Archive for February, 2011

Written by: Derek Spinei, Alumni Association Graduate Scholarship winner

Thompson Block after 2009 fire.

I’ve been asked the question more than once since I started EMU’s masters program in 2009. I suppose it’s a fair enough question since “HP” isn’t quite as popular a career pursuit as becoming a teacher, accountant or lawyer. Basically HP is the continued challenge of identifying, documenting and finding ways to protect the existence of historically significant parts of our built environment. Typically we preservationists are concerned with buildings and structures, but there are also landscapes and objects to consider.

Rather than standing in the way of progress or rejecting anything new, the goal of HP is to make sure that important cultural resources are allowed to exist for generations to come. The end result is the preservation of community character and the ability to connect directly with the past. It’s why Depot Town is Depot Town and EMU’s campus is EMU campus.

There are many strategies used by preservationists to achieve their goals but the most important thing is educating the public. We must constantly inform communities about the irreplaceable resources they possess and advocate for their prolonged use and maintenance so as to prevent the prediction of writer Ada Louise Huxtable that “we will probably be judged not by the monuments we built but by those we have destroyed.”

While the work of preservationists is often politically charged and a quick way to still controversy, one need only to observe the successful reconstruction of Sherzer Hall, the failure to save Tiger Stadium or the potential of the Thompson Block to know that there is a job todo and we’re doing it.

Sherzer Hall after 1989 fire.

The Alumni Association Graduate Scholarship deadline is April 15, 2011. For more information, visit: http://www.emich.edu/alumni/students/scholarships.php


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Miaisha’s Moment

Miaisha Peoples, Student Outreach Intern in the Office for Alumni Relations, shares her thoughts on finding your passion…

A circus, if you will, has a tight rope  in which one must balance their weight along with some other form of struggle successfully from one side to the other without falling off. Does this sound similar to any of you? It should. College is the litmus test for finding those who are strong minded enough to complete the task of balancing everyday life with additional hardships added to get to the other side of adulthood. Now, this is not to say that those who choose not to attend college do not also have a balance beam in their three ring circus of life because they often do too sometimes even more complex baggage to carry along with. What is at the end of the tight rope some may never find……..?

True adulthood comes when one realizes the importance of prioritizing and self-responsibility and one has recognized your abilities resulting in success. For many students in college these are their first years of being on their own physically as well as financially. This is a heavy burden for some to learn how to deal with. The parents may have taken care of the student in every area and now the dramatic change in having to pay one’s own bills and provide for self is too hard for some to deal with. On the other hand, the student may have had to get everything on their own and doesn’t know how to ask for help when they really need it. Throw into this mix school, health issues, programs, student organizations, relationships, friendships, jobs, social events, and just wanting to be able to purchase the newest trends you have your own personal balance beam to walk across. The 20’s are the formidable years of adult life which is why I am using the metaphor of a tight rope.  Life is not easy and bills are not simply just something that passes through congress it happens in the transition to becoming a successful adult in today’s society. The balancing act is not the same for everyone; no one’s struggles are exactly the same; similar indeed, but never carbon copy. If one can learn how to illustrate efficiency in the way that they learn to carry their weight through life, true adulthood will not necessarily become the easiest thing in the world to deal with but it will become easier. Learning to cope with the curve balls that are handed to you takes tenacity that is not acquired simply by turning 18 or 21 for that matter. Everyone advances in their life and has a different objective to master in order to get to the place they want to be literally and figuratively.

These past few months I have been walking my own tight rope and struggling not to fall with all of the additional weight being put on me and recently I tipped over. Now there is nothing wrong with tipping over or falling for that matter the important part is that you get up, try again, rearrange your game plan and correct your mistakes. Many of us try to go through these hardships in life by ourselves and we continue to fall again and again. Reason being if you are doing something wrong and can’t see it clearly you think what you are doing is right and don’t realize what key elements are holding you down. I’ve come to realize that even as an adult we need help and guidance as well because we still don’t have all the answers we just simply have the bumps and bruises to prove that we tried in life. I’m going to seek a mentor to be a positive motivator in my life that exemplifies what I aspire to be but also a testimony and guider to encourage me successfully across the balance beam.  A mentor to inspire me to tackle the obstacles with a story to back up what they are telling me to do and not to do is what I need at this point of my life. Why you ask? So that one day I can be an influential mentor to someone else and help them join me on the other side of the balance beam of life. So as an alumni or current student, think back to a lot of the times in your life when you said you wish you had someone to tell you the things you know now. Are there any things that you know now that could help someone else so that they won’t have to go through the same thing or maybe take a different route? If so take the time out to have that conversation with someone who is in a position you once were in and think about how it felt when that person was you not too long ago.  The circus is a place full of entertainment, magic, and people getting paid to pay their roles. Thus is life and thus is the balancing act initiated within will you conquer it or fall down and quit the show? I’m on the quest for achievement see you on the other side.

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Miaisha’s Moment

Are we being of service to our communities and better yet ourselves? This question is being asked by the future leaders of our Eastern Michigan University community. Students such as Emir McCullough member of the Poetry Society, Bernard Carter of NAACP and Brittni Brown member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Xi Chapter, Fashionality, and BSU have noticed that they have a bigger purpose to serve and look to take a positive action for today’s youth and future alumni of EMU.  After participating in a few conversations with these students, I realize that that the two biggest things working against students who want to do something big around EMU are: time and funding. These students along with others have big aspirations in their academic fields but also to perform as possible role models within their respective communities. The insight and drive to make this world a better place more specifically EMU and its surrounding communities is impeccable and should not be overlooked.

To answer the above mentioned question I don’t think we are giving back enough nor do I think we are reaching low enough to make an impact at all times. EMU is a great school and I’m glad to call it my alma mater because it’s given me so much in the way of friends, extended family, and experiences. The students at EMU have a passion and zest for life like no other neighboring college or university. However our students don’t know how to properly execute the change we want to see. I have to give it to several of the organizations around here that truly make an impact on this campus but we still have some work to do. Workshops with nonprofits or other community activists may be the way to go or grant writing lessons for students could possibly help. The life of an average college student consists of so many dilemmas many of which we never saw coming or never thought we would have to deal with and are often unprepared for. Relationship problems, death in the family, health issues, problems focusing, too heavy course loads, joining organizations, time management assessment and just the freedom that being a college student provides can all be a difficult changeover from the high school years. I know all of those things can happen because during my four years of undergraduate studies all of these issues occurred for me to have to deal with luckily it didn’t keep me down because I had a little bit of preparation. College prep programs can help prepare students to cope with test taking, social skills, and the happiness that comes from giving back to something other than yourself. The fact that a lot of freshman flunk out their first semester of college is an example of this problem that deals with college retention numbers. Those who make it to the alumni status have a responsibility to give back to the students who attend EMU a school that gave them hope and aspirations to beat the odds and make it to the places the prominent alumni are today.

It’s funny that my blog this week is about community service and I’m in the process of planning one right now that my heart is very involved in.  My mother was a foster mother and that has gave me a great appreciation for foster children and the struggles that they go through day to day being in the system and not always getting the support they need to grow into well-rounded adults. So I have started planning this project which will occur in the beginning of April and serve as a College Day of sorts for local high school seniors who are foster children. So far there has been response from several organizations including members of The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and You Beautiful Black Woman (YBBW).  We are still looking for more who would like to volunteer their time, resources and services to this project. It takes a village to raise a child and EMU is the village that will serve as a pillar to the new generation of leaders. Wouldn’t you like to say you are a part of this movement for the audacity for change within our educational system? Be the change you want to see in the world.  We must implement the desire to better the world not just for our sake but the future generations who will need it the most. If we are to be courageous and stand up for the wrongs that need to be righted we are indeed in good company, and I will say I feel like I’m in good company here at EMU.

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“Making the Most of LinkedIn”

EMU Student Center

February 24 @ 7:00pm

Join the Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD) and the Student Organization for Alumni Relations (SOAR) as they present “Making the Most of LinkedIn” on Thursday, February 24 at 7:00pm.

An Enterprise Account Executive from LinkedIn will give a presentation on the many different ways which students and alumni can make the most of the social network LinkedIn.

7 – 8:30pm, “Making the Most of LinkedIn,” Student Center Auditorium, open seating for students and alumni

8:30 – 9:30pm, Alumni Networking Reception, Student Center Room 300 – ALUMNI ONLY, RSVP to Daniel Mathis – dmathis@emich.edu by 2/18/11.

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