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Southern Virginia University

Posts with the tag: Service

  1. Q&A: Erik Flores, VP of Academics and Service

    March 18, 2016

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    In the past week you may have noticed that campaigning for next year’s Student Association positions has begun. As you consider which candidate will get your vote, we’re continuing to interview this year’s members of the Executive Council to better understand the responsibilities each position entails. Erik Flores, vice president of academics and service, had a lot to say about his experience serving the Southern Virginia community.

     Q: What are your responsibilities on the Executive Council?

     Erik: I am the Vice President of Academics and Service … [I] plan and carry out various service projects both on and off campus. … It’s the really fun portion of the job. And the school has done a pretty good job of being known in the community for being leader-servants, so many of the jobs get sent our way. For the academic portion, one of the main functions is the faculty appreciation dinner. Some of our goals early on in the year were to promote the historical societies and to work with alumni to help our students receive jobs. … In this position it can become very easy for service to become the priority just because there’s so much more demand for the service to be accomplished. … The increase in service through athletics has also helped mediate the burden between just the service council to more broadly include the student community. Men’s lacrosse made a commitment to find someone to serve every Saturday, and the team has done a fantastic job of making sure that vision has come to pass. So I think [Southern Virginia Athletics] has done a tremendous job in making sure community service needs have been attended to.

     Q: Why did you choose to run for Executive Council?

    Erik: I’m a first generation college student, and I’ve had a lot of gratitude to [Southern Virginia]. … I’ve been able to participate in the Fading Point, which [worked] very closely with the admissions department to directly help people come to know more about Southern Virginia. … And I saw the EC role as an opportunity to more directly affect the affairs of the school and just make it run well. I have a great love for this institution and I wanted to make sure that a candidate with that love was part of the EC. [My second year at Southern Virginia] I was able to serve as the service senator, which helped me to work really closely with Dan Cline, who was the VP of Academics and Service that year. … I loved what he was able to do and how he was able to contribute [by] planning projects that helped not just our school but also the community. [I wanted to help] the school that I love and the community that I love [by] bridging gaps through service so that the [Buena Vista] and Lexington community could know who we are.

    Q: How was your campaigning experience?

    Erik: [It was] difficult just because I had never done anything of the sort before. I was really surprised and grateful for people that … were willing to help in the creation of posters and various campaign paraphernalia. Very creative people came to me and said, “Erik, I want to help,” and helped make posters and just generally spread the word. … I realized it wasn’t just my burden; there were people who believed in me and what I wanted to do for the school and would help me accomplish it.

    Q: What has been the best part of being on the EC?

    Erik: Being able to see the growth of the next generation of [Southern Virginia] leaders. … I was able to meet a lot of students that have that enthusiasm and love for this campus … and hopefully to give them knowledge so that they can have an impact on this school. It will take a lot of time and work, but they can do it, and hopefully I’ve been a mentor to students to help them know that they can implement change. … Just to get to know them has been the greatest part of this role.

    Q: What kind of student would be a good fit for your position?

    Erik: A go-getter. Someone [who is] not looking for a resume booster, [but] someone that genuinely cares. … A genuine person that loves this school and is willing to work through red tape and policies and procedures to get the job done. … I want people to know that if you want to get it right it takes time [and] it takes heart.

    Q: Why should other students run?

    Erik: There’s a lot that needs to get done and there’s a lot of responsibilities that this role has, and it would be a tremendous burden on the school if this position wasn’t a thing. … The quote that hangs outside the business office [says that] in the world you get paid in two ways: you get paid in money and in experience. In this role you will get paid in experience. If that’s what you’re looking for, this role is a great opportunity to get hands-on experience, … to know how to work with people, [learn] to work with people that disagree with your opinion, and know how to disagree agreeably. … if you’re looking for stuff like that, this is great for that.

    Q: Anything else you want to add?

    Erik: I wish I could have done more, but I was grateful that I was able to … see that there are students on the campus that are super talented and super go-getters! I got to meet a freshman that came in this year that has incredible artistic ability and a really kind heart and she saw a need in the community that she and her roommate and these students could address. … And she doesn’t have a responsibility, per se, but she’s a go getter — she’s that motivational elite student that President Wilcox talks about. [Executive Council is] not mysterious, there’s not a hidden agenda … the things we talk about are just the needs of the students and how we think we can best fulfill them.

    Q: Are you glad you did it?

    Erik: I’m so glad I did it. … [I learned] that it takes guts to get good stuff going. Just because it’s a good idea doesn’t mean the road to accomplish it is going to be easy. It’s a laboratory to learn that good initiatives take time. I wouldn’t have learned that so deeply if it weren’t for this opportunity in student government.

    (Post by Lauren Hafen ’16.)

  2. Orientation 2015: Day Three

    September 2, 2015

    Rise Up for Honor has become one of the most essential parts of new student orientation, a testimony to Southern Virginia’s focus on a positive learning environment and personal development. No one can deny that the Code of Honor and the university’s core values are an enormous part of what makes Southern Virginia the sort of place where good people can come to be better, and where they’ll find others who are striving to do the same.

    This year’s Rise Up for Honor included speeches by current student Laine Thompson (‘16), alumna Allison Walker (‘13) and Dr. Jan-Erik Jones.

    Thompson compared Southern Virginia Knights to the Marines, referencing standards of chivalry and service. Walker, who recently received a master’s degree in theology, imagination and the arts at the divinity school of Scotland’s University of St. Andrews, drew connections between modern and classical theology, stressing the importance of religion to a fulfilling life.

    “Religion provides the living force by which morality is livable and enjoyable,” she said.

    Dr. Jones was the concluding speaker and incorporated the orientation’s theme, “All In,” into his message, arguing that a person cannot be honorable without being “all in.”

    “Men and women of honor keep their commitments,” he said. “Men and women of honor finish what they start. … You right now have started. … The kind of person you are if you keep your commitments, if you are a finisher, will honor you for the rest of your life, and it will honor us. And we will say that he or she is one of us, he or she is a Knight… Welcome.”

    Following this introduction to the university and its standards, dozens of Southern Virginia University students performed community service in Buena Vista, Va. The acts of service included painting fences, beautifying city parks and weeding the community garden.

    Though service has long been a part of Southern Virginia’s new student orientation, this was one of the most far-reaching and extensive projects. Brian Brown, Buena Vista’s director of economic development said that this was the “highest attended event [he has] had” and that the 32 gallons of paint “doubled” the amount of painting usually done in this project.

    “It’s a great group of kids,” Brown said. “I look forward to doing multiple projects in the future.”

    Joseph Bouchelle, dean of students at Southern Virginia, explained that service has been incorporated into new student orientation to stress that it is an essential part of the university’s “mission to prepare leader-servants.”

    “This is often one of the most memorable aspects of orientation, and one where some great new friends are made,” he said.

    (Post by Madeleine Gail Rex ’16. Photos by Hannah King ’13 and Jordan Wunderlich ’15.)

  3. Student Travels Abroad to Serve, Represents Scholarship at Memorial

    August 11, 2015

    e-bonney-1There’s no denying that Southern Virginia tries to instill in its students an appreciation for what it really means to be a leader-servant, but that mission’s success isn’t really tested until students and alumni take it upon themselves to embody the leader-servant attitude beyond campus.

    Senior Elizabeth Bonney, a liberal arts and English major and recipient of the Jackson Casey scholarship for the last two years, has attempted to do just that. She represented the recipients of the Jackson Casey scholarship at ThanksUSA’s 4th annual Jackson Casey Memorial Golf Tournament last month, chosen because of her willingness to be a dedicated student as well as an ambitious leader-servant.

    The Jackson Casey Fund was established in memory of Jackson Casey, an eleven-year-old boy whose death — and life — inspired his family to grant scholarships in his name to family members of those in the military.

    “Our mission is to keep the memory and spirit of Jackson Casey alive throughout the community by providing college scholarships for the children of our nation’s soldiers,” the ThanksUSA website says.

    Bonney, whose father is a recently retired Army officer, was surprised and excited by the honor of representing recipients of the scholarship.

    “I felt awesome. I was so excited,” she said.

    e-bonney-3Bonney recently spent a semester in China as part of the International Language Programs teaching English to elementary-aged children. Previous to attending Southern Virginia, she and her 13 siblings moved numerous times — “16, I think” — around the world, from Missouri to Senegal. After one move, she spent more than six months in Tanzania. While there and attending an international school, she served in a local orphanage, teaching young Tanzanian children how to speak English and how to swim, as well as at a school for mentally handicapped children of similar ages.

    “I helped them paint, and we did clay and drawing,” she said. “It was really fun. … We helped them swim, and we also played games with them.”

    Bonney said that her desire to be involved has extended to her experience at Southern Virginia as well, which she discovered when she joined the women’s lacrosse team her first semester.

    “Once you’re at this school, you have so many opportunities to do things,” she said. “This school really does have a lot going on, and once you get out of your comfort zone … you’ll get so much more involved, and your experience will be so much better.”

    After graduating from Southern Virginia next spring, Bonney hopes to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before pursuing her career.

    “I really want to be an international school teacher,” she said. “[And] at the beginning, I want to work with the Peace Corps.”

    In the meantime, she’ll continue to serve, this time as a senior senator for the 2015-2016 academic year.

    The Jackson Casey Memorial Golf Tournament took place on July 13 in Alexandria, Va. to fundraise for future scholarships.

    (Post by Madeleine Gail Rex ’16. Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Bonney ’16.)

  4. Missionary Preparation at Zion’s Camp

    August 4, 2015

    Last week over 50 young men and women visited Southern Virginia University for Zion’s Camp — a six-day preparation experience for Latter-day Saint missions. The objective of the camp is to give youth an instructive preview of missionary life, including serving with an assigned companion, cooking meals, studying daily on your own and with your companion, dressing like a missionary, using social media for missionary work and teaching gospel principles in person.

    “It’s preparing you to go on your mission,” said Kristian Dorman, who participated in the camp in June. “Because you have [missionary] experiences, it’s a lot easier to visualize [what a mission is like].”

    This is the university’s third year sponsoring Zion’s Camp. The camp has attracted youth from all over the east, mid-west and beyond. The camp schedule includes daily study and training from returned-missionary counselors, zone conferences, practice in teaching, a hike and an actual teaching experience on the final morning of the camp.

    John Cotton, another camp participant, especially enjoyed the camaraderie he felt with other participants.

    “You’re not just growing by yourself individually. You’re also growing together within a district, like a family,” Cotton said. “It makes me want to go on a mission more.”

    (Post by Stephen Taylor ’15. Photos by  Bronwyn Himes ’17 and Jordan Wunderlich ’15.)

  5. Q&A: FCD Seniors Serve Community through Capstone Project

    April 23, 2015

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    Every year, graduating seniors in the family and child development major execute senior capstone projects intended to both benefit the community and provide students with real-world experience and practical application of their education.

    Daria Watts and Yvette Yanes, both seniors and family and child development majors, completed their capstone projects by presenting on the philosophy of the growth mindset to parents at a non-profit organization in Buena Vista, Va. I sat down with them to discuss their experiences with the project, their time at Southern Virginia, and their hopes for the future after walking at Commencement next month.

    Q: What did you two do for your capstone project? Why did you choose to speak about the growth mindset?

    Daria: The senior capstone project is picking a place and going and presenting something to them. There are papers along with it and a research paper you have to do to develop your understanding. First, you go to meet with the person in charge. And then you go, and you ask them what they think their parents or their participants would want to hear.

    Yvette: We each took a subject that we particularly liked within the growth mindset and we did research and filled each other in. We wanted to be able to make the presentation very understandable for parents who have no idea what the growth mindset is, or the fixed mindset. And the person who was in charge of the organization [was] very willing and very excited to learn about what we had to say about it as family and child development majors.

    IMG_7252Q: What do you hope the parents learned from your presentation on the growth mindset?

    Daria: Well, [Buena Vista] doesn’t have a lot of resources, so the one point we wanted to get across to the parents was that their children could do [anything] they wanted to do.

    We wanted them to understand that the way you think about yourself and the way you think about your actions can influence what you do with your life. So, if you think that you can practice and that you can get better at things, you’re going to.

    Yvette: I personally hope that the parents are able to understand that even at their age right now they’re still able to develop a growth mindset and that just because you’re older than your 20s doesn’t mean you have to stop learning or stop developing these skills and talents and abilities. And from that, we hope that they were able to take away [the idea], “If I can still learn, then my children can continue to learn even more and improve even more.”

    Q: Why did you choose to study family and child development? What do you hope to do with your degree once you’ve graduated?

    Daria: I’ve always wanted to be a therapist for kids and families [and] parents who are having marital issues, like a family court appointed therapist. When I was younger, my parents [were] divorced. I did have to [go through] that, so I want to be a person who kids can trust. But now I’m leaning toward being a marriage therapist.

    It relates to my family, and I want to just help people. My mom will just call me sometimes — I have an eight year old sister — and [my mom will] talk to me about a problem she might have with parenting. I can look at what I’ve been reading and share it, and she’ll be like “Whoa.” If it’s benefiting her, it can benefit everyone, because I think she did a good job with me.

    IMG_7235Yvette: Initially I [wanted] to be a family lawyer, but within my major I started to have a fondness for wanting to help people in more of a social science area than from a legal perspective. I particularly want to go into counseling with at-risk teens because as a child — I’m from the D.C. area — I saw a lot of children struggling, a lot of teenagers struggling when they grew up.

    And so that’s what influenced changing my mind from being a lawyer to wanting to be a counselor for teenagers and for women who have struggled with this before. And also I hope to just help within the world. That’s what our school is all about, you know, becoming leader-servants, and it has really influenced me [to want] to just make the world better in small ways.

    Q: Is there a particular class or professor at Southern Virginia that has influenced you the most?

    Daria: I would say Professor Rodriguez because he’s the head of the major, but also whenever he teaches, he gives examples and stories, and that’s what I relate to when I’m learning. And so, I’ll think of something, and I’ll think “[Dr.] Rodriguez solved it with this.” He’s really helped me understand the things that I’m learning. We go over it and explain it, and we learn how to apply it. That’s what we do in the major — [we] learn how to apply what [we’ve] read to help other people.

    Yvette: The class that has influenced me the most was taught by Dr. Rodriguez [and] was “Adult Development and Aging.” The class taught me not only how adults continue to develop in every aspect but it taught me that it’s never too late to learn something. In other words, the more people learn or improve as they age, the more fun life becomes.

    IMG_7229Q: What has been the most valuable part of your education at Southern Virginia? How do you think it will continue to affect you?

    Daria: I definitely think — well, meeting my husband was pretty important — but I think having the small class sizes is one of my favorite things about [Southern Virginia].

    I’m more outgoing now than I ever was in high school. I’m more involved than I ever thought I’d be. I’ve been involved in so much, and I think that’s helped me see that I can be involved and I can be a leader, but I can also be a follower. I can be beneficial to whatever situation I’m put in.

    I also love that it’s LDS. I love the standards, and I love that [before a] class, we can say a prayer. In some classes, we say prayers before tests, and that really helps me out.

    I definitely wouldn’t pick another school, doing it again. That’s for sure.

    Yvette: Because we have such a small environment professors actually take time and want to take care of you and make sure that you as an individual are doing okay, that you are able to reach your potential. [Dr. Rodriguez] helps a lot in understanding “Okay, what do you really want to do and what do you really like and why are you studying this?”

    I think that the small environment that we have is so perfect for us to find out who we are and what we want to do with our life. [And] we get the plus side of being in an LDS environment where you feel close to Heavenly Father, who also [plays] a huge part [in] finding out who you are, you know? Even if you’re not LDS, it really helps you understand, “Okay I’m this person, and I can grow within this particular area because I have professors who care about me, and I have this sense of why I’m here at Southern Virginia.”

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    (Post by Madeleine Gail Rex ’16. Photos by Jordan Wunderlich ’16.)