While wrapping up the Fall 2017 semester, I was granted the opportunity to become the President of the Saluki Environmental Educators (SEE). My time in SEE was brief prior to my nomination, but I didn’t require much time to realize that SEE was the organization where I wanted to focus my efforts. From the first meeting I knew that SEE’s mission resonated with my passions as an aspiring educator and nature enthusiast, and I recognized the potential for opportunities in which I could grow my leadership skills.
The Saluki Environmental Educators is a professional development Registered Student Organization (RSO) that seeks to promote environmental education, interpretation, public involvement, and volunteerism by partnering with community groups throughout Southern Illinois. We are a small but passionate crew of community-minded individuals with a myriad of interests and areas of study.
At the end of last school year, Dr. Spector announced she would be retiring after a successful career of changing the lives of countless Engineering students. One of the most memorable ways she helped her students succeed was her Pancake Breakfasts before each exam. The Sunday before an exam she would invite the whole class to come to the Necker’s study area to study the exam while she made us pancakes. I always appreciated her doing this and was amazed by her ability to run the entire process of taking orders, making pancakes, and answering questions at the same time. Dr. Spector inspired me to continue this practice for finals week.
During the Martin Luther King Day project, I had the opportunity to work with a great team of both LDP members and another student to build a display, known as the Rokenbok case. This project used a series of interlocking cubes, Rokenbok, to construct a display for children visiting the Science Center to enjoy. The materials used were donated to the Science Center by a patron, who had saved them from being thrown out of a larger project that had no use for them anymore. Therefore, we were tasked with taking trash and turning it into treasure. Being new to these toys, I was unsure of how the project would go, but my team ended up having an exhausting, yet rewarding day.
Starting at 6:00 A.M., my team quickly realized our task would be much more difficult than expected; for the case that would hold the display was larger than we had thought and the parts we had were fragile and limited in number. Continue reading
For the first time we decided to have a “Team Weekend” before spring classes. The idea was to give the students an amazing way to kick off the semester, full of energy and motivation. But the experience was more than that, it was a weekend full of connections, purpose and dreams.
It was a time to reflect on all the past members who put effort to making the program what it is; reflect upon the effort we should put forth to make the program even better. Think about the amazing opportunity we have inside the program to not just develop leaders, but be part of something bigger: someone’s life. Each decision you make today is going to impact someone’s life, and that is priceless. Continue reading
Let me give you a comparison of first-year Olivia to second-year Olivia. Last year, whenever I woke up at 5am for the Tuesday morning workout, I would be exhausted and think “Ugh, why am I in LDP? It doesn’t let me get any sleep, it messes up my schedule, I don’t even have class until 9:30, etc…” This year, I woke up equally exhausted one morning, and my first thought was, “Ugh, why did I stay up so late and do this to myself?” That moment, I realized “WOW, I just took accountability for being tired instead of blaming LDP.”
The LDP Christmas Party is a time to reflect upon and celebrate the year’s accomplishments within our organization. As members of this RSO we pledge to challenge our colleagues to push beyond their limits, and every one of our members has done just that this semester. I was lucky to have the opportunity to organize the party this year, and I was happy to have a chance to reward my teammates for their hard work. The party plans included 17th Street BBQ for dinner, cake for dessert, white elephant gift game, an ugly Christmas sweater contest, and a surprise visit from “Santa” D.
After the Homecoming blood drive for on October 5th, I went to the student center and spoke to Jennifer Freeze from the American Red Cross. She said, all the three centers where they were conducting the blood drive (Student Center, Lenz Hall and Grinnell Hall) were filled with donors. I felt really happy hearing this from Jennifer because the blood which was collected on that day will save a lot of people who are fighting for their lives. I waited almost a month to find out that the Red Cross had collected 180 pints of blood, which is an awesome news and I was really happy.
On November 5, many members of the LDP spent time at the SIU Touch of Nature Environmental Center to help maintain trails throughout the park. Along with our team, members of the Robotics Team joined to show their support for the community. In all, 12 people alongside the help of the kind employees at Touch of Nature were present for the service project. With a great team effort, we were able to fix a great length of the trails. Not only that, but because of the wonderful staff we were able to work with, we learned about the history of Touch of Nature, the ecology of the area, and its importance. After our 4-hour shift, we were treated to a delicious chili dinner, which brought a great close to the LDP Service Weekend. As the leader of trail building, I cannot express how grateful I am to have such a capable and willing team.