The Right to Success Program

The Right To Success program took place on MLK Day (1/21). Our program focused on bringing marginalized students from the Grand Rapids area to the University of Michigan for a college visit. Our goal was to inspire and motivate students to pursue higher education and look into applying to U of M.

Students received informationals from the office of admissions and the office of financial aid and were able to see firsthand how attainable being accepted and paying for college can be. This was the first college visit many students had attended and we received very positive feedback from the participants and their chaperones. We look forward to hearing back from students in the coming months as they apply to colleges!

By: Alfredo Delarosa

Gym Buddy System

Our group decided to create a peer coach pilot program to facilitate greater awareness and uptake of physical activity resources on campus. This program will pair a student that regularly uses campus fitness resources and a student who does not use these resources but is interested. The students in our respective communities (East Quad, School of Public Health, and BLI) will be sent adverts describing the program as well as a survey to indicate their interest in being paired with a “gym buddy.” We also partnered with MHealthy and help promote their Active U program through his pilot.

 

We ran into a huge challenge while designing this program. Initially we were all enthusiastic about our goal to tackle mental health on the college campus, however, I think none of us foresaw the challenges we would face in coming up with a program we all felt good about. We struggled for a long time trying to compromise between our ideas and figure out something that could be completed in 6 weeks. At times we did not agree on what we each thought could be achieved in that time span based on our individual schedules. Although we did not expect to encounter this obstacle of indecisiveness, we struggled with it for some time and realized we needed guidance so we reached out to our peer facilitator, Ms. Fatema Haque, and with an outside’s perspective we were able to swiftly narrow down our options until we could all agree on a goal. Another challenge we did not expect but ended up learning from was when we reached out to stakeholders with the interest of collaboration. Some of our stakeholders did not respond and some responded with a redirection to another stakeholder. As a result, it took an extended amount of time for us to gather the information we needed from our stakeholders in order to complete our project. We learned it is important to take charge and show up in person if needed in order to speed these things up.

As for our project, our team paired each individual and facilitate one introductory meeting and 1 to 2 “fitness outings: in the next 2.5 weeks. In the end, we collected data respondents, 93% were females and 72% were students. Furthermore, 76% of people were looking to explore new ways to exercise. We ended up having many of the pairs contact their gym buddy and all of them thought they would have benefitted from the program from the start. In addition, there were two pairs that are still exercising with one another today! In the future, we hope to incorporate something like this into the New Student Programs to inform incoming students on the wide array of possibilities pertaining to physical exercise that are available on campus.

 

We all learned a lot not only about leadership through this BLI experience, but also things within ourselves, our capabilities, and how we want to contribute to social change individually. It was a rewarding experience and if we had more time, we definitely could see something amazing resulting out of our project. Good luck to all those who take ALA 171 in the future!

By:Jonathan Chuang, Khadeejah Khan, Vivian Obia, Jessica Y. Wang

Food for Thought: Snacks for Leadership Lab!

Hey guys!

My name is Justine Burt, and I am a Peer Facilitator from the 1st semester of the 2018/2019 school year.
I wanted to thank the BLI for offering funding to our project so that we could afford to get food for the lab. It really made a difference to the students and added a burst of energy when you got a snack during class. I talked to many of the students, and they said they always looked forward to seeing what the snack of the day was. They also liked trying new things and having snacks that they had not had since they were kids. We tried to keep the food choices fun and comforting while also throwing in some new things that people had probably never had. Thanks again for this opportunity and I hope we will be able to use grants for BLI lab food again!

By Justine Burt

 

A Holiday Helping Hand! Care Packages for the Homeless.

As part of the BLI leadership lab, our group made care packages for the homeless!

These care packages not only included items like socks and gloves that are extremely needed this time of year a local shelters, but we also added a personal and festive component to each care package. We created holiday notes and added candy canes to the packages as a way of creating more depth to our donations.

We hope that this will help those in need this holiday season! Here are pictures of the packages during when we were putting them together! We were able to have other UM students help us and talk to them about our project, our impact and the things we’ve learned while at the BLI which was extremely fulfilling and fun!

By: Jianella Macalino

Blockchain Networking Event

Our event was a blockchain networking event that started in ALA170 and succeeded because of the usage of BLI Habits such as “Collect, Combine, Create”, “Start Small”, and “Expect Challenges” throughout the length of the course. This allowed us to choose our topic, figure out the venue/catering logistics, create a timeline, write a grant proposal, implement our advertising approach, then facilitate our event.

Although we had several major setbacks, such as a typhoon delaying our grant proposal submission and our stakeholders not showing up, we managed to overcome these challenges and implement our Plan B to hold our event and receive surprising attendee turnout. Moving forward, we will not continue with this topic/specific type of event facilitation, as we all individually plan to pursue our own goals within BLI, but we hope to stay connected through the robust BLI network.

Overall, the members of Group 6 thought it was a challenging and rewarding experience, as none of us really had experience planning events before, and would like to thank everyone involved, especially our Peer Facilitator Jaylene and the BLI Funding Committee for accommodating our setbacks and giving us a small project grant to cater Jerusalem Garden for our event!

By: Luke Wong

Building a Team: Canvas Well-Being Project

When I was younger, my mom used to warn my grade school teacher that I didn’t work well with others. I was a bossy seven year-old, and I’m sure there are people out there that would call me a bossy twenty year-old. I still don’t like group projects because they often come with vague instructions, expectations of a cohesive group, and the uncertainty of relying on people who are strangers to you. In college, the stress is worsened by trying to coordinate the chaotic schedules of group members. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I registered for ALA170– I definitely didn’t know it would be focused on a group project. On the first day of class, I made my priority habit to be “Build a Team” because I knew it would be a challenge for me.

It didn’t start off great. Whereas most groups left their first class with someone semblance of an idea, we left with nothing. Not even a date and time for when we would meet next. I was skeptical about how a group, comprised of four aspiring-leaders, would be able to interact in a productive way. We all had ideas and passions, which overlapped in general themes but not in the specifics that we need to develop a project idea. The night before the next day of class, we held another round of brainstorming and ended up with what would be our Plan A.

Luckily for us, Plan A was the plan we would end up executing. Spoiler Alert: We wouldn’t reach all of our goals and the project certainly didn’t happen without some stress and unexpected bumps. Unluckily for us, most of these bumps came the day of our project. In my mind, I was going to be able to carry fourteen dozen donuts across town. As I walked into Washtenaw Dairy and saw my order, I immediately started to panic. My other group members were in class, I had no car, and there was no way that I was going to be able to make it even a block away from the dairy. I quickly called an Uber and was rescued by a lovely driver named Janet. We filled the backseat of her car with boxes of donuts and made it to my next location with plenty of time to spare.

The next challenge was transporting the donuts over the course of the next hour to
where other supplies had to be picked up. I was still alone, waiting for my group members to join me. I went to Angell Hall, my arms stacked high with donuts, and found a spare cart in an astronomy lab. Then I made the mistake of shutting the door on my way out. I had just stolen the cart and now returning it would be a challenge. On my way to meet Noah to pick up the next round of supplies, I called a friend with access to the lab and explained my predicament. He promised to be there in an hour to help me return the cart– the problem was solved. Once we were set up at Haven Hall, everything was smooth sailing. I calmed down from my initial donut-induced panic, enjoying the time with my group as we handed out donuts in exchange for survey responses. We even got to take our picture with Reggie!

Although we didn’t reach our goal of 200 survey responses, we gained valuable feedback and I learned that no matter how much you plan, you still have to expect the unexpected. Reflecting back on the last six weeks with my group, I realize I’ve just gotten started
with the habit of “Build a Team”. It took sitting at a table for two hours with my team to learn that they are really into the Marvel movies. I also learned that with any project, your team also includes your community and stakeholders. Without my Uber driver Janet, I would have struggled to carry 14 dozen donuts from Washtenaw Dairy to Haven Hall. Without my friends in the Astronomy department, I wouldn’t have been able to borrow the cart that helped us make it to the Posting Wall in time. By engaging with Wolverine Wellness and the Central Student Government’s Mental Health Task-force, I learned that many of the resources offered to students on campus are student-driven and student-developed. And without Noah, Elva, and Leo, I don’t think I would have been able to say that I, with my horrible history with group projects, truly enjoyed working with my team.

By: Alexandra Wormley

Next Generation Ovarian Cancer Alliance – Ovary Fun Night

Next Gen is a student organization on UofM’s campus. Our mission statement is through campus involvement, Next Gen will work to raise awareness and educate people on the University of Michigan’s campus about ovarian cancer. This year we hosted our second annual Ovary Fun Night. This is an awareness gala we host each year. During the event, we teach people about ovarian cancer, have ovarian cancer survivors tell their stories, we have the GMen perform, and we have auction off items. This is a time for people to come together and learn about such an important cause. This year we were able to earn more money as well as reach more people than last year, which is our number one goal.

This year we faced less challenges than last year. It was nice to have to a foundation from last year to grow and improve from. The only challenge I can think of that we faced is before the event we did not have as many people signed up as we had hoped. However, we reached out the day of the event and told them it was not too late to register. This doubled our attendance. It taught us never to give up on recruiting people. It also showed us that our crowd might be more last minute people so we should continue to remind them of the event and tell them to come in the future.

We are very grateful to the Barger Leadership Institute and for the help they gave us. We plan to continue working hard to spread awareness about ovarian cancer throughout our time at the University and will pass the organization on to others when we leave. This event allowed us to spread awareness, which is a critical part of our mission. We are excited to see what the future holds and are hoping to partner with the BLI again.

By: Barbara Dahlmann

Our Global Africa: A Night of Food, Music, and Performances

Our Global Africa: A Night of Food, Music, and Performances November 16, 2018 7-9pm, UMMA Apse

A Collaboration between UMMA, African Students Association (ASA), Caribbean Student Association (CSA), Black Student Union (BSU), and Creatives of Color (CoC)

In conjunction with UMMA and the breaktaking exhibit, ‘Beyond Borders: Global Africa,’ ASA, CSA, BSU, and CoC shared their perspectives on how African culture, artistic expressions, and traditions are beyond borders. The exhibition explores identity, migration, and the international scope of art from Africa and the African Diaspora.

Co-host Jeremy Kwame

The event was an outstanding success! There were approximately 200 people in attendance to mingle and visit the exhibition before the performances, witness amazing performances, and enjoy delicious catering. The food must have been good because we ran out pretty quickly! Further, this event had a more diverse turnout in terms of racial and ethnic social identities than some of our previous events, which was exciting.

Pictured right: Jeremy Kwame, one of our co-hosts, introducing the next performance. Attendees viewed performances on the main floor of the Apse, as well as from the balcony.

We would like to recognize all the performers for the event:

Lindsey Sharpe: Cello

Aldo Leopoldo Pando Girard: Spoken word

Ambiance Dance Team

Dania Harris: Spoken word

AMALA Dancers

Zoe Allen: Spoken word

Kameron Johnson, Caelin Amin, Tariq Gardner, Kasan Belgrave: Band

Our team started small by meeting with Dr. Laura DeBecker, the Associate Curator of African Art at UMMA and Ms. Lisa Borgsdorf, the Manager of Public Programs at UMMA, in April of this year. They were hoping to collaborate with ASA on an interactive event surrounding the ‘Beyond Borders: Global Africa’ exhibition. From there, ASA members reached out to other student organizations part of the African Diaspora for performances to create an engaging, and educational evening of African artistic expressions. Once performances were finalized, we delegated speaking roles to our co-hosts, point person on ASA, and collaborators at UMMA. This skill of starting small contributed to a successful evening because everyone knew what their responsibilities were.

Pictured left: AMALA Dancers before their performance. The Amala Dancers’ mission is to promote self-love, pride, and unity to descendants of Africa and its Diaspora and to the greater campus community. ‘Amala’ is an Igbo word that means grace, as in grace of God. Amala also comes from the name of a dance “egwu-amala” that was popular among those that lived by the river. “Egwu-amala” can be translated as the “canoe dance” or the “mermaid-dance”.

We also utilized the BLI Habit, work to learn, during the planning process. For example, we learned that an effective way of gauging the educational impact of our event is by waiting for opportunities to present themselves. The gallery viewing, for some attendees, sparked a deeper interest in the inspiration surrounding the exhibition. A team member had the exciting opportunity to witness an attendee ask Dr. DeBecker about what led her to that position and which artist’s work in the gallery was her favorite. This interaction is an example of how running the event led to learning something that could not have been planned. Also, Creatives of Color, Caribbean Student Association, Black Student Union, and African Students Association have not collaborated on a event before, but after working together, conversations have already taken place for future collaborations.

Although the event was a success, there were some challenges along the way. During the planning process, sometimes the groupchat among the collaborating organizations was stagnant. We dealt with this challenge by personally reaching out to representatives from the other organizations, rather than asking for updates in the groupchat. This change in communication was more successful because the representatives were more responsive, and ASA members were able to start associating names with faces. During the event, one challenge was not having enough time for all performers to do a sound check. We dealt with this challenge by performing the sound check for as many performers as we could, and welcoming and encouraging the guests who arrived early to move to the cocktail tables for food and mingling.

Overall, we are very happy with the outcome of the event. It was a new event, with a substantial number of guests. We could not have done it without the tremendous amount of support from UMMA.

Pictured left: Ms. Lisa Borgsdorf, Manager of Public Programs at UMMA and Tosin Adeyemi, ASA’s point person for the event (and Kehinde Wiley in the flesh!)

Further, I’d encourage anyone interested in African Art to take HISTART 208, taught by Dr. Ray Silverman and Dr. Laura DeBecker. It was an amazing class that ended up leading to this entire event!

Unfortunately, the exhibit is no longer displayed, but more information can be found at the following link: https://umma.umich.edu/exhibitions/2018/beyond-borders-global-africa

 

Thank you again BLI for your support. We hope to collaborate again in the near future.

Sincerely,

ASA Executive Board 2018-2019

Pictured (left to right):

Kingsley Enechukwu, Ihunanya Muruako, Megan Manu, Giselle Uwera, Temitope Oyelade, Tosin Adeyemi, & Maxwell Otiato

Not pictured: Jeremy Kwame Selina Asamoah

 

 

By: Tosin Adeyemi, Treasurer, African Students Association

One. Two. Three. FUNKTION!

Family.

Culture.

Expression.

FunKtion is University of Michigan’s only all male, multicultural, urban hip hop dance team. We perform consistently throughout the year entertaining crowds and introducing people to new culture, music, and expression. Every performance starts with the same chant we’ve had since our conception in 1999. “FunKtion on three. One. Two. Three. FUNKTION.”

We don’t want to be the best dancers. We don’t want to be the most technical. We focus on development.

We stay true to the notion that anyone without experience can learn to express themselves, to build on their confidence, to show them the beauty of community.

We believe that in order to entertain the audience with our performances, we first have to entertain ourselves: by focusing on the bonds we have with each other and having fun during practices (at the cost of efficiency), we do just that. By doing so, we create a place for ourselves on campus as not just a team, but as a brotherhood, one capable of surviving grueling 6-12 hour practices.

Every fall we perform at 2XS Barnite, a dance showcase hosted by Dance2XS UMich and features crews from all over the midwest. Our performance this year was one of the best we have had yet, and can be watched at this link: https://youtu.be/f5Uh_Ki2v1I. We hope you enjoy it, and we want to thank the BLI again for helping us look so fly.

By: Sanjee Choudhuri

READY, SET, ACTION: a reflection on a/pia high school conference 2018

Ready, Set, Action.

That was the theme for this year’s Asian/Pacific Islander American High School Conference (A/PIA HSC). This year’s HSC embodied Ready, Set, Action before it even became our theme, when it was just my co-chair, Tiffany, and me FaceTiming over the summer. We already had a billboard-sized vision of what we wanted the
conference to look like—now we just needed a team to help us execute it. Little did I know how wonderful and brilliant our board would be.

I knew that Tiff and I had crafted a successful team because we chose people who believe young people have the power to change the world. Our team has spoken to over one hundred people to make this conference happen. High schools, community centers, restaurants, state senators, professors, students. A lot of students. Despite all of the time spent on the phone or in Google Drive (Google Sheets was my personal favorite), I think everyone left the conference feeling somewhat awestruck. For me, the conference wasn’t real until 8 AM on November 10, when Ready, Set, Action was displayed on almost every single body in Angell Auditorium C.

This is one of the most meaningful experiences I’ve had at the University of Michigan. It was a culmination of everything I’ve learned from being a member of the A/PIA community. We made progress with this conference. We talked about colorism, identity, our untaught history. How to be an activist in your own way, whether that’s through slam poetry or public service work. Wherever the high schoolers were in their journey, my hope was that they took something back with them. Like realize they’re having a lunch box moment and being able to name it as so. Or educate someone about the history behind the Model Minority Myth. Or feel a sense of pride when they check Asian off in the Race/Ethnicity box.

Despite our progress, I know there’s a lot of work that still needs to be done. We need to work toward making the Pacific Islander part of A/PIA more visible. We need to talk about class differences. We need to contact more rural schools so that A/PIA students don’t feel like they’re alone. That being said, I’m hopeful because our executive board is young and each generation brings new voices, even better and louder than the last. My one aspiration for A/PIA High School Conference is for it to always continue growing. I have no doubt that it will ever cease.

By: Tiffany Huynh

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