One really awesome thing about Greek Life at The Woods is the opportunity to network and take on leadership roles. Last year I served as Director of Administration on the Executive Council for our chapter. I was in charge of keeping track of dates, roster management, and other forms. This past November I was elected Chapter President, as a sophomore! It has been a crazy ride so far and I am loving every second of it!
This past weekend I traveled with a group of my sorority sisters to Atlanta Georgia for Alpha Phi's Southern Leadership Conference. The weather tried really hard to keep us here in St. Louis, so for a few days we thought we might not make it. Atlanta experienced ice and snow storms in the middle of last week, and phenomenon they aren't all that familiar with. We checked our airline religiously to make sure our flight was still on!
Conference started Friday afternoon, and we got a chance to meet with Alpha Phi International Fraternity Staff (we're actually called a fraternity because we were founded before the sorority existed!). We met some amazing women and learned a lot about our history.
Saturday was when I really started learning about the importance of effective leadership. Each officer had break out sessions with other women from chapters across our quadrant who hold the same position. I had a lot of conversations with other Chapter Presidents about what it takes to lead not only the executive council, but the entire chapter. It was very neat to hear the different perspectives from the presidents at larger campuses and those with smaller chapter size than ours. We all helped each other by giving things our chapter had done successfully so everyone left with new ideas.
One highlight of the trip was a session that the Chapter Presidents had with Linda Boland, the current International President of Alpha Phi. She really helped us think about life beyond college and how being a sorority woman can bring all kinds of opportunity and support well beyond our four years in the chapter.
Sunday focused on a key note speaker, Dr. Lois Frankel. Dr. Frankel is a leadership consultant with an emphasis on women as leaders. One of the things she talked about that really struck me was to treat each person as if they are going to die tomorrow. I've grown up hearing the golden rule and the importance of treating people with respect, but this new spin on it really stayed with me. I'm hoping to live my life with that motto, and help others do the same.
We made the trip back to St. Louis Sunday afternoon, and we were a strange mix of excited and exhausted! We were able to learn a lot in the short time we spend in Atlanta, but I glad to get back to The Woods.
Being Greek here at William Woods has not only given me life long friends and a lot of fun activities, it has helped me realize the importance of leadership. I know that what I have learned so far will stay with me and apply to my career and other aspects of my life. Being Greek is not the only way to gain these perspectives. We have plenty of other clubs and leadership societies on campus that will teach the same types of skills. I'm thankful for the opportunities I have been presented here at The Woods.
Last week was a fun-filled week here at The Woods! The Court Warming events were great, and we also had a President's Concert and Lecture Series event and a live artist performance. It is always nice to have breaks from homework and classes. That is one of the great things about our LEAD scholarship program! It is a great way to take a break from studying and see some amazing events.
The President's Concert and Lecture Series is put on by President's Twenty, a group of students who work closely with our University President, Dr. Barnett, to bring new and exciting things to the student body. This series goes all year and consists of several main events. Last fall I briefly mentioned seeing the event by Dr. Shostack about extraterrestrial life. This time the event was a performance called Back to the Future.
Bach to the Future was a group of musicians who arrange traditional pieces, mostly by Bach, into fun and modern songs. They use modern instruments and eclectic tempos to spice up these classic masterpieces. The coolest part about it was the drummer. He not only played regular drums, but he also had a Zendrum Drumitar! It is a handheld instrument with multiple buttons that you play with your hands, but it sounds like a drum! It has all the elements of a regular drum set, including the cymbals. I have a musical background, growing up playing the piano and singing in choirs so it was really cool to listen to the new arrangements but still recognize the melodies of the original piece!
Another great LEAD event from last week was a live painting. Vensa Delevska came and did a large piece in our Cox Art Gallery with a mandolin playing in the background. It was really neat to see her creative process in action! She started with a blank canvas, and finished with a phenomenal painting. I was impressed at how she was able to focus with people coming in and out to watch!
Court Warming was really exciting because there were so many people participating and supporting our Owls! My favorite event was the pep rally leading up to the game. There were lots of great prizes raffled off, and fun silly games for people to participate in. The students who were part of the Court Warming court participated in a few goofy games and everyone had a great time!
I can't believe we've already made it to the second week of February! With so many exciting things happening on campus, time has been flying by. All of my classes are in full swing and the clubs and organizations on campus are having fun meetings and events.
This weekend I am heading to a leadership conference in Atlanta for my sorority Alpha Phi. The weather is looking like it may be a problem, however! While it is in the 40's and 50's here this weekend, Atlanta is having ice storms! I'm hoping we still get to go because I want to take advantage of the opportunity and learn a lot. William Woods encourages students to become leaders on campus and develop skills that will apply well after college. I am so grateful to have such a supportive community to help me learn everything I can in my college years!
It has been quite chilly here at The Woods! One of the things I love about this campus is that we are small, so it doesn't take long to get to class even when it's cold outside. I can get all the way across campus in less than five minutes! Everything is close and the barns are located right next to campus, so we can walk there too.
This semester seems to be picking up speed. I'm getting used to my new schedule. Last semester I lived in the Cox Science and Language building, but now I have equestrian classes over at the barn, the communications class, along side my science courses.
I am branching out and taking a class in communications called Argumentation and Debate. It has been really fascinating so far. When I heard it was part of the honor's curriculum, I didn't think about it much, but I'm surprised at how much I enjoy it! It is very different from my typical science course load, and we get to talk about current issues and figure out the most effective way to create an argument in favor of one side. All of the bickering with my sisters growing up seems to have paid off... at least a little
Other than my riding class, I'm taking Stable Management and Practical Equine Anatomy and Conditioning in the Equestrian Department. I'm looking forward to the major projects in those classes.
For Stable Management we will design our own facility, whether it be a professional training barn or just a home stable. I think it will be fun to learn about all the different types of things you have to consider. We've started discussing the stall, and I cannot believe how many questions you have to ask in order to design a great stall!
In Practical Equine Anatomy and Conditioning, the major project is to design a conditioning program for a horse (one you own or one you want to own some day). We'll look at not just the actual exercises, but how to build up to a certain conditioning level. I'm excited to see which exercises condition which muscle groups of the horse, and also to learn what kind of diet is the most appropriate depending on age, discipline, and intended use.
Court Warming is coming up at The Woods! We will have events like Minute to Win it, writing letters to soldiers, and voting on the king and queen. The theme this year is Red White and Blue at WWU. I'm most excited for the campus party at Tucker, our dining hall, where they will serve All-American food! All of the events lead up to the basketball game on Saturday. It's a lot of fun because the whole campus really gets involved!
This semester I am taking an applied riding class! As a Biology Pre-Vet student, my primary courses are in the Biology Department but here at The Woods there is an integrated Equestrian portion for Pre-Vet students. I also decided to take on an Equestrian Science Minor, just so that I can take even more equestrian classes.
Last fall my Biology coursload was rather heavy, so I did not ride. Now I am trying out Dressage with Karen Pautz. I've ridden in two other riding classes at WWU, but this is my first time in the Dressage barn. Primarily a Hunter/Jumper, it has been interesting learning about the world of Dressage. It truly is the underlying basics for Hunter/Jumper, which I had been told before but didn't quite understand until I got on last week.
Karen Pautz is phenomenal. She has explained things to me that I already "knew" how to do, but I am learning how to do them better. So far I've ridden Aurea, a very willing Chestnut mare. It has been great, even with the freezing temperatures. We are lucky to have heating in our facilities so nobody gets too cold.
On the weekends I take tech lessons, which gives me more chances to practice with the help of someone from the ground. Each applied riding class has 1-2 teaching techs. These are students who are learning how to teach. They help in class and then you can ride with them on the weekends or you can take the opportunity to free ride on your own.
This semester I have two other classes in the Equestrian Studies Department. I am taking Practical Equine Anatomy and Condition as well as Stable Management. There are a lot of different classes for all the equestrian majors. Students take classes like Facility Management, Equine Health and First Aid, Origin of Modern Riding, and Equine Evaluation. There is also Horse Management Practicum (I&II). In that class you are responsible first for 1-3 horses, and then if you take it a second time for 5-8 horses, and you learn all about what it takes to keep horses happy and healthy in a professional environment.
I am very excited to be back at the barn, working with the horses and continuing on with my Mentor-Mentee project! I hope you are all staying warm!