Alternative Breaks

As I have previously mentioned, I have IMG_8644.jpgbeen involved with the CMU Alternative Breaks program for over a year now, and I could not be more happy with my decision to be apart of such an amazing program. I went to Immokalee, Florida last summer to volunteer in an elementary school, and this past spring break I went to Omaha, Nebraska to serve at YES, better known as Youth Emergency Services, as well as Completely Kids. Both of these trips allowed me to embrace one of my biggest passions— working with at risk youth in poverty stricken areas.IMG_2447.jpg

After both of these alternative breaks, I finally decided it was time for me to jump from being a participant to being a site leader. After recently finding out that I would be a site leader within this program I was filled with an overwhelming sense of pure joy and IMG_8705.jpgreassurance. Getting this position reassured me that my passions and eagerness to volunteer and serve communities are what really makes me most happy and most intune with myself. Service and giving back to other communities has always given me a warm feeling, knowing I really can help and use my time in a wise and great way. It isn’t always easy for people to find the time to give back, but even if you start by taking a couple minutes out of your day, it r
eally does make a difference. This program has helped me bloom into a person I am proud of and a person who truly does care for the greater good of others.

I cannot wait to see where this opportunity takes me in the fall as well as what break I will be site leading, so stay tuned!

 

Donut Let Love Hurt

IMG_2488.jpgApart of my involvements on campus began last year with sorority recruitment. I’ve mentioned before that I was never even thinking about joining a sorority until I got to CMU, but I sure am glad I did. In the Fall of my freshmen year I joined the Delta Zeta chapter of Alpha Chi Omega, but little did I know what I was really getting myself into.

During recruitment I fell in love with Alpha Chi for a very specific reason― philanthropic passion. Philanthropy day is what sucked me into such an amazing group of women who advocated for the survivors and victims of Domestic Violence by spreading awareness. I knew I wanted to be in a chapter that cared so deeply about something I was, and still am, passionate about.

Fast forward a year and half later and here I am today, as Vice President of Philanthropy for Alpha Chi Omega. I was beyond blessed to be elected into this position this past December, and I continue to thank my lucky stars and Jesus for giving me this opportunity. As Vp Philanthropy I was in charge of planning our philanthropy week this past spring ‘Donut Let Love Hurt’ to spread DVA awareness. We raised over $2,000 during the week for the local Women’s Aid Shelter and I could not be any more proud of my sisters. IMG_1055.jpg

While I have had my low points in the chapter this past semester, I am focusing in on the people who genuinely care for Alpha Chi and stick to our values. Regardless of what organization or group I am apart of, I have learned that there will always be struggles and that it is very possible to get through them. I am excited to be recruiting in the upcoming fall semester for a third time as well as be apart of our philanthropy day, the exact day that got me to fall in love with Alpha Chi Omega.

A Service Filled Life

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

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Those who know me well know that my mom is my everything and more. Gina Bastian is more than just a mother of four children, a dedicated worker, and a kind soul that touches the lives of many. No, Gina Bastian is the person who led me to my life of serving others. From a very young age she taught me to be kind, give back, and stay humble. While over the course of my lifetime this is a struggle to always do, I’d like to think that I am doing a pretty good job. But serving others is not about self satisfaction, it is about simply putting others’ needs before your own without expecting anything in return.

I have been involved with the CMU Alternative Breaks program for over a year now, and I can honestly say it has changed my life. This past spring break in March of 20IMG_2447.jpg17 I went with eleven other CMU students to Omaha, Nebraska to serve their community in multiple ways. During our week long trip we volunteered at YES, better known as Youth Emergency Services, as well as Completely Kids. Both of these program centers allowed me to interact with direct and indirect service, which left room for reflection on both.

I have always been a big people person and love directly serving communities and the youth, which is exactly what I was able to do at Completely Kids. In the past I often struggled with indirect service, however, this trip flipped that switch off and clicked on a light that made me fall in love with this specific type of service. With YES my group and I did all indirect service, including painting their shelters, moving offices around, and helping sort the food pantries and clothes closet. Doing indirect work is sometimes difficult because I don’t always see the direct impact it is making on people’s lives, however, this trip allowed me to reflect deeply and truly see how something as simple as painting a wall can completely affect a person.

After this trip I had a revelation that I was called to a life of service, which makes sense as to why I want to teach middle schoolers who are considered at risk youth. Over the past year I have regrown my faith with Jesus and have made these connections with a life filled full of service for Him and for the greater good. I am continuing my journey with the AB program this fall as a site leader and I could not be more thrilled to be apart of such an amazing and soulful part of campus.

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LAS ASSEMBLE!

*Insert sound of 50 LAS students clapping once over their head*

This is one of the many memories I will always have from LDR 200, a once a week, two hour and fifty minute class filled with absurd amounts of snapping, reflecting, facilitating, and best of all, leadership. As if my LAS cohort couldn’t be more obnoxiously obsessed with all of each other (we all secretly love it), imagine a room filled with all of us every Wednesday night from 4pm-6:50pm. Craziness, right? Well it is definietly crazy, but absolutely wonderful all the same.

From facilitating 45 minute long workshops to strengthen all of our leadership skills to participating in reflection of one another and ourselves, this class has opened my eyes and challenged me in ways I didn’t think possible. Having a class full of 50 leaders means having a class full of 50 different opinions, 50 different personalities, and 50 big hearts at the end of each week, regardless if I didn’t noticed it at the time. We may get annoyed, angry, or pissed off at one another, but at the end of the day I can still say that I have 50 people who I could go to and cry on their shoulders.

This class taught me better patience and stronger relationship connections. This class taught me that sometime people just need a hug and thats all. This class taught me that it is okay to embarrass yourself in the front of a room for the benefit of learning something and being able to remember that moment. This class taught me to see the good in everyone, even when we really don’t want to. But most importantly, this class taught me to see myself as a leader and to not hide that or doubt that. And for all of these things, I wouldn’t trade all of it for anything (except maybe some moose-tracks ice cream).

Hey hi, I’m an Alpha Chi

I’ll be honest, I used to have a major stigma against sororities all because of over dramatic movies and ‘hazing’ articles. So when I first came to CMU and Meet the Greeks night was coming up in a few days, I wasn’t so sure about it all. My three roommates were on the edge about going through recruitment as well, but the four of us went out on a limb and signed up anyway.

That was the best sign up sheet I ever submitted.

The recruitment process was long, confusing, a tad emotional, and a lot of talking. But on the first of five days I knew where my home was going to be. Alpha Chi Omega. The girls there made me feel at home and like I was already their sister. From jumping home on bid day with two of my roommates into the arms of dozens of happy-crying sisters to getting initiated this past November, joining this sisterhood was one of the best decisions I have made here at CMU.

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Alpha Chi Omega’s philanthropy is Domestic Violence Awareness, which is something very close to my heart. We raise money and volunteer through Mt. Pleasant’s local Women’s Aid Shelter as well as Domestic Violence Awareness nationally.

And no, I do not pay for my friends. If I did, I wouldn’t be able to put a price on these powerful, real strong women. I can’t remember a happier day in my

FullSizeRenderlife than Big/Little Reveal when I got my big, Nicole Lazzara. I joined the Flam Fam and got the best family around. Alpha Chi Omega has changed me, made me a stronger woman, and introduced me to my life-long best friends and sisters. #AlphaChiUntilIDieFullSizeRender[1]

FRED Factor Group Project

FRED. It is not just a person’s name, but a way of life. In LDR 100 I was given the opportunity to showcase what being a FRED really is, whether it is a mailman going out of his way to make sure you get your mail efficiently or a stranger holding the door open for you. Being a FRED is being someone who cares about the little things, someone who smiles at everyone passing by, or someone who writes a note to someone they are grateful for. When we were assigned this project I was a little bit hesitant because there are so many different ways that people can be FREDs, so how were we going to display what being a FRED means if everyone does it in their own unique ways? Well we decided to set up a table in the Leadership Institute and ask passerbys to write down how they were going to leave their stamp on this world. By doing this we got to see people’s faces begin to glow at this question, because everyone has some sort of passion they want to use for good in this world. After asking them to write it down we told them to keep it and put it some place where they will see it everyday so that it will remind them to keep chasing their dreams. Watch the video below and you can see our video project and how people are going to make a difference and leave their stamp on this world.

The Ropes Course was High, but Our Energy was Higher

As the buses rolled up bright and early, the entire Barnes Hall lobby was filled with tired eyes, but bright and energetic souls. All the freshmen in the 2015 LAS cohort quickly found their mentors, strapped on our fanny pants, and began to awe over the weekend ahead. As we arrived to Eagle Village and went over the ground rules of the site, we dove right into some challenging leadership activities. Everyone and their mentors were assigned to a small home group with about eight or nine other mentor/mentee pairs. My group and I first headed over to an outdoor wide-scale obstacle course, and my was this hard. All twenty or so of us had to carry a little tub of plastic balls and foam cubes through each obstacle—but everyone had to be touching the tub or a rope clipped to a tub. Although this was challenging, it brought out everyone’s leadership style and helped us bond as a group so that we could be successful in the end, which we were.

As the day carried on and more activities challenged not only the way we think but how we act, the night bonfire was something I might not ever forget. Two cohorts formed one large family around this bonfire and emotions were high as many opened up about themselves. This bonding moment was something completely different and wonderful all on it’s own.

The high ropes course was Sunday morning and boy did it have me feeling some type of way. As me myself am afraid of heights, I did not think this whole “strap yourself in with a harness and climb around obstacles in the air” thing would work out. Oh how wrong I was. Once I climbed up the ladder to reach the first obstacle I felt such a surge of adrenaline and empowerment—I could actually do this. Through the support of the fellow LASers on the course with me, I felt so unbelievably great and conquered one of my biggest fears. I cannot wait until I get a little mentee of my own and am able to help guide them through the many obstacles, not only at Eagle Village, but in life.