trips, and Sunday Brunch.  My first year, my family actually came up and we attended some of the family weekend events. It was a lot of fun! Now that I am a part of Student Life, I actually got to work some of the family weekend events which I will talk about in the following paragraphs.

Homecoming Carnival!  Although Student Life organizes family weekend, our Student Assoiciation (SA) takes charge of the Homecoming Carnival tagging it a part of their them to #OWNthefall. Having fun games, food, and prizes all in one area is a great way to kick off family weekend.  One of my favorite parts is winning a fish to take home.  Another favorite part of mine is the huge bonfire and fireworks that concludes the first day of Family Weekend.   Leading up to the carnival that week, all the engineering clubs get together to help build the bonfire. This year’s bonfire was bigger than I have ever seen and it was nice seeing everyone enjoy all the hard work that we put into building it.  Homecoming Carnival is tradition, and so many families and students end up attending.

Onto the next day, I actually worked and helped out with the Tailgate. The tailgate didn’t officially start until 1:30 pm, but my staff and I were there at 10:30 AM making sure that everything was in order for when the families arrived. It was my first time working the tailgate since I had an Organic Chem test during that time last year, so I was very excited! Once the families arrived, I was in charge of collecting their tickets that they bought and putting wristbands on them to allow them inside. It was a lot of fun chatting with the families as I did that. I am proud to have made their experience here at UB better. Aside from the Student Life run family weekend tailgate, there are other activities that go on in the parking lot by the stadium as well. First, the Spin Doctors were playing as part of the Tailgate Series that athletics hosts before each home game. Additionally, there were tons of other food vendors and fun activities such as rock climbing for people to enjoy.

After the tailgate, I was in charge of the Great Pumpkin Farm Bus Tour. Last year, I got to go on the Niagara Falls Bus tour, so I wanted to try the other location this year.  After about a half hour drive to the town of Clarence, we finally arrived there. It was amazing. Not only did you get to pick our own pumpkin (for a very low price), but there were tons of rides, a corn maze, lots of food, and more. There was even special bbq vendors there as part of their Oinktober Festival that weekend. There was even a quaint shop full of tons of Halloween decorations! Everyone who went, I could tell really enjoyed going. I actually now am planning on going back with a group of friends later on!

Finally, on Sunday Family weekend concludes with a Brunch for all the families. There is so much delicious food; basically anything that you can think of. My job as part of student life was clearing the plates from the tables and interacting with the families. It is a lot of hard work, but I could tell from my conversations how much fun families had throughout the weekend.

Every UB family should experience Family Weekend at least once. Not only can you enjoy some on campus activities, but you can enjoy exploring the Buffalo/Niagara area as well.

UB vs Baylor

UB football hosted Baylor for Friday Night Football on ESPN this past weekend. Ever since the football schedule had been released during the summer time, there had been excitement for this particular game. After an amazing season last fall with two of our players getting drafted, playing against a seeded team was a great honor.

Leading up to the game, our Bulls were 1-1 in the season. True Blue, the club that organizes the fan sections for all UB athletic games,  started promoting that the night game was going to be a Black Out. This meant that not only our players would be sporting new gear, but all the fans would be decked out in black as well.  One of the shops on campus started selling special addition black out shirts as well. On Thursday, the day before, True Blue and athletics hosted a night to hear the coach speak, get free food, and watch Remember the Titans. Although it was cold out, it was a lot of fun!

Go Bulls!

Go Bulls!

On Friday, as it got closer to game time, the campus was full of students, faculty, alumni, friends, and family roaming around campus in black. There were multiple tailgates going on to get everyone pumped up for the game. When students entered the stadium, they were given signs to hold up for the game. The stadium was packed! I think we might have broken the record for most attended game, but don’t take my word on that. The energy was so high, with True Blue leading us in our usual chants to psych out our opponents. Seeing all the school spirit made me brought to be a part of the UB community.

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Top 50!!!! #GOBULLS

This past Tuesday, UB broke into the top 50 best public “national universities” in the country for the first time ever, earning the No.48 spot according to U.S. News and World Report.  Additionally, among both public and private national universities, UB ranks No. 103 and among public universities is ranked No.1 for lowest student debt.. As one of many students that goes to UB, I cannot express how proud I am to attend such an amazing university.

After the past three years attending UB, I can see why we have finally cracked the top 50. I have had the opportunity to learn from top professors, participate in various projects, and enhance my non-technical skills as well. Each year, I have seen the school make small changes and gain achievements to make our school better as part of the UB 2020 plan. This ranges from the remodeling of two of the largest lecture rooms on campus, the addition of the Winter Session for classes, new outdoor pursuits available to students, Khalil Mack getting drafted, and even President Obama taking the time to speak at our University.

It is also gratifying knowing that when you attend UB, not only are you getting an education that is quite competitive to other universities, but you won’t have as much student debt as everyone else.  One fact that was astonishing when I read the article about our school from U.S. News was that UB students who graduate with debt has an average amount of $17,455. Additionally, 55% of students graduate with no debt at all. I can only imagine how great a feeling that is to know you either don’t have to pay debt or it only will take a few years to pay it back.

I cannot wait to see everything else that UB has in store. From what I have seen so far, UB is only getting better and I am sure that in ranking reports for next year, we will be even higher.

For more information check out this link: http://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2014/09/011.html

 

#OWNtheFall

UB Student Association is a student run government that manages all 200+ clubs on campus, brings distinguish speakers to campus, and hosts bi-annual concerts for the undergraduates for UB. All of these are funded by the mandatory student activity fee that is included in everyone’s tuition. This past Saturday was the third Fall Fest to happen since I have attended UB. This year the main events were Schoolboy Q and T.I. with Ab-Soul and Bas opening for them. Although I didn’t know who either of the opening acts were going to be, I knew a few songs by Schoolboy Q and T.I.

Fall Fest Poster

Fall Fest Poster

Due to meeting up with other friends before the concert, I finally arrived around 8PM to the concert. This actually worked out in our favor since we didn’t have to wait in any long lines and got through security pretty quickly. SA did a pretty nice job with the outside set up with a food station, tons of bathrooms, and a medical station. It was exciting seeing so many UB students come out; in fact I ran into people who I didn’t even know liked rap music!

Besides getting through quickly through the line, we got there just in time for Schoolboy Q to come on stage. Of course, tons of students were wearing bucket hats in honor of Schoolboy’s signature look. Everyone went crazy as he went through his set list! He was even cracking jokes in between songs. Even though I had only prior knowledge of two songs (Studio and There he go) beforehand, I learned of some new ones that I will definitely be adding to my playlist. After a small set change, T.I. took the stage to close the night. He was quite entertaining as well to watch. He performed a set list of older songs that students had grown up listening to and newer songs that he had either remixed or been featured on.

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SA did a great job with this year’s Fall Fest line up and it was placed perfectly during the school year to keep students pumped to be back at school. I am excited to see what else this year’s SA has in store for the students of UB!

The After Opening Weekend Rush

It doesn’t matter if you  are a commuter, resident, first – year student, or returner, Opening Weekend is UB’s way of welcoming everyone into the family. There are activities starting with an Ice Cream social in the residential halls the Thursday before classes begin and ending with a Late Night Pancake breakfast the Sunday night before classes. It has been an interesting transition for myself first experiencing Opening Weekend my first year to actually becoming an integral part in making sure that Opening Weekend goes smoothly. Although I could go on and on about the different activities that everyone could come out to, I am only going to talk about my favorite ones which include the Interlocking UB, Welcome Back Bash, and the Late Night Pancake Breakfast.

Since I am a part of Student Life, I actually got to help paint the Interlocking UB for the second year in a row. It takes about three hours (sometimes more), but it is worth it a few days later seeing all the students come together for one of UB’s biggest traditions. The Interlocking UB is always on a Friday and scheduled right before the picnic. Even though the time says the event doesn’t start until 3:30 pm, we have a line of over 2,000 students waiting to grab their free shirt to get in on the action. Each year the inside and outside colors of blue and white switch  to keep things looking fresh. It is so hectic making sure that that everyone is placed correctly, as we also have staff members on the top of Clemens looking down on us to make sure the picture will turn out good. All the hard work pays off as here is a picture (not the final one):

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On Saturday Night is always Late Night UB’s Welcome Back Bash for the students! This involves an indoor foam pit, lots of dancing and music, food, crafts, and a mechanical bull.  The foam pit  is one of the most interesting things that I have seen throughout my career here at UB. The line is always insane, and people seem to have a lot of fun in there! This year I was a floater helping  to make sure the food and soda was stocked, and shoveling the foam back into the foam put after students get out.  Over 1,500 students come out for the first event, it’s crazy.

Finally, on Sunday Night is the Late Night Pancake Breakfast. My co-worker Peter and I made handing out one piece of fruit fun by chanting only one and making it a game for the students to chose their piece of fruit wisely. Once again, I am shocked at how many people come out to grab some free food the night before classes.  As the night concluded, my staff entertained the students with #codeblue, and other group dances.

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My Staff

This weekend made me so grateful to be part of such an awesome community. Everyone is so friendly and is happy to help you out whenever you need it.   Now it is off to classes as I end this post!

 

 

 

All Moved in!!!

Today I FINALLY moved into South Lake, an on campus apartment complex here at UB near Alumni Areana/ CFA. I am so excited to be living with my friends Tiffany and Sarah. The year will be amazing!!
Living on the third floor was a little rough moving in, but it was well worth it with the higher ceilings in the living room and the extra exercise during the school year. The complex was entirely redone with new flooring, living room area stuff, and all new furniture for the rooms. (pictures will be posted at a later date!) We still all have to decorate the living area space and our bedrooms, but that can be at a later date.
As I moved in, it finally dawned on me that I am starting my THIRD year here at UB. With taking 20 credits this semester, and balancing other school activities, it will be such a hectic year. I am ready to accept the challenge though. My friends and family will help motivate me this upcoming semester.
It is crazy to think that next week is opening weekend, and then the week after that classes start. I am really excited though to finally be in my Chemical Engineering classes and to see all of my friends again. As I get further into this upcoming school year, I will definitely keep you all posted, and feel free to comment to ask me any questions about UB as well.

#bullsafterdark

Summertime at UB

First, I would like to apologize for how long it has been since my last blog post! It has been a very busy summer working with Late Night UB as we plan for the fall programs and welcome the incoming students during Orientation!  It has been interesting to see how much Orientation had grown since I attended two summers ago, and was and Orientation Leader last summer.

After school ends, everything at UB was pretty quiet except for the occasional people you see walking around taking summer classes. It wasn’t until mid-June, when all the Orientation Leaders arrived for their two weeks of training when the real fun began. That was also around the time when all the other offices that take part in Orientation were finalizing all of their plans. My office, Student Life, prepped for Clubs Fair, Club Terrace, and UB Experience presentation.  Throughout the process, I met new Graduate Assistants in Higher Education, and a ton of new friends where were just as excited as me to make sure that the incoming students had a wonderful time.

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(This years crew of OLs….dont they look like fun?!)

The two weeks in June flew by, and  before we knew it, it was time for the first out of eight Orientation sessions.  Now I can’t spill all the secrets of Orientation, but I can tell you about the part that I played in it this year.  During the first day of every Orientation, my staff and I would make sure that everything was prepared for that night.  By 6 pm we were out in the Student Union (SU) setting up all the tables for clubs fair, blowing up all the balloons, and making sure the placement of clubs made sense. Then at 8, we would golf cart it over to Fargo (a residential hall in Ellicott Complex) to set up for Club Terrace. After set-up was done, a few of us would golf cart it back to the SU to table for Clubs Fair.

It was fun getting to know the other clubs on campus, and seeing the excited faces of the incoming students as they walked into the SU. It was a warm feeling knowing that every club is there to help make sure each incoming student finds their place when they arrive back on campus in the fall. I was always surprised to how many incoming students were brave enough to  jump in and do the wobble in the middle of the SU when the song came on as well.

Then came my favorite part of the evening, Club Terrace!!! There was free food, prizes, games, music, dancing, and even a community service event for the incoming students to end their first day at Orientation.  Here were some pictures taken over the course of the month:

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Playing some Games!

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Victor E. Bull made an appearance!

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Group picture of OLs and students!

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Some Students with their free Late Night Tanks!

During the night, the Late Night Staff and the OLs would teach the incoming students CODE BLUE! This dance pops up all over campus during athletic events and other school events too.  If you want to start learning  the Code Blue Dance, here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3wOM3cEpwo  At Midnight the festivities would end, and the students would have to go back to their assigned rooms for the night or continue chatting with other students if they liked.

On the second day of Orientation, I participated in a presentation called UB Experience. There all the incoming students came together one last time watching videos of things to do at UB, hearing people’s stories, and learning the Buffalo Chant. Tons of prizes were given out during this session and soon after Orientation ended.

Now that all the Orientation sessions have been over, the month of August has been flying by pretty quickly. Before we know it, everyone will be moving into their residential halls and apartment complexes and Opening Weekend will be upon us. I will save talking about Opening Weekend for my next blog post though. I hope that everyone enjoys the last few weeks of their summer, I know I will!

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My Late Night Staff this summer :)

One Door Closes and Another One Opens

This past week was the end of another wonderful school year with finals running into commencement weekend.  As the seniors that I had made friends with graduated this past weekend, I watched as they closed another chapter in their life and leaped into a new one whether their path took them to a job, grad school, or something different. I applaud them for the courage that they must have to leave behind the lives that they built up over the past four years into the unknown.

At that point it reminds me that we have to tell ourselves to not be afraid of what is out there. I remember that the beginning of the school year I was uncertain about the transition between my first year and my sophomore year. Many of my friends who lived on my floor were either residential assistants or we weren’t living in the same area.  My roommate was one of the few from my first year who I would be living near.  I admit I was worried, but I didn’t have to be.

You figure out who your real friends are during your sophomore year. Who you can call in the middle of the night if you have a problem and who will always show up to support any of your endeavors.  You even make new friends, friends who you will become closer with than some from the first year. I admit it is weird at first coming home and not being able to walk directly across to a friend’s room to hang out and having to find time between multiple busy schedules to hand out.

As next year begins, I’ll be in a similar situation with myself living on opposite sides of the campus away from anyone I knew my first year. I’ll even be living with girls that I met this past year. However, this year’s graduating seniors reminded me that when one door closes another one opens and I see the upcoming school year full of opportunities yet to be tackled. I know that the next two years are going to fly by quickly so I have to make the most out of them.

Everyone finds their Niche

Today marks the last Late Night UB program of the year. We say goodbye to our seniors, celebrate the end of classes, and wish everyone luck on their finals. We have spent weeks planning this program, so hopefully it is a success! We have food donated from local Buffalo businesses, Soul-O-Cup (pictured below), Zumba, Yoga, Massages, and many more fun activities for the students. However, talking about Finals Feast isn’t the reason that I am writing this post.

Soul-O-Cup

Soul-O-Cup

When I first started working for Student Life, I knew already that first day during Opening Weekend that I was going to love this job. The members of the Student Programming Board and the rest of Student Life have become part of  my  UB family this year. I have been blessed to work alongside such friendly, supportive, and talented people this past year and for the next two years.  For an example, during staff meetings to plan Late Night events for the next year you know that you are in a great place when two hours fly by and you haven’t even noticed.

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Some of my awesome coworkers

Anyone who is a part of Student Life is proud to say that they have one of the most fun jobs on campus, whether s/he works the Student Info Booth in the SU Lobby, the front desk in 150 SU, or Late Night. We are all part of the bigger picture of making this campus fun and inviting for students. We plan Opening Weekend, Family Weekend, the legendary Haunted Union, Winterfest, and Senior Week.

Aside from getting close with each other, we form lasting relationships with the professional staff as well. They are always there to give us advice about our lives, career choices, and make sure that we are having a great time. You can walk into any of their offices and just talk to them about anything.

If you do decide to come to UB, don’t fret you will find your niche here on campus. Whether it is working for Student Life like I do or something else, you won’t regret coming here.