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2015-02-12_16-48-34

Open Your Heart: 3 Ways to Use Life Defining Moments to Strengthen Your Team

Open Your Heart: 3 Ways to Use Life Defining Moments to Strengthen Your Team

Today marks another year in the books for QUEST, a first year summer leadership experience at my university. Each year I’ve served as a peer mentor during QUEST, helping the freshmen in our program to adjust well to campus, become engaged leaders, and develop personal goals for the year. Each year, the peer mentors and “Questers” go through a training exercise called Life Defining Moments. During this activity, each person in the group shares an experience, which has changed their life forever. It can be a great experience full of happiness, or a deep secret that few people know. It is an activity filled with emotions, and at the end of it the group feels really well connected, like a family. This got me thinking… it’s really important to create “Open Doors, Open Hearts” moments in order to build a […]

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Learning School Cheers was the First Moment I Felt I Belonged- A Student Leader Spotlight

Learning School Cheers was the First Moment I Felt I Belonged- A Student Leader Spotlight

We are always meeting student leaders who are going the extra mile to make others feel welcome and build community culture on their campuses. We realized that one great way to learn from each other is to spotlight different students who have made an impact on the lives of their fellow students. Meet Morgan Petersen, a student at Louisiana State University. She’s an English major, a Resident Assistant and an LSU Ambassador on campus. We asked her about the things she loves on campus and how she gets others involved.   What’s your favorite campus tradition? “Standing in Death Valley and doing the first cheer in the stadium for the first time that football season; the energy is practically alive in the stadium and even if you aren’t the most die hard LSU football fan, it’s completely infectious.”   What was […]

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Small Talk, Big Impact for New Students

Small Talk, Big Impact for New Students

Over the weekend, I spent time with my boyfriend’s brothers and close friends at a BBQ. I always have a great time hanging out with this group, though I don’t know a lot of the people too closely yet. I am still, to many of them, a new addition to the group. Luckily for me, I feel at ease in situations like that, but I did find myself staying close to my boyfriend’s side, as there was no one else I could just jump into a conversation with. Even luckier, though, the people I was with all naturally make the people around them feel welcomed, connected and engaged. Even though they have all known each other for practically a lifetime, they made me feel that I had been there that whole time too. They do this in little ways, and it […]

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Student Leadership Lessons from the Restaurant

Student Leadership Lessons from the Restaurant

As the summer draws to an end (woah that was quick), I have finished my fourth year of bar tending down the beach. After my last night at work, my coworkers and I decided to celebrate another summer by going out after our shift ended. It was a really great night where everyone shared his or her stories from the summer. We talked about the highs and the lows of working our jobs, and shared where each of us will be heading in the fall. At one point in the night, we started talking about our boss, Derek. Everyone there agreed that Derek is a great boss to have at the restaurant. We all shared perspective on why Derek is awesome at what he does. I realized by the end of the conversation that he possesses all the qualities of a great student […]

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Getting the Team Excited – 5 Ways to Boost Morale

Getting the Team Excited – 5 Ways to Boost Morale

You’re sitting in your club’s weekly meeting, discussing the next event you have planned. You notice a few of the people in the room on their phones and a few others that look like they’re on another planet. “Why bother?”, you think to yourself. This isn’t at all what the first meeting of the semester looked like, back when everyone remembered why they wanted to be involved in the group. Could it be that people have just lost interest? Do they not care about the club anymore? Chances are, neither of those are true. As time goes on, and the weekly meetings remain the same, people become bored with clubs. Some stop showing up completely. There’s nothing new and exciting with a routine. So how do you get your team members excited again? It’s time to boost the team’s morale. […]

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How Poor Leadership Can Risk Public Safety

How Poor Leadership Can Risk Public Safety

The largest energy company in the city plasters their safety campaign all over the subways – if you smell gas, call us. You can call in anonymously, but please please call. This is important. Never take your eyes off safety. Imagine for a second that two people do smell gas at their houses and call it in. Both turn out to be a false alarm, but each person has a very different experience from there. Scenario #1 – Dylan calls the company immediately after  smelling something that might be gas in his kitchen. After the proper authorities check the house,  the woman in charge of the emergency crew walks up to Dylan and says, “You’re all clear, thank goodness! Thank you for calling this in; we really appreciate your concern for safety. You did the right thing. Have a great […]

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A SMART Way to Increase Engagement

A SMART Way to Increase Engagement

It was the end of the spring semester, where we found a discouraged student leader wondering where his organization went wrong: “I just don’t get it. I mean I told the team it was our goal to place in the top 3 at the International CollegiateA Capella Championships. I even made sure we practiced as hard as we could to get there. Yet we didn’t even make it in the top 10. I thought it was important to set goals and work towards them.” While this student leader was correct in thinking that goals are important to set and work towards, he missed something that would have made his organization not only successful, but also a community where everyone feels welcome, connected, and engaged. He only made a goal; not a S.M.A.R.T. goal. S.M.A.R.T. goals are: Specific… Goals should be simplistically […]

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Lip Sync Battles Are Extremely Important

Lip Sync Battles Are Extremely Important

You enter the auditorium, shaking, nervously looking at the bright stage set up for the next activity. You know what it is and you know it’ll take you far out of your comfort zone. You want to find a way out. That’s how a lot of people feel about the very last event of orientation at NYIT. This activity is a nerve wracking, unplanned and crazy battle. It’s our lip sync battle. Groups are given about an hour and a half of prep over two days to put together a dance to an insane minute and a half mash-up of popular songs. Groups must lip sync the songs (which involves memorizing the words), use props and demonstrate school spirit. This is incredibly difficult for some groups and easy for others. You listen to the song, come up with dance moves […]

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Trader Joes Gave Me A Free Sample And A Life Lesson

Trader Joes Gave Me A Free Sample And A Life Lesson

Like a Pavlovian dog, any time I enter into Trader Joe’s, I make my way to the free sample counter to see what delicacy they are handing out to the masses. Today was no different, and the savory treat I devoured was a melted cheese pretzel. After washing the pretzel down with another sample of fresh squeezed orange juice, I smiled at the older lady serving everyone and said, “Thank you.” She smiled back and after a short pause said, “You know what? I’ve been here for 90 minutes and you’re the first person to say that to me.” “Really?” I shockingly replied. “Yeah. I don’t know why, but you were the first one.” She said with an inquisitive look. “Well, glad I did. Humans need humans.” I smiled and walked away still pondering the situation. Ever since my visit […]

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Make Your Team the Champions of Communication

Make Your Team the Champions of Communication

We’ve all been part of a team that just doesn’t gel. Whether it is a group lab report, a class presentation, or planning one of your organization’s events, we’ve all had at least one bad experience where the team just didn’t work well together. Think back to the last group work you’ve done that did not go well. Maybe you were the person on this team who did all of the work for the project, while the others were constantly on Facebook or didn’t even show up to the meeting. Maybe you were the person whose voice couldn’t be heard, because of other people dominating the conversation. Maybe you were the person who was just really having a bad day, which was why you showed up late to the meeting and couldn’t focus well. There are many reasons why group […]

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