In February 2012, we attended the National First Year Conference in San Antonio, Texas where Blake Mycoskie spoke at the author’s luncheon about his new book “Start Something That Matters”. Inspired by his story, we decided to incorporate the book into our First Year Program at the University of Charleston, West Virginia. The book was a natural fit for our unique curriculum, where the common read is used to support the core elements of the mission of the university; productive work, enlightened living and community involvement.
During the freshman orientation, students worked together in their learning communities to decorate the letters in “Start Something That Matters” in part to begin to create a bond within their group but also to create a unique sign for their freshman photo which hangs proudly in the student union for future generations to see. Students also used the “Start Something That Matters” stencil to paint their own t-shirts.
Throughout the next two semesters, the freshman will begin to explore how they can “start something that matters” in their community or on a global scale. They will complete a service learning project in their freshman orientation class and create a documentary on how they completed the project and how the mission and core values of the university were incorporated into their experience.
Each week mentors give their freshman a quote of the week to help inspire them, much like Blake does in his book. We are also asking them to journal about their experiences, their reading and future goals. The “Start Something that Matters Teaching Guide” is a wonderful tool for guiding the mentors in classroom discussions and journal topics. At the end of the year we have a freshman “Red Carpet Event” where the winners of the best Service Learning Project and Documentary will be recognized. We plan to decorate the entire campus with a “Start Something That Matters” theme. We also plan to have a “Style Your Sole” event and the students will be participating in One Day Without Shoes.
In his book, Blake encourages young people to follow their dreams, find their passion and earn a living at the same time. This is exactly what we want to teach our students; to love what they do, explore their world and give back to their community. “Start Something That Matters” has been such a success here at the University of Charleston; we have already decided to use this book as our common read for the next two years.
By: Deborah A. Bannister, MA
If I’ve learned anything since leaving the University of Charleston for the working world, it’s this: grades are good, skills are great, but the most important thing you can learn is how to think.
I graduated from the University of Charleston summa cum laude in spring 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in communications, focused on print and broadcast journalism. About a month later, the Charleston Daily Mail brought me on as their summer intern. By the end of August, that internship turned into a job.
While at UC I took nearly every communications and journalism course offered and, during my senior year, I was editor of the student newspaper The Eagle. With the help of my professors and advisors, I developed a working knowledge of all the tools a 21st century journalist needs: audio recording, videography, video editing, digital photography, page design, news writing, even some basic web page design. I made sure to mention all that in my resume.
But, to my surprise, my editors didn’t talk much about that in my job interview. They were more interested in things I didn’t think mattered. They wanted to know what I read in my spare time and how much I knew about current events.
One day, maybe a year later, my editor Nanya and I were talking about the increasing push for student journalists to learn every digital skill coming and going. She said something I’ll never forget: anybody can learn how to shoot a video, but not everyone knows how to tell a story.
That one comment changed my whole outlook on this job. It’s all about the story.
Now, that’s not to say that my skills aren’t important. Newspapers are changing. Reporters now have to be videographers and photographers, too. We write on blogs as well as newsprint. The skills I picked up at UC have made me an asset to the Daily Mail team.
But it doesn’t matter how many tools you use, nobody’s going to be interested if the story sucks.
If you can’t think creatively, look at an issue from every angle, and pick the best way to present this information you’ve been given, nobody’s going to be impressed by your video editing skills, or the fact you produced an interactive timeline to accompany your dead-in-the-water story.
So that’s something else I picked up at UC, through my classes in English literature and political science, history and ethics. I learned how to think. I learned how to suss out what’s most important and throw out the rest. I learned to be creative and tell a story.
Technologies change. The tools we used 10 years ago look nothing like the tools we use now. In 10 more years, it’s difficult to tell what direction technology will go. So appreciate your education. Learn how to think. That’s what your future bosses will really care about.
Zack Harold is an award-winning reporter for the Charleston Daily Mail, covering health and agriculture, as well as anything else his editors ask him to do. He received his bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Charleston in 2009, where he was also named “Mass Communications Student of the Year.”
Going into college my parents told me, “college will be the best four years of your life.” Now being a senior and looking back, they really have been the best years. It is amazing to think that on the first day of school I had so far to go with my academic career and now in the last semester of college I have accomplished so much.
As a freshman it may seem nearly impossible to meet all the requirements in order to graduate, but you have to remember, you don’t have to go through it alone. One of the great things about University of Charleston is the professor-student relationships. Some people may think going to such a small university is a bad thing and that they won’t get the full college experience. This is not the case.
Because UC is a small university, students are more willing to talk to their professors and ask for help. At first it is a little intimidating to even think about asking a professor for help, but once you take that step the professor will remember that you went out of your comfort zone and will be more than willing to assist you. I had a professor during my freshman year who told the class “You can come to me for help because I know what you all are going through, and don’t forget that I was a college student one too.” I have remembered that my whole college career and every time I have asked for help the professor never hesitated.
As a senior you start to look back on what you’ve done and what all you could have done. There are some things I would have done differently but at the same time, I made my college experience mine. I can comfortably say that I am ready to enter the real world and start a new chapter of my life.
The years will go by fast so if I had one piece of advice for the incoming freshman I would say, take a moment every day to stop and let everything soak in. You are going to meet people that you will never forget so cherish the moments you have with them. College is going to be the best four years of your life. Don’t forget to make them count.
I don’t think there was a moment of hesitation once I received an email from UC School of Pharmacy Dean Michelle Easton about a summer trip to Europe. I had never been to Europe first of all and I knew that it would be an exciting adventure.
After meeting with Audrey Pitonak-Goff, Director of International Programs, she explained that I would be going to Macedonia. I became more excited but also nervous at the same time. As part of the cultural learning experience, I would be expected to learn their language and use it to communicate with my host family. Luckily I found out that another student from UC, Whitney Crum, would also be traveling with me so that eased my nervousness somewhat.
On the first night upon arriving I must admit I was very nervous about staying with complete strangers in their home. But our coordinator in Macedonia, Valentina Joshevska, was very welcoming and friendly. She introduced me to my host family and in no time I was accustomed into their house. As part of the program we would learn the Macedonian language every morning followed by sightseeing cultural tours of the capital city of Skopje in the evening. On our second week we took a bus out of the capital to the beautiful Lake Ohrid, one of the most ancient lakes in the world. Then we stopped in the city of Bitola known for its diplomatic and political past. Next we stopped in Valentina’s hometown of Kavardaci which is famous for producing the country’s finest wines. Near it lies the archeological site of Stobi which is home to the ancient city of Heruclea built between 4-6th century BC.
Besides the language, sights and sounds that I was fortunate to experience, the people and culture of Macedonia made my trip the most memorable. Though I could not communicate with my host family in the beginning, they never ceased to try to talk to me in Macedonian and give hand gestures to ask me whether I slept well, what I wanted to eat, and just to make sure that I was comfortable in their home. I felt totally welcomed and settled in by the third day. Valentina was just as hospitable and very knowledgeable in introducing us to her country. Through her we were able to meet new friends from Macedonia and other international student from France, Serbia, Estonia, Lithuania, and Croatia as well.
When I asked why they chose Macedonia to do their voluntary services, they simply smiled and replied “Why not Macedonia?” To me I think Macedonia is a perfect blend of the old and new, from the ancient ruins of Heruclea to the modernization of Skopje square. It is almost indescribable to put into words how I feel about this country. Macedonia may not be a well-known tourist destination but I am definitely glad to encounter this once in a lifetime opportunity through the University of Charleston to step out of my environment and experience different cultures.
As far back as I can remember I have always been a part of a sports team. Whether it was soccer, basketball, or tennis I was always on a team with my peers. I believe it is important when growing up to be in a group of people that share a common goal and can work together to accomplish that goal.
Out of all the sports I played, tennis has always been my favorite. The beauty of tennis is that it is an individual sport and can be a team sport as well. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to play tennis in college and form a bond with my teammates that will last a lifetime. Even though I was a transfer student from another university, the team accepted me as one of them right away.
Unfortunately like most things in life, all good things must come to an end. This is my last semester of college and my eligibility for tennis is all used up, but my relationship and involvement with the team is far from over. Even though I am not participating as a competitive member of the roster, I am still able to interact with the team as if I was.
The new members of the team have come and experienced what being a part of a college team is all about. I hope to be a mentor for the new freshman and give them advice and support in any way I can. On and off the court the men’s tennis team at UC acts and lives by a motto, “Put the team before yourself,” meaning to always consider others before yourself.
My name is Kerry Ann Richie Wilkinson I was a very active member of the student government association, student board activities, students in free enterprise, black student association, and I was also a resident assistant.
My first transition from the University of Charleston into the work place was my internship at The World Bank. This was an amazing experience for me because I was pursuing my degree is a bachelor in business administration and marketing. I have always read and do studies about international business including The World Bank and International Monetary Fund. U.C. Prepared me for this as I was equipped with knowledge and understating of how The World Bank operates.
After completing my studies at U.C. I worked as bank teller at prominent financial institution in West Virginia. I have worked in the financial industry on and off all my life but once I completed my studies at U.C. I was equipped with a much deeper and larger knowledge base to pull from in my job.
I am currently employed as a customer coordinator and sales support representative at a prominate wireless phone provider where I have a lot of interaction with customers. My training at U.C. and all of the extracurricular activities I was involved in has readied me for this task.
The transition to the workforce was what I expected coming from another culture U.C. helped me with my transition to the U.S. workforce. My advice to seniors preparing for the transition to the work force is come in with an open mind and be ready to go above and beyond the minimum requirements of the job. Find a field of employment they enjoy.
UC alumni, family and friends join us for Homecoming and family weekend to cheer on our Golden Eagles and help us celebrate our 125th year reunion.
Below is a list of homecoming and family weekend events, we can’t wait to see you out celebrating!
Friday October 5th
|4-8 pm||Cookout ($7 per person)||Riverbank|
|5:30 pm||King Adams Reception||Appalachian Room|
|6 pm||Parade and SGA Pep Rally||GSU circle|
|6:30 pm||Hall of Fame Inductions/Dinner||Ballroom|
|7 pm||Volleyball game vs. Ohio Valley||Eddie King Gym|
|8 pm||Golden Eagle Bonfire||Riverbank|
|8pm||Powder Puff Football||Riverbank|
Saturday October 6th
|11 am- 2 pm||Tailgate, DJ, Inflatable’s, and other activities||UC Stadium|
|2 pm||Kick-off vs. Seton Hill||UC Stadium|
|7 pm||Riverboat Tour ($10 per person)||On the River|
|7 pm||Happy Hour of Alumni and Friends||TBA|
|9 pm||Young Alumni After-Party||Sound Factory|
And don’t forget the University of Charleston is hosting Maroon and Gold day on Saturday High school students can tour campus; learn about academic programs, financial aid, internship opportunities and more!
For details, and to sign up online, visit: www.ucwv.edu/MGDay