Archive for April, 2011

The Student Organization for Alumni Relations (SOAR) presents the stories of couples who fell in love at EMU. Read about our fourth spotlight couple Autumn and Theo Tangalakis.

Names: Autumn and Theo Tangalakis

Relationship Status: Married

Anniversary Date: December 31, 2008, we were married in the Caribbean by the ocean

Do you have children? How many? None yet just 2 dogs, Chase and Makenzie and 2 cats, Akira and Otis

How did you meet? I met Theo through my Alpha Sigma Tau sorority sisters. His family owned Ted’s and owns Theo’s Bar and they worked for the family. He was over at the sorority house and that’s where I met him although it took a year before we started dating. Eventually I started hanging out with him during karaoke nights at the bar and he asked me out.

Where was your first date? He would say that we went to a movie and saw American Wedding followed by dinner at Applebees. I say that our first date was at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum. We just held hands and walked around and talked.

Any cute memories you have together at Eastern? My favorite memory is when my sorority and his fraternity, Sigma Nu, had a social together. That was the first time we hung out with each of our organizations. We also had memories from formals and hayrides. The best memories were just being together at our apartment and hanging out with friends.

If married/engaged did you propose on campus? If so where? No, we got engaged at our off campus apartment. He tied my ring to our new kitten and when I got home from work she was on the bed all tangled in ribbon with the ring and that’s how he proposed. It was 1 day after our one year anniversary.

Years attended Eastern: Autumn 1999-2004 left school and came back 2006-2011 to finish my first bachelor’s and my second bachelor’s. Theo came to EMU for his masters from 2003-2006.

Any romantic advice you would give to students: Opposites can attract and work. I’m an Ohio State fan and he’s a U of M fan and alum. As long as you marry your best friend it will work out.

To share your EMU love story, e-mail emulovestories@gmail.com. We look for couples who met at EMU – preference is given to couples where both partners are alumni.


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Written by: Caitlin Burns (Undergraduate Alumni Scholarship recipient)

When I was going through freshman orientation at Eastern I received a list of things you should do before you graduate. Well I decided it was time for there to an updated list from the perspective of a student at EMU.

10.) Play sand volleyball during the summer on campus. This was on the original list and I checked it off within the first week of school. It is a great way to get some exercise and meet new people.

9.) Take a walk around campus. Explore campus and the many buildings that are on it. This helps you become familiar with the area and helps you to find your classes once the semester starts. Plus campus is beautiful at any time of year and it is nice to get some fresh air and enjoy not having to run to class.

8.) Go to karaoke at Tower Inn. Now this isn’t a campus specific event but I believe that in order to be ready to graduate you have to have had at least one experience singing off key with your friends. I crossed this off this past year and it created great memories with the people I am closest to.

7.) Attend a sporting event at Eastern. As EMU students we get into all of the sporting events for free so why not take advantage of it?! We can cheer our fellow students on to victory and have fun with friends while doing so!

6.) Attend an Eastern Excursion. The Eastern Excursions have something for everyone and are very affordable. They usually include an event and some type of meal and are a great way to explore Michigan and try out new experiences. This past year I went on one that included the DIA and the Charles Wainwright Museum in Detroit. It was a great experience and one that I will never forget.

5.) Attend a concert or play. The students at EMU are extremely talented and work hard to put on performances. There are many different events planned throughout the year and help not only the morale of the students performing but can count for extra credit in some classes. With those benefits what other reasons do you need to go?!

4.) Go to Homecoming. This should be mandatory for graduation. I have been to every Homecoming since I was freshman and have enjoyed each one of them. Also, if you are looking for a place to go on Homecoming stop by the Alumni Association Tailgate tent for great food and great entertainment!

3.) Help out around EMU. Whether it is helping out with a fundraiser or participating in rallying for higher education helping out EMU is a great cause. We are all connected to this great university and we should give back as thanks for the great memories and the education it has given us.

2.) Meet with Professors. I know many students are afraid of meeting with professors to talk about issues in class but that is what they are there for. I believe it is important to talk with professors about issues you may have in order to get the full value of your education.

1.) Join an organization. At EMU there are plenty of different organizations that offer a wide range of activities tailored to fit a specific interest. I believe it is important to be involved on campus and joining an organization is not only an important way of keeping involved but making lifelong friends.

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Did you know that cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of all Americans? In fact, someone dies from CVD every 38 seconds! Heart disease also kills more women than all forms of cancer combined.  And congenital cardiovascular defects are the most common cause of infant death from birth defects.

Eastern Michigan University is committed to fighting heart disease by raising $15,000 and having over 120 walkers at the Washtenaw County Heart walk on Saturday, May 14th from 8:30 a.m. – noon at Washtenaw Community College.  To accomplish this goal we need YOU to help by joining an EMU Heart Walk team.  By doing this you join more than a million people in 300+ cities across America in taking a stand against heart disease and helping save lives!

Director of Service EMU, Gretchen Ward – daughter of an EMU alumnus – shares why she walks:

Gretchen Ward and her son Patrick walk to fight heart disease in honor of her father, George Schonfeld '72 '74.

I was driving my son Patrick home from daycare and we were talking about his upcoming birthday party (he’ll be 3 in May). I asked him who he wanted to invite to his party. He rattled off the usual suspects: mom; dad; sister; Aunts; Uncles; cousins; and finally he said “and Papa George”. This caught me off guard because Papa George is my father who died in 2001 from a heart attack. Patrick has never met Papa George. I explained that Papa George couldn’t come and he proceeded to ask “Why?” I told him because he was in heaven and can’t get here. He then told me that we could go to his “sign” (which is 3 year old talk for a tombstone) and that we could ask him to come. When I said we can absolutely go visit him at his sign, but that he wouldn’t be able to come to the party. “Why?” he said. “Because he now lives in heaven with Jesus and he won’t be able to come to the party” was my reply. Patrick thought for a minute and said “that’s okay mommy, Jesus can come too.” I concluded the conversation by saying, yes Patrick, Papa George and Jesus will be at the party, you just won’t be able to see them.

Why do I walk? I walk for my children – Patrick almost 3 and Addison 6 months, so that they won’t have to have this conversation with their kids. I walk in memory of my father, George Schonfeld,’72 and ‘74 who passed away from a heart attack at the age of 51. I walk for myself, so that I can live a long, healthy life. I walk for you, in hope that your loved ones don’t have a similar story to tell.

Support EMU’s effort to fight heart disease!

The funds EMU raises in support of the Heart Walk will support projects like these:

  • Putting up-to-the-minute research into doctors’ hands so they can better prevent and treat heart disease among patients.
  • Groundbreaking pediatric heart and stroke research – about 36,000 babies are born with heart defects each year —research is the key to saving babies’ lives.
  • Getting life-saving information to those who need it most – information that can save a life, like how to eat better, how to recognize the warning signs of heart attack, and how to talk to a doctor about critical health choices.

Get Started With Us Today and help reach EMU’s goal and provide resources for research and education. Together we can make a difference!

For more information visit www.washtenawheartwalk.org or contact Christine at christine.mikolajczak@heart.org.

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Written by: Holly Elder (BS10)

Hello fellow alumni!

If you’re wondering what there is to do after graduating college, or taking a break doing something productive and enriching for yourself and the community then do I have an option for you! It’s called AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps).

AmeriCorps NCCC, part of a network of national service programs, is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service. NCCC members, 18-24, complete at least 1,700 service hours during the 10-month, full-time, residential program. In exchange, members receive an education award, room and board, limited health benefits, a living allowance and leadership development.

NCCC service projects, which typically last from six to eight weeks, address critical needs related to natural and other disasters, infrastructure improvement, environmental stewardship and conservation, energy conservation and urban and rural development. Members construct and rehabilitate low-income housing, respond to natural disasters, clean up streams, help communities develop emergency plans and address countless other local needs.

I wanted to apply for a number of reasons to NCCC, but one of the more important ones was to use the education award to help pay for graduate school. I didn’t feel like I was ready for graduate school, financially or mentally, so I looked around for other opportunities that would help me figure out what I wanted to do. One of the first things I did after I graduated as  a volunteer at FlyArt Children’s Center in downtown Ypsilanti. Working with kids doing art projects gave me a great feeling and a sense of accomplishment. It made me realize I wanted to go out and help directly with people even more.

NCCC sounded too good to be true, but there it was, hanging in the back of my head until the day I graduated. I filled out an application for the 2011 winter term before it was too late.

Next thing you know, I got accepted and headed to Vinton, Iowa in February. It’s really amazing meeting people the same age with different backgrounds and from different corners of the US and yet we all wanted to do the same thing, help others.

My team’s name is Oak 3 and our first project is at a YMCA Metro Detroit camp, Camp Ohiyesa, in Holly, Michigan. For six weeks we are facilitating outdoor activities for the kids (archery, for example), and working alongside the maintenance crew. So far we have built a horse pasture, cleaned up around camp and extracted duckweed from the camp’s lagoon. Right now we’re working on extending the petting farm so the camp can have pigs before summer camp starts. Our last day here is April 29th then we’ll head to our next project which we will find out soon!

This program has been such a positive experience for me and I hope to spread the word about NCCC. For information call 1-800-942-2677 or visit www.americorps.gov/nccc.

My team, Oak 3, at our site project for the next few weeks!

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The Student Organization for Alumni Relations (SOAR) presents the stories of couples who fell in love at EMU. Read about our third spotlight couple David and April Maikowski.

Names: David and April Maikowski

Relationship Status: Married

Anniversary Date: Dating: September 20, 1986, Married: June 23 1990.

Do you have children? How many? 2 Daughters

How did you meet?

First met at Phelps/Sellers brother/sister floor social activities our freshman year.  The following year our roommates in Buell started dating each other and things took off from there.

Where was your first date?

At Strong Auditorium for a movie.

Any cute memories you have together at Eastern?

My wife was an Early Education major and I used to meet her once awhile up at Boone Hall at its western entrance door to sit on the benches there and have an ice cream or coffee and talk (esp. in the springtime).  We also used to have a lot of fun bowling at McKenney Union and having pizza at the Tower Inn.

Years attended Eastern: Dave graduated in 1988 with a BA Cum Laude in Written Communications and April graduated with a BS with a Teaching Certificate for K-8.

Any romantic advice you would give to students:

Remember that true love puts the other person first in a relationship.  Be sure to give time for your relationship but also ensure you give adequate time to your studies and beginning your career.  College is a once in a lifetime chance to focus on who you are and who you want to be.  With the right person by your side, anything is possible for both of you.

To share your EMU love story, e-mail emulovestories@gmail.com. We look for couples who met at EMU – preference is given to couples where both partners are alumni.

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Written by: Caitlin Burns (Undergraduate Alumni Scholarship recipient)

Nowadays a lot of people believe that my generation doesn’t care about anything. It’s hard to blame them when you look at the voter turnout for the last election, but in the past month students at EMU have proved them wrong. Twice in the past month students from EMU have gone to the Capitol Building in Lansing to fight for their rights as students.

On Tuesday March  15th students gathered together with alumni and staff to take on Lansing. This day is known as “EMU Day” and is used as a day of advocacy for issues that are important to EMU. The students, faculty and alumni met with States Representatives and State Senators to talk about issues concerning the recent proposed budget cut from Governor Rick Snyder. This issue is something that will affect everyone involved with EMU from higher tuition for students to budget cuts throughout the University. Another talking point was getting funding to renovate Strong Hall. The new Mark Jefferson building was paid for by EMU and it is a truly beautiful and state of the art building. Unfortunately, it has Strong Hall attached to it which is by no means state of the art. EMU hopes to renovate this building in order to continue offering state of the art buildings such as Mark Jefferson and the currently being remodeled Pray Harold. The last talking point was a new bill that would allow community colleges to be four year colleges. This would hurt EMU by creating a bigger pool of competition for students. Also, it would hurt EMU by breaking the agreements they have with community colleges that allow transfer students to transfer 84-92 credits to EMU for their bachelor’s degree. These were all important issues that the group was lobbying for. It was great to see so many people fighting for EMU. I believe it was a great day and I will participate for as long as I can.

On Thursday March 28th students from EMU gathered together with college students from other universities to rally for higher education on the steps of the Michigan Capitol Building. Over 200 students showed up to show the legislators how important funding is to them. There were also guest speakers including the Mayor of Lansing Virg Bernero and student government participants from other universities. Everyone was bound together by a common goal and this was democracy at its finest. After the rally the 200+ students went into the Capitol Building to rally. Chants of “Whose House? OUR HOUSE” could be heard echoing throughout the Capitol Building. It was nice although this led to students not being let in the House Chamber where the Representatives were meeting but I believe we made a big impact nonetheless.

It was a great month for student rights and hopefully the fight for student rights will continue on. Students can make an impact by contacting their State Legislators and telling them about the issues that are important to them. I believe this truly showed how important funding is to students and showed we really do care about what happens to us and the future of higher education.

EMU students in Lansing - advocating for higher education

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Advancing alumni relations…

Written by: Dan Mathis (GOLD Guy in Alumni Relations)

It has been quite a while since I have stole a few minutes to write a post for the blog… we have been hosting some great content (thanks to some fantastic student volunteers, scholarship winners, and alumni)… but I have drifted from my meta-blogging and updates on alumni activities at EMU. So, here it goes, just a few thoughts for the minute.

Our alumni chapters are ripe with potential…

Since becoming the Interim Executive Director, I have been working much more closely with our alumni chapters than ever before. And, I have realized the challenges of motivating a group of alumni volunteers who share a major, a location, or an affinity. Particularly hard for these organization is identifying a key central purpose, whether it be raising funds for a scholarship or offering career development opportunities. What I have learned is… each group has to find its unique purpose. And, that simply copying from another group will lead to troubled waters.

With that in mind, I want to create a set of best practices and activities to discuss with our chapter leaders – I have been calling them “modules” to share as potential “ready-made” frameworks (not exact plans) for chapter activities. It’s one of my many ideas to help develop these communities. I turn to this online community for any thoughts or guidance!

Learn more about our alumni chapters on our website.

Calling all visionaries…

Alumni activities are at a crossroads as we try to push the envelope and play catch up to connect with all the current trends and the needs of our constituents. I would love to offer (for example) career programming that opens doors for all of our alumni, but, quite frankly, I am one person. We need networks of alumni in business, education, health care, politics – in every industry/sector/field – to create professional alumni networks that our graduates can leverage to be successful. So, if you are a big picture thinker… some one who believes in Eastern Michigan University and has an idea how we can push the Alumni Association to stay fresh, relevant and beneficial… I want to hear your ideas.

Let me know what’s on your mind,



Twitter: Dan_EMUAlumni

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