Thursday, September 29, 2011

Good Ol' Alliot

I never thought I would say it, but I miss Alliot. For those of my readers who are not Saint Michael's College students, Alliot (pronounced Al-ee-o) is the name of the student center on campus, and it is arguably the one of the most important places on campus. Alliot is home to the SMC bookstore, the Student Life office, the MOVE (Mobilization of Volunteer Efforts) office, Campus Ministry, the Wilderness office, and the Green Mountain Dining Room. That last place mentioned, the Green Mountain Dining Room, is really why I miss Alliot.
No one really ever calls our dining hall the Green Mountain Dining Room, everyone just refers to it as Alliot, and everyone else knows you're talking about the dining hall. Freshman, sophomores, and juniors all enjoy the luxury of an unlimited meal plan for their first three years at St. Mike's. Now that I am a senior, I only have a limited meal plan, consisting of 40 meals per semester, roughly 2-3 per week.
At first, 2-3 meals per week doesn't sound so bad, but coming from someone who would wake up early to get Alliot breakfast before class, it's bad.
I've created a short list of reasons why I miss Alliot. Here it goes:
1) Seeing everyone. Alliot is the only dining location on campus that is covered by meal plan, therefore it is more than likely that while in Alliot you will see classmates, friends, teammates, and even some professors eating. I miss the ability to see everyone in one place.
2) The employees. Alliot workers are great! They are constantly working hard to provide the students with whatever it is they need. Last fall I had an internship that took me off campus two days a week during lunch hours and the Alliot workers prepared a bag lunch for me everyday I was off campus during the semester. It was pretty awesome.
3) Alliot breakfast. I miss my egg whites with hot sauce and half a wheat english muffin I would split with my roommate Abby. It was delicious and nutritious everyday that I had the pleasure of eating it.
4) Making Alliot creations. Eating in a dining hall for every meal of every day, you learn to be creative. I miss mixing and matching whatever Alliot has to offer to make a unique meals that never get old. One of my favorites is mixing the granola (that has red raisons, white raisons, and dried apples) with slices of a banana and a little bit of melted peanut butter. YUM!
5) The convenience. At first I thought that being able to cook my own meals in my townhouse wouldn't be that different from Alliot other than the fact that I had more control over my options. I was wrong. Cooking actually involves, prepping, cooking, eating, and cleaning. A few extra steps have been added since the convenient days of Alliot that just involved the eating step.
Although I miss Alliot, I know that living in a townhouse is preparing me for life after college, where cooking will became part of my everyday schedule. Living in a townhouse is like riding a bike with training wheels, you're not quite ready to do it on your own, but you're getting close. I think that St. Mike's understands that the college learning experience goes beyond the doors of the classroom. St. Mike's is trying to prepare their students for life after college in a number of different ways, including how to take care of ourselves and each other.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Greenrep.org Guest Speaker

One of the courses I am taking this semester is Retailing and for two reasons, this course has been particularly important this past week. This past Monday, my friend Andrea and I presented to our retailing classmates for an hour on consumer buying behavior. Though an hour was a long time, I think the presentation went well and I was excited when I found out that we would be having a guest speaker for our next class.
The guest speaker in my retailing class was an incredibly interesting individual named Dan Clayton. Dan Clayton, CEO of greenrep.org came in to talk about what being a sales representative entails and what his company is all about. Dan described his business as a sales agency with a strong focus on advancing green initiatives and green products. As an avid snowboarder, cross country skier, and mountain biker, Dan described his passion for action sports and the need to protect the environment that gives us the opportunity to do the sports we love.
In addition to learning about how Dan's business got started, Dan described the process and the challenges that he must be overcome in order to run a successful business. The Chinese New Year plays a particularly important role in the manufacturing process of Dan's biggest account, Spyder. Like many other outerwear companies, Spyder produces their products abroad, in China, therefore the production schedule and order time frames are determined entirely by what day Chinese New Year falls on. Hearing about this reminded me of my semester abroad and the celebrations and festivities that take place during this important time of year.
I found all of Dan's talk interesting, but one thing he mentioned stuck with me, he said "marketing is what moves the stuff". As a senior, trying to figure out what I want to do after college, this made me think about how marketing is really what I am interested in and hopefully build my career around.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Can't Wait to MOVE!

In the few short weeks I have been back on campus this semester, I am reminded of how strong a community Saint Michael's College is. Everyone on campus seems to be involved in something, everyone finds a way of making St. Mike's their home.
One of the ways I found my home here at St. Mike's is through MOVE (Mobilization of Volunteer Efforts). Prior to coming up to campus as a freshmen, I participated in a pre-orientation program through MOVE where I worked with nine other freshmen and four upperclassmen doing service projects for a week. This is a picture from that week right before freshmen year.
Community service has always been important to me, but it is the MOVE program on campus that has given me the opportunity to make it part of my everyday life. At the end of freshmen year I was given the opportunity to become a coordinator for a MOVE program called Temporary Relief. I work with a few other awesome individuals to make this program run smoothly.
So what does Temporary Relief do? As a program and as volunteers, we provide temporary relief to marginalized members of the community. In the past, we have volunteered at three locations, Salvation Army, Dismas House, and St. John's Hall. The Salvation Army provides a hot meal to anyone in need six days a week, and as volunteers we help serve the meal to members of the community. Dismas House is housing for individuals who are making the difficult transition from prison to society. In order to help reconcile these individuals with society, we prepare and share a meal at the Dismas House. St. John's Hall provides low-cost housing to members of the community and as volunteers we provide a meal and share conversation with the residents. I am excited to continue building relationships with these members of our community, but I am REALLY excited about Temp Relief's newest addition to our program.
This year we have added a 4th location, the Canal Street Veterans Housing. This housing officially opened in February 2011 and provides two year transitional housing for homeless veterans. This newest location is of particular interest to me because for my marketing class last fall, I worked on an awareness campaign specifically tied to veterans. Along with three other females, we spent the semester trying to raise veteran awareness on campus. Now, a year later I hope that this new location will create even more veteran awareness on campus. The first few weeks of participating in MOVE have been an extremely fulfilling start to my senior year. I am looking forward to meeting many new volunteers and continuing with my service.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Back to the Knight Life

I can't believe I am starting my senior year at St. Mike's! After spending a semester abroad, it feels great to be back on the campus I know and love.

St. Michael's College recently switched their curriculum to the 4/4, meaning students are required to take four, four credit courses per semester. For my fall semester, I am taking Consumer Behavior, Finance, Retailing, and Business Strategy. The transition into the new curriculum has been a bit challenging for some seniors, being that major and minor requirements have changed. The biggest difference I have noticed is the amount of work, professors are really trying to stick with the hour requirements, 3 hours a week in class, 7 hours of work outside of the classroom. My business strategy class is a small class with only 18 seniors. We are required to work in groups to write a business plan over the course of the semester. In the spring, we have the opportunity to enter our business plans into a competition for a cash prize. Although my group and I don't have our idea nailed down yet, I am looking forward to utilizing knowledge from all of my courses to complete this assignment.

In addition to being interested in my new classes, I am also loving my new living situation as a senior. I am living in apartment style housing. The townhouses on campus are divided by their campus location and labelled by numbers. I am living with three of my closest friends (Abby, Sam, and Erin) in the 300 townhouses. Abby and I have lived together for three years now and we lived with Sam and Erin last year. Here is a picture of the four of us!

I think this year has many good things in store for me. I am anxious about the future, but I know the work I am doing this year will prepare me well.