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Student Intern Blogs

Making Memories

Growing up, I loved scrapbooking with my mom and sister as a way of recording memories to look back on. Being a full time student with a job and internship, I can’t exactly say I have much time for that anymore. Since college is an amazing time of growth an experience, I don’t want to forget anything. So, I’ve been working on a project to consolidate these memories, and when I told my friends about it, they started following suit!

Something I’ve learned is to take pictures wherever I go. When you’re taking pictures, just make sure you don’t forget to be in the present and enjoy the experience! I’ve started printing out all my pictures and writing memories about the experience on the back. If you’re a freshman, I highly consider starting now, and if you’re a senior, you still have time to catch up! Facebook is a great tool to find your favorite shots! This is also helpful because it can give you the dates! When you’re writing down your memories, ask the friends who were there about what they remember and include as much as you can! As you finish your photo memories, put them in a photo album that you can keep for years to come!

You obviously need memories to capture, so take advantage of all the things that UConn has to offer! You don’t have to go to everything, but saying you were able to try something once creates a memory and eliminates “I wish I did…” when you’re in your 30s and missing your college years.

Spending time with your friends and building relationships is something we all know is important, but can prove to be difficult. As sad as it is, it gets even harder once you move away from college. If you’re involved in Greek Life, reach out to a brother or sister that you’re not as close with. You already know you share the same values, so building your friendship can only help you make lasting bonds (and memories)!

As scary as it is, we do have to think about “real life”, so don’t overload your social calendar. Study; you’ll thank yourself later. When your GPA is just a little bit higher than the candidate you’re competing against at the grad school interview or your outstanding work ethic lands you the job of your dreams, you’ll be happy you spent time at UConn focusing on school. Keep your opportunities for your future open so you can continue to make lasting memories!

Beat the “Final’s Blues”!

With Final’s Week around the corner, there’s no doubt that stress levels everywhere are rising. However, there are several things you can do to ease your stress!

Before you start any work, plan out your tasks by looking at your exam schedule (http://registrar.uconn.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/749/2014/10/storrs_f14.pdf). Studying for finals can be made simpler by beginning to create study guides this week, and begin reviewing your material five days before your final. Slowly chipping away chapter by chapter will give you enough time to feel comfortable with the information, but won’t overwhelm you.

When you’re studying, it’s important to not let yourself get distracted with social media. Try turning your phone to ‘do not disturb’! On your computer, you can go to websites such as “getcoldturkey.com” to block Facebook and other distracting websites. You can also download the “SelfControl” app on your phone to do the same! Deactivating certain accounts for the week might also be a great way for you to stay on track!

Here at UConn, therapy dogs are brought to various places around campus to give students a time to take a break from studying and play with some pups! This is a great way to let your mind rest and enjoy yourself for 10-15 minutes.

You should always allow yourself short study breaks to split up the material you’re reviewing.  Your brain needs time to process everything and you don’t want to overload it. Exercising is a great way to get your body relaxed and keep your mind focused!

When it gets down to an exam day, make sure you get a full night’s sleep before hand, and eat a full breakfast! A night of cramming will do more bad for you than good! And remember, you know more than you think you do, so always go with your instincts and answer the questions slowly, giving time to think out the answer.

Happy finals to all, and to all, a good grade 🙂

 

“Fall” in Love with UConn!

Sometimes living in the country can feel boring, but there are so many activities that UConn students can do in Fall!

1. Go apple picking! In our surrounding area, there are numerous apple orchards that you can visit to get your favorite fall treats!

Apple picking

2. Hot apple cider! In the UConn cafes around campus, delicious apple cider is available during the months of Fall!! You don’t want to miss this!

3. Enjoy the beauty of Horsebarn Hill! In the Fall, the trees on Horsebarn Hill are breathtaking, and the views are to die for. You should experience the beauty we have right here on campus!

4. Run outdoors! Take advantage of the last of the nice weather we have until our extra-long winter rolls in. Get some exercise and grab a friend for a run up Horsebarn Hill! (Look at that, crossing 2 things off the list at once!)

5. Pumpkin picking! With Halloween right around the corner, you’ll definitely want to visit the local pumpkin patches of the area! You can’t go through October without making a Jack-o-lantern!

Pumpkin picking

6. Pumpkin Spice! With the pumpkin season comes the pumpkin flavors! Go to either Dunkin Donuts on campus to enjoy your favorite pumpkin flavored drinks or snacks!

7. Pictures! The colors of Fall make for beautiful pictures! Grab your camera and your friends and snap some shots for your Instagram account!

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8. Play in the leaves!  Who said leaf-piles were just for kids! Channel your inner-10 year old and jump in a pile of leaves! (Perfect photo-op!)

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9. Football! Fire up the grill for a UConn football tailgate and bring your ticket to watch the game! Supporting your Huskies is a great way to celebrate the Fall season.

10 HOMECOMING! Fall at UConn is our favorite time to show support and pride for our school. Check out all the fun homecoming events at homecoming.uconn.edu and enjoy yourself! Don’t forget to cheer on the football team at the game on November 1 at Rentschler Field!

 

Hawaiian Slack-Key

Hawaii is definitely on everyone’s list of top vacation spots. In the summer of 2013 I had the opportunity to take a trip to the island of Maui. It was unlike any place I had been to before. Everywhere I looked there was a new type of beauty for me to behold. To the left, there were lush green mountains and to the right there was the clear blue Pacific Ocean with the profiles of other Hawaiian Islands in the distance. On Maui, I did what any other non-local would do and visited the beach a lot, went to many different restaurants, went to an outdoor Luau and even biked down the volcano on Maui. It was a perfect vacation for me but, believe it or not, relaxing was not the only reason my family and I made the trip to Maui. Prior to making the trip, my mother came into contact with a very popular Hawaiian Slack Key guitarist on the island of Maui. His name is George Kahumoku Jr. and he is the receiver of multiple Grammys. My mother was able to set up personal Hawaiian Slack Key guitar lessons for me with George. Learning from one of the Hawaiian guitar masters turned my regular Hawaiian vacation into an experience that I am not likely to forget.

Now I feel as I must back up this story a little bit and give you all a background on Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar and why I was seeking lessons from one of the masters in Hawaii. I started to play guitar when I was around 13 years old. I was, and still am, really attracted to acoustic guitar and its relative sounds and styles. Being such a fan had me exploring many different styles of acoustic guitar until I found one in which I fell in love with. My Uncle lived in Hawaii for a time, which led the music to spread to my household and became the type of guitar I liked to play. Hawaiian Slack Key consists of finger-picking melodies and alternating bass’ all on one guitar in any sort of open-chord tuning you prefer. Watch the video below to get an idea of what the style is like. The video features a slightly mainstream Hawaiian artist Jack Johnson performing his song “Constellations”.

Then, 5 years later, I was able to make the trip to Hawaii to learn from one of the great Hawaiian masters of guitar. George really helped me with my technique and opened my eyes on how Hawaiian slack should be performed. He would teach me on his farm in Maui where he raises goats, chickens, mini horses and he grows a plethora of fruits, herbs and vegetables. He even invited us to one of his concerts for free. I definitely learned a lot from George and he made my trip to Hawaii a unique oneInternBlogHawaiihttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Tfvezq4BYw

Hunt for a Cronut

One Summer ago, I had the liberty of working at my internship in NYC. Going into it I knew I had wanted to take advantage of the opportunity and to seize the moment to do as much  one could possibly do in one Summer- one of these goals was to get my hands on an infamous Cronut.

Let’s now take a step back for a moment in order to acquaint oneself with the incredible invention that is the Cronut. A Cronut, as one can probably deduce, is one half croissant and one half doughnut; a sort of diabolical hybrid between the two. Invented by the acclaimed pastry chef Dominique Ansel at his eponymous bakery in Lower Manhattan. It is a simple yet ingenious creation that is rolled in sugar, piped with cream, and then finished with glaze, served to you while still warm. Since its debut in May of 2013, it has brought claim to its popularity with New Yorkers and people world-wide being named one of Time Magazine’s 25 Best Inventions of 2013.

Having heard of the Cronut craze, I was on a mission to understand if the pastry lived up to its hype. I had failed nonetheless as that Summer I had lived in Fairfield, CT and commuted in every morning, and if one wanted to get a hold of one of these pastries, one would have to go and wait in the line at 6 a.m latest to ensure that one would get one. Gratefully, this Summer I was offered a Summer position at the same place I had worked for and had a place secure to live in the city, hence this time I was determined to set out to succeed where I was not able to the previous year.

It was the last week of work. It was a Wednesday, I had gotten plenty of sleep the night before and woke at 5 in the morning and took the B/E train downtown, and walked to Spring Street. Turning the corner, I could see the formation of a line- this was 5:45, the bakery opens at 8. Standing in line more and more people lined up behind me there being about 20 already in front of me. As the morning progressed the line had stretch around the corner and wounded into the park. While we waited the bakers gave us samples of the other menu items. On the menu were Ansel’s other  creations such as the chocolate chip shot glasses where one would take a shot of milk from this pastry and then proceed to eat the vessel, and there was the “Frozen S’more”  which was a honey marshmallow wrapped around a Tahitian vanilla ice cream with chocolate wafer crisps served on a smoked willow wood branch and torched to order. But everyone in the line was there for the Cronut.

The doors opened at 8 a.m. and I was fairly confident that I would be able to get a Cronut, as I had been told and had read reviews online that only first 100 people or so would be able to get Cronuts.  Each customer were limited to only buying 2 at a time. As the first wave of people were let through the door, they quickly came out carrying boxes filled with  golden pieces of fried dough attesting to their dedication and commitment to these pastries. Finally upon entering the bakery we again lined up at the counter able to watch the bakers and Ansel at work. All of Ansel’s movements were purposeful and deliberate, a master at his craft. Having appeared on a myriad of talk shows and celeberatized as a chef, Ansel however remains humble and very focused on his work and passion. It was a pleasure to have watch him work.

At last I had obtained a Cronut and I did not wait a second to try it. The first bite into it was unlike anything else. Crispy, flaky layers that you would expect from a good croissant, but with the fried sweet satisfaction of a doughnut. Extraordinary. Each month Ansel’s Bakery comes up with a different flavor for their Cronuts always evoking flavors from the available ingridients that season check out past flavors here. August’s was Yellow Peach Black Tea. All in all one has to experience the pleasure of eating a Cronut, and there is only one place to get them: Dominique Ansel’s Bakery, highly recommended.

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2nd Annual IGC & NPHC Meet the Greeks!

There was a great turn out at last week’s 2nd Annual IGC & NPHC Meet the Greeks in the Student Union Ballroom! Seats were all filled up and music was blasting and refreshments were served!

Kappa Phi Lambda
Kappa Phi Lambda

Meet the Greeks is an opportunity for our cultural based fraternities and sororities display their talents of stepping and strolling and much more! It is also an opportunity for the student body to come check out our talented Intercultural Greek Council and the National Pan-Hellenic Council!! The event kicked-off with a phenomenal unity stroll. Three members from each organization in IGC and NPHC performed one unified stroll! Then each chapter performed their own unique talents. Following the performances, students had the opportunity to walk around and check out and converse with members of the perspective chapters.

Iota Phi Theta
Iota Phi Theta

The Intercultural Greek Council (IGC), established in 2002 as the Multicultural Greek Council, is the governing council for all culturally-based and multicultural fraternities and sororities represented and recognized at the University of Connecticut.

Pi Delta Psi
Pi Delta Psi

The National Pan-Hellenic Council, Inc. was established in 1930 on the campus of Howard University in Washington DC and was formed as a permanent organization for the is currently composed of nine, International fraternities and sororities commonly referred to as the “Divine Nine.” NPHC promotes interaction through forums, meetings and other mediums for the exchange of information and engages in cooperative programming and initiatives through various activities and functions.

Sigma Lambda Upsilon
Sigma Lambda Upsilon

The chapters that perform are:

Beta Chi Theta Fraternity, Inc. (ΒΧΘ)
Delta Epsilon Psi Fraternity, Inc. (ΔΕΨ)
Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. (ΚΦΛ)
Latino America Unida, Lambda Alpha Upsilon Fraternity, Inc. (ΛΑΥ)
Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. (ΛΘΑ)
Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Inc. (ΛΘΦ)
La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Inc. (ΛΥΛ)
Mu Sigma Upsilon Sorority, Inc. (ΜΣΥ)
Pi Delta Psi Fraternity, Inc. (ΠΔΨ)
Sigma Lambda Upsilon/Señoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority, Inc. (ΣΛΥ)
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (ΑΚΑ)
Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. (ΙΦΘ)
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. (ΦΒΣ)
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. (ΣΓΡ)
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. (ΖΦΒ)

Make sure to follow them on Twitter for the latest updates more upcoming events! @UConnIGC @UConnNPHC

Gotta Kick It Up!

This week, the UConn Kickline Team began our 2014-2015 season with tryouts! We’re very excited to add new dancers to our roster and make this our best team yet!

Kickline is a form of dance similar to the Radio City Rockettes, but with more of a jazz style. Here at UConn, our Kickline team gets very involved. During the fall semester, we perform at volleyball games and men’s & women’s basketball games at Gampel as well as the XL Center in Hartford! Last season, we also began dancing at the Hartford Wolfpack hockey games, which are held at the XL Center as well.  Our team is also fortunate enough to be involved with homecoming, and this year, I am thrilled to announce that we are paired with my chapter of Gamma Phi Beta, as well as Alpha Epsilon Pi and FIJI! I’m in charge of homecoming for my chapter, so I am very excited to be able to work closely with both of my organizations and create new bonds between everyone! We are also active in the Spring semester, where we travel all over New England and New York to compete against various Kickline Teams, trying to bring home as many trophies as we can to support our school!

I’m sure there are many people that are curious as to what we’re about, so come to a game and check us out!

Kickline

My Kickline Little and me!
My Kickline Little and me!

 

 

#AGP2014

This summer, one of the best experience that I had was attending the Atlanta Greek Picnic. This weekend was a series of events, including a step show, 2 Chainz concert, a community service event, stroll competition, picnic, and parties of course. Thousands of Divine 9 (NPHC) Greeks came to Atlanta in July for this event to celebrate the 10th anniversary for the Atlanta Greek Picnic this year. It is important for us to come together and network with our community from all over the country.

Stepping is a form of dance that uses your whole body by clapping and stomping to create beats and rhythms. Strolling is also known as a “party walk” and looks like dancing in a line. These two traditions have been adopted and recreated by the Divine 9 community and often exhibited in shows and competitions. Below is a video of the winning team from the famous stroll competition that takes place at the picnic. This team happens to be my sorors from Connecticut!

10 Things Greeks should do Before Graduation

As a senior one month away from g-wording, I’ve been taking some time to look back and reflect on my favorite memories as a UConn Greek.  Whether you’re a new member or you’re about to be forced into the real world AKA your alumni chapter, here are ten things to do before saying syonara to Storrs:

 

1. Learn more about Greek Life – Seeing as I’m a student intern for the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life this point seems to be fairly obvious (I can assure you I’m not being paid or told that I need to suggest this).  Sure, it’s great that you can sing the Greek Alphabet and kudos to those of you who know your chapter’s history like the back of your hand, but what good is this if you know nothing about the other men and women in this community?  While our organizations all work to embody the same Four Pillars of Greek Life (Scholarship, Brotherhood/Sisterhood, Leadership, and Service), our chapters and councils all have something unique to bring to the table – if we didn’t then we’d all be wearing the same letters!

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2.  Go on an Alternative BreakI’ve said it once and I’ll continue to say it: college tends to be an incredibly selfish time in our lives where everything revolves around getting ahead.  Whether we’re competing for the highest grades, an internship, or an executive position in our organizations, we as students tend to lose sight of the important things in life and how lucky we truly are.  My experiences participating in both UConn Greek Alternative Breaks opened my eyes to issues that people face on a daily basis, both within the US and internationally, and left me with memories that will long surpass my college years.

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3. Horsebarn Hill- While my last point was to be a part of something that doesn’t revolve around you, it’s also important to set aside some “me time.”  As a student it’s sometimes challenging to make time to even sleep or eat while you’re juggling class, work, and duties for your respective organizations, but for your own well-being try to set aside that half hour you’d be spending on Facebook and get some fresh air.  Especially for those of you up at Husky Village, you’ve got one of the most beautiful sceneries this campus has to offer right across the street.   Running the road may not be your thing so grab one of your brothers/sisters, get to the top of the hill, and channel your inner Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music if that’ll make you happy and relaxed!

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4. Live with your Brothers/Sisters- While the idea of living with up to 30 men or women in your organization seems incredibly daunting, try rooming with one or two members as a way of dipping your toes in the water. Sure, coming downstairs to an open washer/dryer is as promising as winning The Hunger Games (may clean clothes be ever in your favor), but the pros will undoubtedly weigh out any trifling cons. When I needed a dress at the last minute for a formal they were there with a dozen options for me.  When I needed a shoulder to cry on when my pet died they were there with a box of Insomnia cookies.  When I needed someone to celebrate huge accomplishments were there with hugs and words of encouragement.  Not everyone is fortunate enough to live with their best friends, yet I had that chance and I’m never going to forget the memories we shared together (Viva La Club 207!)

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5. Participate in HuskyTHON Each February, thousands of students come together, regardless their age, affiliation, or club to support the kids and their families from the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.  Since my first year at UConn I’ve participated in HuskyTHON in some way, from Dancer to Director of Catering on the Management Team and I can say wholeheartedly that each year has been better than the last.  Having raised $457,581.04 this year (nearly $115,000 more than 2013) I couldn’t have been more proud to be Greek and see how hard our men and women worked to raise as much money as possible “For The Kids.” 

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6. Come meet Betty 🙂For anyone who’s never stopped by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life before, you’ve probably yet to meet the woman who serves as the glue for our entire Greek Community.  Aside from our crew of student interns, Betty Conklin, our office secretary, is the first friendly face you’ll come across when visiting SU 315.  Having worked in various departments for UConn’s Division of Student Affairs longer than most undergrads have been alive, Betty is one of the most popular women on this campus for good reason!  Between her genuine care for everyone she helps, her advice to get through each day (“You’ve just gotta laugh!”), and her commitment to our community, Betty has played a huge role in your Greek experience whether you know it or not.

  2013-14 OFSL Staff 

 

7. Participate in a Philanthropy- Whether you’re prepared to stand on stage and compete as a Fraternity Sweetheart, exerting all of the athletic ability left in your body from high school, or you’re more about stuffing your face with delicious treats at a Late Night event, it’s important that as Greeks we support one another’s philanthropies!

 

 

8. Go out for a Position- No matter if you’re trying to become your chapter’s next Chief Executive Officer or would rather stick to a low-key chair position, it’s important for you as not only a member of your organization but also as a student to develop on your leadership potential.  No matter if this means that you organize your fraternity’s intramural water polo team or are in charge of organizing your sorority’s Philanthropy Day during recruitment, you’re sure to gain some skills that will be transferrable to the real world.

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9. Witness a Double-Basketball National Championship- Okay, so this one doesn’t have all that much to do with Greek Life, but after witnessing a Men’s Basketball victory as a Freshman and still riding the wave from the double-victory of our teams as a senior (and on the 10th year anniversary of the double-victory from ’04) I had to throw this one out there.  Grab some brothers and sisters, make your way to Gampel Pavillion, and cheer on your fellow Huskies like you’ve never cheered before!  While it’s important to have pride for your chapter, it’s just as important to have pride for the greatest school in the nation- while refraining from setting said school on fire… #BLEEDBLUE

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10. Don’t Say “Goodbye,” Say “See You Later”From the moment you pledge to join a fraternity or a sorority, you make an oath that you’ll remain loyal to this organization and the people who are a part of it for the rest of your life.  While this undergraduate chapter is coming to an end, it doesn’t mean that your relationship with these people will conversely come to an end; in actuality, this just means that these individuals will now become a part of other new and exciting chapters of your life.  Whether you’re moving across the country or are fortunate enough to be roommates with some of your brothers or sisters in the real world, try to remember that you promised to be a part of their lives from the day you pledged onward, something graduation will never be able to take away from you.

 

Congrats to my fellow UConn Greeks Graduating in May and best of luck in all future endeavors!

Black History Year

In 1926, Carter G. Woodson announced that the second week of February would be “Negro History Week”; this week encompassed the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

In 1976, the President of the United States announced that Black History Week would turn into Black History Month by saying that Americans should “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

I challenge the community to turn Black History Month into Black History Year. We should not let a day go by without appreciating the accomplishments of black Americans in United States history. We should not let a day go by without appreciating the accomplishments of all minorities in United States history. This amazing country was not built solely by one major ethnic group, but by women, and people of all ethnicities, and we are doing ourselves a disservice if we do not recognize the hard work of all of our ancestors.

In the following video is a Spoken Word performance. Modern day spoken word was born out of the Civil Rights Movement and is a form of expression. I hope you enjoy!