WCNU Radio

The other day, I was scrolling through Instagram, wasting time as usual, when something interesting caught my eye. On someone’s story, I saw an application for WCNU Radio’s executive board. The student radio station is a relatively new organization to our campus that was defunct for several years. Thankfully, a handful of proactive students resurrected it this semester to some great results. The organization has done a great job of re-establishing itself and becoming a vibrant part of our community, so I knew I wanted to apply.

I sent in my application and also began doing some research on the organization. A couple of things that really excited me was the weekly program that they do with Currents, Christopher Newport’s literary arts magazine. They also put on a “masquerave” which really intrigued me. Since the organization is newly reborn, there is plenty of opportunity for ingenuity and creativity. I just finished my interview for a position on e-board and loved speaking to the current and former president about our goals and vision for the organization; there was a great flow of ideas.

I’m hopeful I’ll get a position on the team, but, if not, I’m definitely going to have a great time checking out the programs and events during next year. They are very open to new shows and so it’s easy to submit an application to be featured in their weekly programming. Definitely excited to see this organization grow on our campus and I hope to be a part of it!

Off Campus Birthday

Christopher Newport may be a relatively small school, but there’s big fun to be had around town, and don’t worry, it won’t break your budget, either. My birthday is April 25, but I have a final on that day, so instead, I decided to celebrate early! My friends from home are usually the people I spend my birthday with, and they’re only about 45 minutes away from Christopher Newport, so they had no problem coming here to visit. One of my best friends’ birthdays is on April 17, so we decided that this would be a joint-birthday celebration, and let me tell you, that was a crazy fun day.

The original plan was for us to have a whole day of fun, and while that part didn’t change, the weather, unfortunately, got in the way. The plan was to go to Busch Gardens in the morning (we all have season passes, so that’s technically free), next, we would grab some lunch and head back to campus, play Dungeons and Dragons (it’s not as nerdy as it sounds – don’t knock it till you try it!), then go to Rebounderz, which is a place where they have entire rooms with trampolines on the floor and walls, and it was really cool. We were able to do everything except the Busch Gardens part, but that’s OK! We still had a blast!

Rebounderz is only about 15 minutes away from campus, and they had a deal for three hours of play for $20 per person, which is definitely a lot of fun for cheap, if you ask me! We were thinking of other things that we could do off-campus, and in the end, we decided that there were too many options to just choose one thing, so we are going to have another fun day coming up soon! Some of the highlights will include movies, bowling, ice skating and who knows what else!

There are literally so many things to do within a short radius of our campus that I think anyone can find their favorite spot. My friends and I learned that Rebounderz isn’t our thing, ha-ha. That was our first time going, and, apparently, being on a trampoline at 20 years old is a lot more taxing than when we were 10. But that’s OK! Because we stepped out of our comfort zone and still had fun laughing at each other when we got winded on a trampoline! I think we might just stick to bowling, now that I think about it, last time we went ice skating, I almost broke my ankles! If I’ve learned anything at Christopher Newport, it’s that challenging yourself is always great, but don’t break anything trying to push yourself!

Mocktails!

In my building, the RAs hosted a building-wide event which we called “Mocktails,” short for “Mock Cocktails,” where we focused on alcohol safety. We set up tables in the lobby and had information about how to safely engage with alcohol, with the attempt of giving students some guidance on how to make good decisions in the future.

We made a bunch of non-alcoholic versions of cocktails, let residents try to pour their own drink, to see if they can accurately judge how much of one drink equates to another, and they also put on a pair of “drunk goggles” and tried to do math problems! We had a bunch of different types of mocktails, including piña coladas and many more! It was a really fun event because residents got to ‘drink with their RA,’ but aside from that, we also showed them that alcohol has its fair share of negatives as well, and, when not consumed responsibly, bad things can happen.

The drunk goggles are just a normal pair of goggles, but the screen is distorted so that everything looks wacky, to simulate intoxication. I put them on for a second and definitely felt a little dizzy. We let the residents try them on and then had them try and do math problems, and let’s just say it was very entertaining.

I think events like these are incredibly important to college-age people because they get to experience the effects of bad decisions without having to actually live through it and suffer the consequences. Having this event hosted by the RAs shows that we aren’t here to police our residents and invade their lives, but instead, we are here to help them grow and make better decisions. Overall, this event was really fun, and although we know our efforts can only do so much, we hope that our event helps them be smarter, safer, and more responsible with their decision making going forward.

Connecting My Community

As an RA, one of the many aspects of my job is to create a sense of community on my hall, and as I am new, I was really excited to come in strong and have a really fun event for my residents. In ResLife, we call hall events ‘community connections,’ and the goal is to bring the hall together, strengthen bonds between the RA and their residents, as well as foster new friendships among the hall by presenting information to residents in a fun way.

For my community connection, I decided that I was going to host a “Mario Kart” tournament on my hall. In order to enter in the tournament, my residents had to show me that they were prepared for registration, meaning they have contacted their adviser and have not just one plan for registration, but at least one backup plan, too. Registration can be super stressful if you don’t have backup plans, and it’s really important for residents to know that they have more than just one option, especially as first-year students.

In addition to having a fun tournament, I also added some other incentives for attending the program. The grand prize for the tournament was $25 in Captain’s Cash, which at this point in the semester is such a great incentive because it will cover laundry for the rest of the semester and even some coffee during finals week. The tournament was really fun, I found out my residents are super competitive. We all had a blast. I made up a bracket, and we all celebrated for the winner. I also had Chick-fil-A cater the event, so even though all my residents weren’t able to win the money, they definitely ate their fair share of chicken nuggets.

Being an RA is awesome. I get to hang out with so many different types of people, and I get to have an impact on all of their lives. Whether big or small, it makes me really happy to know that I can help other Captains navigate their college experience, and pay forward the great experience that I had with my previous RAs.

Checking Things Off, One by One

With the semester drawing to a close, one by one, my schedule clears up a little bit more. Today, I finished the last day of classes and I was able to breathe a big sigh of relief. (Only one more week of exams and then I’m a junior!) I also finished my last public performance for the semester with the Director’s Showcase. In addition, I attended my last CAB meeting and Psi Upsilon chapter for the semester. (I haven’t written my last blog yet, but that’s coming up quickly on the horizon!) It’s a tiny bit melancholy as the year wraps up, but it’s also good to get things off my plate.

Finishing the Director’s Showcase was a big one, I had spent so much time rehearsing this week with rehearsals scheduled from 6-10 p.m. on top of all my classes and other commitments. Though, finally I can be left to just focus on studying for my five finals. Yes, finals can definitely be stressful, but I actually like how they come and go very quickly. There’s no time to procrastinate. You take an exam about each day for five days, but then, it’s all over and you can relax as much as you like.

Pretty soon it’ll be summer and I cannot express how excited I am to just sit around my house watching “Game of Thrones” all day (there’s a lot I have to catch up on). Tonight, my friends and I are all gathered around the TV, watching the Tom Hanks classic: “Cast Away.” I’ll definitely miss moments like these over summer, but we’ll all be back soon enough. For now, there’s still a couple of things left to check off the list, so I better get to it!

A Relay for the Community

I can fully say that, after attending Relay for Life for the third year in a row, I felt the impact this year more than ever before. As the relay leadership team stood on the stage and asked for caregivers and survivors to begin their initial kickoff lap for the night, I realized how many students are affected on campus. I felt humbled with the strength and courage many of them had to take this walk. I saw friends, coworkers, sorority sisters and strangers bare their experience in front of hundreds of Christopher Newport students and the local community and be completely supported by attendees.

This event had so many incredible activities to offer. From the walk itself, to the spikeball setups, booths with free candy and beads, and dance floor. I never felt bored or unwelcome, nor did I feel that the purpose of the evening was lost at any point. Many student organizations participate and fundraise and I saw so many sororities, clubs, fraternities and organizations passing out symbolic beads, showing welcoming smiles, and supplying snacks!

I attend this event every year. I have never participated in its planning, although I love to attend and fundraise leading up to the event. Each year I am reminded of the experiences that each cancer survivor, family member or friend undergoes in their journey with cancer. I am so grateful to attend a school that supports such an incredible event on our campus.

Advisers as Friends

When I tell people I’m studying leadership they tend to scoff and somewhat underestimate the complicated facets that go into the concept. Truthfully, I’m somewhat biased because I love being a part of the President’s Leadership Program (PLP) and attending classes for my leadership minor. I’ve met so many wonderful people through the experience and have defined certain aspects of my identity along the way. However, my favorite part of the entire program happens to be my PLP coordinator.

She was the first person I met on campus last year who challenged me to think of myself with more complexity as a freshman. Even though I had just begun my journey, she told me to start thinking of ways I can impact the community around me. At first, I had no idea where to start, but she helped to organize goals for me that would be completed each year.

Service is a major part of the goals my coordinator and I set out to accomplish. I loved animals and knew I wanted to help an organization involved with that service track. She helped me find a place in the community to start volunteering with and even connected me with another student so we could drive there together. Each semester when we meet she still asks about my job there and keeps up to date with how many hours I’ve earned.

Studying abroad is also a major goal I knew I had coming to college and when I joined PLP I quickly learned this was an important element for the program too. I had earned some scholarship money from the program in order to study here in Italy. When I told my coordinator about my plans to journey abroad she was so proud of me for pushing past my comfort zone. She made the scholarship process run smoothly and helped connect me to contacts I needed. In our last meeting she even suggested her favorite gelato store in Florence!

I love talking with my coordinator because I recognize her genuine goal to see me succeed and her passion toward her work. I’m so grateful and honored to have such an amazing person in my life and feel comforted to have such a friendly face at Christopher Newport. Overall, the program has helped me grow so much as a person and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Dress Rehearsal

For the past two months or so, my Acting I class has been working diligently on scenes from the David Auburn play, “Proof.” This play is a staple of the Theater Department and you can expect to find this work in almost any entry-level, performance-based theater class here. My scene partners and I were fortunate enough to be given the act one finale scene and it’s definitely a scene with a lot going on. There’s humor, romantic tension, suspense, shock, intrigue and, of course, plenty of emotions.

The process started with our scene assignments and a quick rehearsal out of class. Afterwards, we had a scene run in class on-book (which means we had the script in front of us). After everyone finished their on-book runs, which took about two weeks, we began getting off-book. We went through another two weeks of off-book performances wherein there was no blocking, just dialogue and then moved on to off-book and blocked performance. We received some notes and continued rehearsing outside of class before today when we finally had the chance to give a fine-tuned performance that was off-book, blocked and with full costume.

We definitely have been working slowly, which is actually extremely beneficial when attempting to master the basics of the acting craft. We have received so many notes in the past few months that when we finally had our dress rehearsal, there weren’t too many our professor had for us. It’s also extremely entertaining to watch the rest of the class slowly improve and perform. Theater is such an engaging subject and I am so glad we have the opportunity to be hands-on. We have a few more things we can work on before our final scene presentation, but I am excited for how the final product will turn out!

I Designed a Shirt!

Everyone loves the comfort colors shirts that Christopher Newport Greek life knows all too well. We have them made for rush week/bid day, mixers, date functions, formal/semi-formal, retreat, philanthropy events and pretty much anything else you could think of. I have a collection of about 18 and that is more than enough … except it isn’t. I love repping Psi Upsilon throughout my day, but I never have had the chance to make a shirt on my own for my fraternity. Well, I finally got the chance a few weeks ago.

I messaged a website that works with organizations to design shirts and gave them some ideas I had. I was pretty specific, but they still exceeded my expectations. My idea was a “proud to be a brother shirt.” On the front, it has our Greek letters with “PTBAB” underneath and on the other side it has an inside joke from our fraternity on top of a graphic with  “Proud to Be a Brother.” I needed 24 brothers to buy a shirt to reach the minimum purchase amount for the order to go through and after a week or so of pitching the idea, I succeeded!

The shirt comes in this Friday and I am so excited for everyone to start wearing them around campus. In Greek life, we pass down shirts and they live on for a long time within our fraternity (for example, I have a Psi U shirt from 2014). I am happy to have contributed to our history in a tangible way that will be passed down from generation to generation for years to come.

Best Dance Crew

Here at Christopher Newport, there is no shortage of competitive spirit. It is what motivates all of us Captains to try our best every day and what drives us to achieve great things. I have seen this competitive spirit not only in the classroom and on the field, but also in various other activities as well. One of my favorite competitions on campus is the sisters of Gamma Phi Beta’s annual Best Dance Crew, where Captains prove they know how to boogie.

Best Dance Crew gives the opportunity for sororities and fraternities on campus to choreograph a dance routine and perform it in front of a large audience. Each team has to make their song mashup and outfits/props correspond to a theme of their choosing. For example, this past year the sisters of Alpha Delta Pi danced to all Beyonce songs and Alpha Phi brought in balloons to set the scene for a birthday celebration party.

Coming from someone who dances, it is really neat to see all of the well thought out choreography and routines all of the organizations create. Some are cheerful, fun routines while some are more robotic or hard rock. Having a large mix of dance styles really makes the event all that more entertaining to see what each group has to offer.

One of the greatest parts about Best Dance Crew is that the purpose of the competition is not only to see which sorority or fraternity dances the best, but to see which team can raise the most amount of money by the end of the night. The week prior to Best Dance Crew, all competing teams campaign to see who can receive the most donations. All of the donations and the ticket sales profits go to Gamma Phi Beta’s philanthropy, Girls on the Run and the Gamma Phi Beta Foundation. Girls on the Run is a great organization to teach young girls how to embrace confidence and inspire them to live a joyful, healthy life. I love seeing all my fellow Captains battle it out at Best Dance Crew each year to see who can raise the most amount of money for a wonderful organization.