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Change is Good!

Change is good…unless no one realizes the change.

Today I decided to take a trip down to our local PBS broadcasting station, WVPT. Most JMU students and faculty have seen those four letters while driving onto main campus, but recently JMU has bought out the space that was previously known as WVPT.

As a Centennial Scholar (a scholarship program at JMU)  I am required to do 100 hours of community service and this year I have decided to volunteer at the news station and gain some experience through it. But there was one problem…There was no news station when I got there! After doing a little research I’ve found that Harrisonburg’s WVPT has made a major move!

At their new location on MLK Jr, Way, WVPT is sitting beautifully on the corner and very hard to miss for a passer-by. For those of us who never realized they made such a move, it was actually very easy to miss. I am very excited to be able to work with WVPT at this new location and it will definitely allow me a chance to better my public relations skill with helping get the word out about the move. Also, after speaking with the director there is a great possibility for me to be able to add some publications to my portfolio as a volunteer/intern!

 

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370… 227…12…Mishap or Malice?

If you’ve been keeping up with the news, it’s almost impossible to overlook the fact that a whole plane is MISSING. 227 passengers, 12 crew members, completely missing. Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 took a course to Beijing, China on March 8th, 2014 and disappeared before landing. Mishap or malice?

For many, this news is quite unnerving, and I know for me, a very scary thing to hear. In an article posted today, there are new findings about this Malaysian flight possibly being led off course on purpose by the pilot and co-pilot. The last thing heard by ground controllers from the co-pilot was “All right, good night.” This was heard approximately 12 MINUTES before the plane satellites were shut off completely. So who did it? Was the plane hijacked? Act of terrorism?

Read more about Flight 370 here.

At this point, it is very hard to say. Many things are pointing to these pilots. The plane was known to have been programmed to take a turn westward way before the pilot made his statement that everything was “all right.” But, one thing has come out of this unfortunate situation- 26 nations have joined together in the search to find this plane. Although the events of this coming together are the least likely to be wanted, it is definitely caused many nations to step up and help one another.

New Evidence in Flight 370:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/18/world/asia/malaysia-airlines-plane/

I’m very interested to see how Malaysian Airlines will continue its business in light of the events taking place. I’m sure their publics are HORRIFIED and many others who travel internationally (not only Malaysian Airlines passengers). I’m sure this will cause a huge change in the trust of airlines, trust that was already shaky to begin with.

Prayers are sent up for these individuals on this plane. Hopefully, Flight 370 will resurface soon with 227 living passengers and 12 living crew members.

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“A World Where Every Girl Activates Her Limitless Potential…”

For PR class, we’ve been working some corporate writing. For the assignments, we had to choose a particular organization and find out as much information as we could, and will essentially be following them for the remainder of the semester. Originally I chose BET Network, since Being Mary Jane had just premiered, BET Honors were coming up, and The BET Experience is in the planning stages. I figured there would be a lot of information for me to work with.

But….there wasn’t. BET need a serious revamping plan. But anyway, I turned my attention to a non-profit organization known as Girls on the Run International. One of my younger cousins, Ja’Niya, is involved in it and ALWAYS talks about it (literally, always), but I never really paid any attention to it because I thought the name was ridiculous. Girls on the Run sounds like runaway kids. Why would you teach a kid to run away?! Thankfully, this is not at all what this organization is dedicated to doing. I’ve been researching it for some time now and I’ve literally fallen in LOVE.

GOTR is a 12-week program that teaches life lessons, problem solving skills, fosters confidence among young girls, WHILE encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle. Amazing, right? Through a 24-lesson curriculum,  young girls between 3-8th grades are taught to love who they are and the importance of making and achieving goals. They train for a 5K event that is held at the end of the curriculum, which provides them tangible sense of achievement and shows them that they can do anything that they work towards. AND THEY’RE HAVING FUN DOING IT! Please tell me way I have not heard of this sooner?

LINK: GOTR 5K VIDEO CLIP

I’ve always wanted to start something that encourages young girls to be the best that they can be in the Harrisonburg area. It’s important for children to understand their worth and be confident in who they are, and I definitely believe in the importance of beneficial mentoring. I’ve been talking about doing something like this for about a year now, but never really knew how or where to start. I think I’ve finally found a way 🙂

Of course, you all know I will most likely never end my blogs without public relations being involved. As much as I just want to write to express my new-found love for this org., I am truly writing because of the AWARENESS factor!  I’m probably not a target audience for this organization since I’m not a 3-8th grade girl, or a parent of a 3-8th grade girl, BUT I am very much interested in starting a branch here in Harrisonburg!! GOTR could have a name that rings bells if the PR was bumped up, and there could be many more branches in areas that aren’t quite aware of this organization.

“We envision a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.”

What a powerful vision statement.

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Sophomore Slump

The Sophomore Slump. Before today, I did not even know that this was a thing, but it definitely explains how I’ve been feeling lately!

I was informed today, as I was frantically searching for a persuasive speech topic, that there has been some buzz about this among college campus researchers. So what is this talk about “The Sophomore Slump?”

My first year at JMU was blissful, to say the very least! I was welcomed with open arms and went through a full week of Freshman Orientation, like many other college campuses do as well. There were activities everywhere, so many organizations to join that it was literally overbearing, and so many new people to meet. It seems that many college campuses set out to do (and do it very well, might I add) everything possible to help freshmen students become acclimated to the new environment with these orientation weeks. This is definitely a huge help and I’m sure also greatly appreciated by parents sending their children off for the very first time. For much of my freshman year, this trend continued. There are so many programs dedicated to freshmen to help them be successful in this first year of college.

Then what? Sophomore year hits me and I’m suddenly feeling OVERWHELMED. It’s time to declare a major (and actually stick to it), begin networking for future job opportunities and internships, find friends that aren’t just there to party with you, and get involved in meaningful activities. This all sounds pretty cut and dry, but I will definitely be the first to say that it is not. Recently I’ve been reconsidering a lot of things about my college experience. I’m so unsure of everything that I was once positive about. Things seem so much harder than they did freshman year.

Last year, I was involved in about five or six organizations. They were pratically thrown at me, so why not. This year, I am involved in one organization. Now you might be saying, “Well, that isn’t horrible. At least you’re involved in that.” However, for me, an individual who likes to be involved in many different activities at once, this is a LIFE CRISIS. I feel so disconnected with my university and that concerns me daily. I can seem to get out of this “slump.”

So what does the research say? *Drum Rolls*

I’M NORMAL! Many of second year students go through this time period of trying to figure it all out. I also came across some proposals for SYE- or Sophomore Year Experience. These SYE  programs are dedicated to helping second year students with many of the dilemmas that we are faced with. They are very similar to programming dedicated to freshmen acclimation and programming for juniors/seniors with “life after college” help. I believe that it would be very beneficial for college campuses to consider this and fortify the broken relationship that we once had with our college community.

LINK:

The New York Times: Sophomore Slump

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/03/education/edlife/getting-over-the-sophomore-slump.html?_r=0

It seems that sophomore students seem to escape the “targeted public” realm when looking at the programs and efforts dedicated to freshman and upper-class students. Granted, there are just as many resources offered to us, they are just not as chiseled to our needs in the way that the other classes needs are.

Even though we can be confused, unmotivated, disconnected, civically disengaged (I’ll stop there) individuals, we are still a very much important and worthwhile public on college campuses.

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J-M- I LOVE-U….But Do you Love ME?

With Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, I’m sure we all feel the love in the air! But  I’m not so sure that’s the case in the Wonderland of JMU. Now, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE my university, but I am highly disappointed with some of the things that are going on here lately.

Recently I came across this blog linked below, and I was originally ecstatic that someone had spoken up about the elephant in the room, literally…every classroom, every dorm hall, every common place on this campus, but as I continued to read and got to the comments portion, I became slightly outraged. The blog’s focus was on how one individual of African American descent was upset that after becoming a member of James Madison University’s Student Ambassadors she felt basically used and only accepted because she was “convenient” to give a “black perspective” of JMU on campus tours, etc.

LINK: Why I Quit Student Amabassadors

http://jmuwomensstudentcaucus.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/why-i-quit-student-ambassadors-discrimination-at-jmu/

In the comments of this blog, there were people saying that she should have known what she was getting into, black people were too lazy to apply for the Student Ambassador position and therefore, unfairly represented, and other disgraceful things. I must say after reading this, I fell a little out of love with my beautiful JMU.

It doesn’t shock me to know that the majority of JMU’s population is Caucasian or white, I mean, it is a predominantly white institute. What does upset me is the push about “Diversity Here at JMU.” Anyone who goes to JMU knows that one of the key selling points and emphasis of the university is this false idea of diversity. Granted, diversity is not only race or ethnicity; I’d be quite ignorant not to acknowledge that. But, why sell diversity when so many of us are still looking to find where exactly that diversity is?! We claim that diversity also includes where you’re from, what you believe, cultural differences, etc. etc. etc. (are we just saying these things to take the focus off of color?…I digress), but honestly, that sort of diversity can be found ANYWHERE and you don’t hear about historically black colleges and universities pushing this diversity aspect.

Just last week I spoke to my sister about not really always liking to be the only black person in the room of 100, which usually leads to me being the “voice” of all black and/or minority people which is highly disheartening. I had a Communication Studies  class where one guest speaker thought that it would be perfectly fine for her to teach a communication theory using a clip from Comedy Central’s show Key and Peele joking about slavery. Needless to say, the class thought this was HILARIOUS while I and the only other black girl in the class felt uncomfortable and, honestly, disrespected. There were so many other clips or examples she could have used. But do we run the risk of speaking up and again being that “voice” for all black people that we’ve already been marginalized to? Do we speak for all blacks and tell her that that was inappropriate just because we were the only ones offended by it? I should have. Looking back on it now, the hesitant reactions like mine are the reason that these things to continue to happen.

LINK: Key and Peele Slave Auction Block

Basically, what  I am trying to say here is that there is not only a lack of diversity here, but when that “diverse group” is represented by a small amount of JMU’s population, many of us feel that we have to speak for the whole group. This is an issue! If we are going to sell diversity, then BRING IN MORE DIVERSITY! It is definitely not the fact of black and minority groups are “too lazy” to apply to be here at JMU or be a part of different groups, because that was made clear in the “Why I Quit Student Ambassadors” blog.

I’m so glad that this issue is finally being brought to light. Like I said, I absolutely love my school and everything that it has to offer.  I am simply displeased with the amount of diversity, or lack thereof, on this campus. So maybe, in the art of PR, we shouldn’t place such an emphasis on diversity, but something along the lines of academics- something that we do well. Or maybe even the fact that our dining services are #2 in the country.

The food here is more diverse than the actual population. DO BETTER, JMU!

*Disclaimer: This blog is only my opinions and thoughts. They are not affiliated with and do not represent James Madison University.