Ta, Ta For Now

As I got into my car today and drove to the Alumni House, I realized that today is not only the day I write my last blog, but it is also my last day as an intern for WIU Alumni Programs. As I sit here and think about all that this internship, the Alumni Programs staff, and the university itself have done for me, I am not really sure where to begin this ending, but I am definitely going to give it a try.

The most exciting and rewarding part of this experience has been meeting many wonderful people here at WIU. Every week, I was able to meet with at least three different individuals from different events, organizations, and departments on campus. However, they all shared something in common: a passion for WIU.  Not only did I learn more about WIU, but I also learned what it has to offer, the accomplishments the university has achieved over the years, and what WIU does for me as an enrolled student. But most of all, I simply learned about the many joys each individual I interviewed has for WIU and the passion they each share to promote the university. I have not only taken professional and career knowledge from this internship, but I have learned many life lessons, as well, that will help me in my future endeavors.

Now, I can’t go through this last blog without mentioning Amanda. Amanda Shoemaker, the associate alumni director, has been my supervisor throughout this entire semester and she is the one who has edited every single one of my blogs prior to posting. Without her, my writing would not be as proficient as it was when you checked out this alumni blog multiple times each week. Amanda taught me how to be professional in the business world. For example, she shared tips on how to conduct a good interview. She also showed me how to present my work verbally to an audience when I spoke to Tech Fest attendees a few weeks ago. (Tech Fest is an annual campus event where people who work with technology show how technology connects the University and the community.) Overall, Amanda has been a great inspiration and has shown me what it takes to become a successful businesswoman. For that, I thank you, Amanda.

Thanks to this internship, I secured a student job in University Relations starting in the fall. My career goal is to become a member of a public relations team within a somewhat local company and what better place to start than right here at WIU. This opportunity came about when I interviewed Terri Hare, WIU’s scholarship director. She works closely with Darcie Shinberger, the assistant vice president of advancement and public services. Darcie is also the one who oversees University Relations. When I mentioned to Terri that I would love to speak to Darcie, she was able to introduce me to her, and that introduction led to an interview. By the end of the interview, Darcie offered me a student position in her office. It was like a dream come true.

Of course, I will miss the little things when it comes to being an intern for Alumni Programs. Whether it was taking a break from work and chatting with the Alumni Programs staff or grabbing one of the yummy cookies that were often available in the kitchen, I will miss it all. I will definitely miss getting a nice “hello” from Bev when I walk through the door every day. She always put a smile on my face.

Even though this is just a stepping-stone towards my career goal, it is definitely a big one. Without this internship, I would not have made the connections I did, and I would not have been able to experience what it is like to have a job in the real world. I have learned so much throughout this semester that I will use not only to finish my college career, but also when I land that big job after college.  I also have to give a huge shout out to my family and friends that have supported me through out this entire experience by reading my blog and sharing it with everyone they know. I am truly blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful people.

To all of my readers, thank you for all your support and comments each week. It was nice to know that I wrote about subjects that people care about. I always wrote each blog with the readers’ interest in the back of my mind and I see that it has paid off. Without you and your feedback, I would not be able to better myself as a writer.

So, for the last time, thank you all for reading my WIU blogs. And remember, Think Purple, Think Alumni, Think Western. Go Necks!

Grab Your Suitcases–Next Stop…Home.

With less than one week to go, it is just about time to soak up the sun and relax over summer break. But not so fast residence hall students! Before they leave for the summer, there are some rules to be followed to make move-out day a lot easier.

AJ Lutz is the director of Residential Administration and he describes spring move-out as a “steady trickle” compared to move-in day in the fall when students all come in at once. “Students can leave any time after they have completed their finals,” Lutz explained. He said te he residence hall staff does a great job when it comes to moving students out and making sure the buildings are closed and ready for summer operations. 

Lutz’s job, however, is all the behind the scenes work, work no one typically sees. After organizing move-out and all the students are back at home, he has to deal with damage charges, meal plan refunds, and leftover paperwork. This all happens the week after the residence halls close.

Caitlin Broida lives in Corbin Hall and she is preparing to empty her room fully before heading home.  Before she can move out, she must sign up for a checkout time with her RA so her room can be inspected. Students are supplied with garbage bags for trash, but are not allowed to throw large items down the garbage shoot. Broida said the best thing to do when it comes to moving out is rent a cart from downstairs. This helps students move large amounts of items in fewer trips down the floors. Most of all, Broida and other students just want to get their stuff together, head home, and spend time with their families for the summer. “I can’t wait to be home for three months,” she said.

For some students, this is their last year living in the residence halls. Lutz explained each WIU residence hall provides students with resources to help them with their academic endeavors. “We love to see students work hard until they walk across the stage at graduation and we want to support them in doing so,” said Lutz. It is also a great experience to live in the residence halls because students make life-long friends after living so close to others during their time in the halls.

Lutz wants all students to be able to look back at their college experience and say, “I loved my time at WIU.”  What about you? Did you live on campus? What was move out time like for you? I’m sure everyone has a different story to tell, so start sharing.

 

 

It’s The Final Countdown

The always-dreaded week of finals is upon us. Students have been working their brains to no end in the library during this past week, a week that many students refer to as “dead week.” We all hope to do well on our finals and leave this semester on a high note. And it all begins come Monday!

The University releases the final exam schedule at the beginning of every school year. Final times are determined by when classes have been scheduled during the semester. For me, I have finals on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday of next week.

As we prepare, we find the library to be like a student’s home during finals week. Students spend hours upon hours in the library making sure they are prepared for their final exams. The library’s hours actually extend during finals week. Students often bring in their own snacks to munch on while they study until the wee hours of the morning. Oh and they can’t forget their coffee to help them stay awake!

While walking out of class yesterday, I ran into my friend Jansen Baker. He was heading to the library, in a large pack of other students heading in the same direction. “I only have about an hour and a half left of work to do,” Baker said. After he talked to me, it motivated me to head home, grab my study materials and spend about two hours in the library as well.

Another friend of mine, Megan Bowman, took seven classes this semester, a class load completely beyond the normal course load for a student. In turn, she has been studying for seven different finals this semester. “My attention span begins to get shorter and shorter as this week goes on while I am studying, but I still tread on,” Bowman said.

As for me, all of my professors are very helpful and motivating when it comes to studying for my exams. They have offered to meet with me if I ever have any questions regarding my exams. It is a great feeling to know the instructors truly care about our success.

After I leave the Alumni House today, I will be heading to the library for at least another good hour of studying before next week rolls around. I am sure all of you remember studying for your finals as well. The week drags on and on, but studying is essential to getting a great overall grade in each class. Wish us luck on our finals next week! It’s going to be a busy one.

 

Corbinstock Finishes the Semester Out with a Bang

It is the most wonderful time of the year! No, I am not talking about Christmas; I am excited about summer break. But first students have to complete their finals and pack up to head home for the summer. Where has the year gone? To celebrate the end of the academic year, the Corbin and Olson Hall Government is putting on the 5th annual Corbinstock festival tomorrow, May 2nd.

All the fun will take place outside of Corbin Hall in the faculty lot. If it rains, the event will be moved into the Corbin and Olson Dining Center. The festival starts at 4 p.m. and goes until 7 p.m. with many activities to keep students entertained. Various bands will take the stage throughout the night including Casual Ties, Transatlantics, and Nugget. The winner of Western’s Got Talent contest held during Siblings’ Weekend will also perform at Corbinstock.

Activities such as a photo booth and smaller games such as Bags will keep the participants busy. Between each band, student-led events will also be available along with delicious snacks. Corbinstock is an outlet for students to relax before they have to jump into finals next week. It also gives a stage to many local performers who want to share their music. The festival is meant to give students the big boost needed to finish the semester strong.

Adam Broudy is the adviser of Corbin and Olson Hall Government. He has assisted the members as they plan this event. “I enjoy the excitement and dedication of the students I am advising,” Broudy said. “They are excited to put on this event and have worked hard to make sure everything runs smoothly.” Broudy said he cannot wait to see all of their hard work pay off come Thursday.

While the planning is geared for students, alumni can stop by as well. What about you? Were any of you a part of Corbinstock in your years here at WIU? I would love to hear all about it. This kind of event will more than likely be carried out for many more years to come. It keeps the students energized and gives them a little splash of fun before the big finals week. I bet you alumni can all remember how much stress finals can be. So we are going to have fun while we still have time!

Captain Career to the Rescue!

ImageAs this school year comes to a close, seniors are graduating and moving on to the next chapter in their lives…the work world. It takes some planning and thinking ahead to land a good job after graduation.  Students must draft resumes, go on a number of interviews and be able to fit the criteria for the job they are trying to get. They must also know where to find jobs best suitable for the degree they receive from WIU.  Well, there is a new character on campus has come to the students’ rescue…Captain Career!

Dressed in a purple and black super hero costume, complete with a long black cape, is Captain Career. She has become the new mascot for WIU’s Office of Career Services. The captain can be found at Career Fairs, Career Service events, or just walking around campus. If you spot her, she will most likely give you some information about Career Services and tell students how she can help them find a career after college.

Captain Career made her first appearance at a WIU Career Fair last October. She and Career Services staff members have worked together to come up with a creative way to make students more interested in their future and to make them more aware of the different opportunities around them. When I stepped into the captain’s office, she told me, “I am rescuing students from unemployment.”

While sitting in the captain’s office, I realized how much work she has put into making sure students are leaving WIU in a good direction. The captain expressed how fun it is to meet new students, hear about their goals, and help them achieve those goals. She said she also enjoys seeing the outcome of all the work Career Services puts into different students’ futures.

This new character on campus is all about helping students. The captain along with Career Services staff can help with anything a student needs when it comes to finding and securing a rewarding career. They can help students through interview processes, improve their resumes, and assist in their search for the right career path. All you need to do is find the captain around WIU, and she will come to your rescue.

Even though the captain is unable to reveal her real identity, she did have a message for WIU alumni. “Thank you for giving back to our university and making programs like Career Services possible.” She also wanted to remind alumni it is never to late to use what you learned from Career Services in your lives today. And if you need a refresher or want assistance from the Office of Career Services, you can find them online at http://www.wiu.edu/student_services/careers/. Remember, Once a Leatherneck, Always a Leatherneck!

Run, Jump, Throw, and Hurdle Towards WIU Track and Field

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As the school year comes to a close and students start cramming for spring semester finals, athletes are still working hard to finish out their seasons strong. The WIU Track team is staying focused and committed to working hard and ending their season with big successes.

The WIU Track team completed their indoor season in the middle of February at the Summit League Indoor Championships. The team was very successful bringing home three Summit League Champions. Jamario Taylor took the men’s high jump, Dana Larue took the women’s shot put and weight throw, and Nathaniel Marshall took the men’s weight throw. On top of that, the team received seven All-Summit League honors, including Jamario Taylor, Dana Larue, Nathaniel Marshall, Zach Glasebrook, Talisa Watson, Justin Kilpatrick, and Tynan Murray.

The team is now in the middle of their outdoor season. They just finished hosting the 24th annual Lee Calhoun Memorial Meet on Saturday April 13th. This is a big event for the WIU Track team because they organize the meet, one that brings in teams from all over the country. During this meet, various alumni events and fun activities are organized as well.  Megan McGlone and Dana Larue both won in their respective events and represented WIU very well on their home turf.  The men’s team took 3rd overall out of 20 teams and the women took 5th out of 15 teams.

Head Coach David Beauchem, said, “Our track team learns the importance of being ready for the big day.” Coach Beauchem explained to me that the team could do great in a regular meet, but it all comes down to how they perform at the championships. “I love seeing the success of the team during a championship conference after all of the hard work they have put in during practices and <at> other meets,” said Beauchem.

The track team heads to Des Moines, Iowa this weekend.  The next weekend they will travel to Northern Illinois to the Messersmith Invitational. The team is also preparing for the Summit League Outdoor Championships, which are scheduled for May 9th through May 11th in Muncie, Indiana. Then, they will finish out their season at the NCAA Outdoor Championships on June 5th through June 8th in Eugene, Oregon.

Coach Beauchem said the best part of being a coach is getting to spend time with the team members at the day-to-day practices. He said he also loves seeing the success of the team as a whole. And while the season is winding down, the team is already thinking about next year.  Coach Beauchem and the WIU Track team would like to invite alumni to the 25th annual Lee Calhoun Memorial meet in 2014. “This will be held next April, and we would love to see all the alumni participate in all the extra activities we have going on,” Beauchem said.

Photo Above: Jamario Taylor [WIU Visual Production Center]

Raise the Curtain for COFAC Students

The College of Fine Arts and Communication (COFAC) is busy with different concerts, shows, and events throughout the year, but especially during the month of April. Two of those upcoming events will feature the University Dance Troupe and the University Band.

The University Band Concert will be held tomorrow, April 25th in the COFAC Recital Hall from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Joanie Herbert is the COFAC Recital Hall manager. She is the one who organizes the hall’s performance schedule, sends out weekly emails detailing all the performances, and works with the stage crew.  “The University Band is a great experience for students because it gives them hands-on experience in the department of music,” said Herbert.  She also mentioned that the band is a good outlet for students who are not music majors but who want to play an instrument in an ensemble.

Laura Reynolds is a grad assistant and one of the conductors of the band. She has been a part of the University Band program for two years now; she picked the musical selections for tomorrow’s concert.  “I love the opportunity to conduct and try different things with the band,” said Reynolds. The University Band, made up of 30 members, meets twice a week and has been preparing six different pieces that will be a part of the concert.  The other conductor, Robert Palmer, is a WIU alumnus.

Tomorrow is also the opening night for the University Dance Troupe’s (UDT) Spring Gala. This semester’s performance consists of 10 student works that have been choreographed by WIU UDT students. It will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Hainline Theater, tomorrow night and the last show will be Saturday, April 27th also starting at 7:30 p.m.

Kimberly Volk is one of the students choreographing dances for this semester’s show.  Her piece is titled “Reconciliation” and features five dancers, including her. “This is my first piece that I have choreographed for UDT!” said Volk. Kimmie Nott, also a member of UDT, said “I love UDT because the style of dances are so different and everyone is involved in at least one routine.”

There is also a guest artist piece that was choreographed by Laurie Eisenhower, who is the artistic director for the Eisenhower Dance Ensemble. This is a prestigious contemporary dance company from Michigan. “This dance makes us work and I am definitely gasping for air after I get done performing it,” said Volk. This routine will be performed on the Gala’s last night Saturday, April 27th.

COFAC is keeping busy and working hard to show off all of the students’ accomplishments.  These accomplishments have a wide range of talent, whether it is coming from the music department or the theater and dance department. It is great to see so many students involved in creating entertainment for the rest of the campus to enjoy.  Furthermore, they are participating in different arts that they love. Keep up the good work COFAC students!