Perhaps a little backstory would be helpful. Every sorority and fraternity on campus has an organization (or "philanthropy") that they support, and each sorority and fraternity gets one week out of the school year dedicated to raising money and awareness for their cause. This week was Lyrefest, the philanthropy week for Alpha Chi Omega!! We held several fun events this week to rally support for our organization, CARDV (Coalition Against Rape and Domestic Violence).
Tuesday night the other sororities and fraternities at WWU and Westminster College played Capture The Flag in the gym! First the girls competed, and then the guys. I have to say, some of the fraternity guys got a little intense at times! My sisters and I had a blast cheering on all the players. One of WWU's very own fraternities, Phi Gamma Delta (affectionately known as "Fiji") came home with first place for the guys, and WWU's Chi Omega chapter won first for the girls!
Wednesday night was my favorite event: serenades! For this event, each participating sorority and fraternity picked a couple well-known songs and changed some of the lyrics to make them specifically about Alpha Chi Omega and/or the fight against domestic violence. Every year, they ways to work the seniors' names into the songs, which is always fun! After attending serenades for four years, it was pretty crazy to finally get to sit in the front row and hear people throw my name out! We basically got to sit in our basement and be serenaded for several hours... It was a great time! Fiji won first again for the guys, and this time Alpha Phi took home first for the girls!
Thursday we held the final event: Lyre Lord and Lyre Lady. Each sorority and fraternity picks one or two people to represent them in this event, which is kind of similar to a pageant. The contestants answer questions about domestic violence statistics and show off one of their unique talents. Sometimes people sing, juggle, dance, recite poetry... The talents people possess are practically endless! This year, Chasah from Delta Gamma was crowned Lyre Lady for interpreting a song into American Sign Language as it played over the loudspeakers. Keegan from Kappa Alpha at Westminster was crowned Lyre Lord for his robotic dance moves.
Everyone at Alpha Chi counts down to this week for a really long time, and it always goes by way too quickly! While ours only comes once a year, there are enough sororities and fraternities at WWU and Westminster that we usually don't have to wait very long for the next group's philanthropy week to come around, and then we get to return the favor by participating in all of their events! Philanthropy weeks are a wonderful way to get out of your comfort zone and try new things while hanging out with a bunch of wonderful people. They are definitely going to be one of the things I miss the most about my experience here at WWU!
We've all heard Dorothy's famous line from The Wizard of Oz, "there's no place like home." For me, that single line could easily be identified as the single biggest reason I was so nervous about going to college - I was afraid that I be incredibly homesick because, no matter how much I thought I liked the school I picked, it would never feel the same as home. Now, four years later, I realize that I was wrong.
My favorite thing about William Woods is the family feel of the school, hands down. Thanks to the smaller size of the school, the faculty, staff, and students all have a chance to get to know each other on a much closer basis than we would have at a large school. Here, the teachers know if you miss class... and they will ask the students who do make it if they know why you're not there! True, part of the reason they ask is so they can know whether or not the absense should be excused, but they also genuinely want to be sure that the absent student is okay.
Everyone always comments on how close they are to their teachers here at William Woods, but I think the rest of the faculty and staff deserve special mention, too. Literally everyone who works on this campus recognizes you. There are two ladies that work in Tucker dining hall who always come see the plays on campus, so every time I come into Tucker they ask me for an update on rehearsals. I'm on a friendly, first-name basis with many of the people who work in the Office of Student Life, too. I actually went to lunch this last week with Debbie Schick, the lady in charge of coordinating and overseeing the LEAD program. There are professors I have not had a class with since my freshman year, but who still remember my name and stop to say hi when we pass each other on the sidewalk. I don't think I could ever fully express how much I love the environment here at The Woods!
While it is true that no university will ever feel the same as the home you grew up in, I strongly believe that the college you choose can feel like home, too. My teachers, my classmates, my bosses on campus, the theatre department, and my sorority sisters, and all my other friends on campus have all banded together to create a home away from home that I know I will miss terribly after I graduate. Dorothy may have been right, but she forgot to include another important element. There is no place like home (away from home)!
Hey again! This is the time of year when applications go out for all the campus jobs, so I thought I'd take this time to talk about some of the many student employement opportunities we have here at The Woods! I know the "poor college student" stereotype is overwhelmingly prevelant, but there ARE ways to combat it so you have ways to fund your various activities during college! While some students do have jobs off campus, there are many jobs available to students right here on campus. These campus jobs will be the focus of my blog today.
"Work Study" is probably the most common job for students on campus. Work study is needs-based and takes a variety of forms. Every year, students fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This form synthesizes all the info about your family's income and assets and determines how much "federal student aid" your family qualifies for, which in turn regulates how many hours per week you can work and how much money you can earn during every semester. These work study jobs come in many different shapes and sizes. Sometimes, students choose to work as assistants in the department of their majors (such as the ASL/Interpreting dept or the Theatre dept, for example). Other times, students choose to work in independent departments, such as the campus library or in the Fulton community daycare that is housed on campus. The position of Community Advisor (CA) is also a work study position. There is a CA on every floor of every residence hall on campus. CAs basically act as the go-to person for everyone on their floor. For example, if their residents need a lightbulb replaced, the CAs will contact maintenance for them, or if two roommates are having difficulties, the CAs will help them find a solution. CAs also host a social event for their hall every couple weeks. It can seem like a lot of work sometimes, but I know many students who have been CAs for several years and have absolutely loved it!
There are several other jobs on campus that aren't part of work study. These jobs are available to all students, including students who come from higher-income families that may not qualify for government aid. The first one of these jobs I want to talk about is University Ambassador (UA). I touched on this in my post two weeks ago. UAs are the students that host you, the prospective student, and your families when you come to visit William Woods! We give you tours, we host you for lunch in Tucker, and sometimes we host you when you stay overnight on campus! Lindsey Cornelius, Joanie Ryan, and I are also blogging this year as part of our UA job. I have been a UA for two years now, and I have loved every minute of it. I love meeting new students and talking about my favorite university. If you like meeting new people, this could be a great job for you!
Phonathon and Telecounseling are the next two jobs I want to discuss. If you don't mind talking on the phone, these jobs would be right up your ally! Phonathon involves current students calling William Woods University alumni to see if they would be interested in/are able to donate money to William Woods. We're proud to say that William Woods is one of the few universities that is entirely debt-free, and part of the way we maintain that is through the donations of people who have had first-hand experience with how great WWU is! Telecounseling, on the other hand, involves calling students who are still in high school that have expressed some interest in William Woods. Students who work this job call high school students to invite them to campus visit days, remind them of application deadlines, etc. New students are the life-blood of every university, so the importance of encouraging interest in WWU cannot be underestimated!
Finally, I want to talk about my two favorite jobs ever: Freshman Advantage Mentor and Peer Mentor! Freshman Advantage (FA) is a three-week summer program in June that is open to any and all students who have just graduated high school and are planning on attending WWU that August. During these three weeks, the freshmen have the opportunity to take a couple common studies courses to get those out of the way, familiarize themselves with campus, and meet several other freshmen as well as some upperclassmen, which is where the job opportunity comes in. Every year, WWU hires
several upperclassmen to work as mentors during this program. In addition to being available to tutor the freshmen in any given subject, the mentors are in charge of organizing and conducting a different social event every single night as well as the weekends. I absolutely LOVED working as an FA mentor last summer. I also really enjoyed working as a Peer Mentor the year before. Peer Mentors serve basically the same purpose as FA Mentors, but on a slightly smaller scale. Every incoming freshmen is required to take a class called "connections," which essentially serves as an "intro to college" course. If you attend FA, you take connections then. If you don't, you'll take connections during your very first fall semester on campus. Peer Mentors are upperclassmen who sit in on connections during the fall semester and are there to offer a student perspective on anything the teachers discuss in class. I love getting to act as a role model for others, so working as a mentor was one of the best experiences of my life!
I guess the moral of the story is simple: you don't have to be a poor college student! Obviously, there are many different opportunities to work on campus. The types of jobs available are as varied as the students that attend this university. No matter what your interests are, you will be able to find something that is right for you!