One of the greatest experiences I have had the incredible opportunity to partake in at MSU is being the President of Students Against Sexual Assault (SASA). The position was handed to me and I am forever thankful. You never know how life is going to work out. When I got on board with SASA, I was literally involved in everything under the sun. At one point I was in close to 15 different extra circulars. I went to Alanna, VOICE center director, and asked if I could help rejuvenate SASA. I knew that I of course cared about the cause, but at the time I had no idea how important it would become.

Alanna gave me the reigns to restart the organization and structure it how I would like. I am doing this in the midst of taking a full course load and being involved in a ton of things. So I make it happen. It went from just me to 12 very active members, and many more semi-active members. We held a fundraiser in which we raised $2,400 for the Survivor Fund. The survivor fund is a student ran fund that offers financial support to organizations and survivors for the gaps that regular funding misses.

We just co-sponsored Take Back the Night in which we organized a rally and March. The energy at the event was incredible and so empowering. It made me feel so alive and like we were making a difference. We marched from the Strand Union Building to downtown Bozeman while Chicks With Sticks (a female bucket drum corps) lead the march.

When I signed on to SASA I had never worked with sexual assault awareness. Today as I write this, I have relinquished almost every involvement I had and now eat, live, and breathe SASA. I was also chosen to hold a chairman position for a campus wide sexual assault awareness coalition. I am obsessed with this line of work, it is were so much of my passion lies: I never saw it coming. The trajectory of my life has changed; I thought I always wanted to be a lawyer, and since all of this I have decided to go to grad school and continue to work in this field.  I have gotten an amazing internship working on these issues that was given to me, no application or anything, they came to me.

All of these great opportunities have happened without me expecting them. They happened because I let myself follow my passion and approach what I do with good intentions. But, regardless of all the great “career opportunities” what is really the best part is the people I get to spend me time with. Because they give me memories like these….

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So my advice to you is to follow your passions and let my mind run wild with interest when you come to college. Because the time for it is now, while we are young. Also the quote below changed my perspective on the world; maybe it will do the same for you.

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” -Howard Thurman

 

 

 

 

Spring Break

We had our spring break this year the second week in March which is a bit early for many breaks, but it was nice none the less. I have never really had a spring break before. I mean yes I have had a week off from classes like everyone else, but I have never left town or gone to a far away destination. However, this year I finally had a story book spring break. I had the amazing opportunity to go to Boston, Mass. for the entire week.

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This wonderful human being, my friend Kelly, is who I went to visit. She is my best friend and I hadn’t seen her in a year and a half. The story is that I had spring break plans for months; I was going on a service project to a town in Montana. However, my plan fell through at the last minute. So only one week before break I rashly bought a ticket to Boston to go see Kelly. You may be wondering how this post has anything to do with my life at MSU. This post is about being you and being in college: new experiences.

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I had only flown once before to DC my junior year of High School. I have never been outside the northwest except to DC. I grew up in a town of 300, so a city is a huge culture shock to me. I will admit that I was scared. My trip to Boston was incredible, I got to feel and experience so many new things. For example, I have never seen such contrast in history. The picture above is of the original Boston city hall, and it is surrounded by all those towering new skyscrapers. This blew my mind in the beauty of how rapidly the world we lives in changes.

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My friend lived in Somerville, Mass. so how I got to the train every morning, to take it into the city, was to walk on this sidewalk. This sidewalk is in Harvard Yard, that’s right I walked through Harvard multiple times a day. I got to walk through Harvard! I hope you are grasping the reality of the situation. I have dreamt of laying my eyes on Harvard my entire life and then I got to see it everyday for a week.

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I have only seen the ocean twice in my life. Once in Washington and the other time in California. From this picture, the city is ahead of me and behind me is the Harbor. That means I was at the edge of the United States, the only thing between Europe and myself was water. It was so beautiful. What was also intriguing was that person sitting on that bench. Every time I went down to the water there was always someone just like them pondering their thoughts and staring into the bay. I wonder how many life struggles have been solved on these benches.

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This building is the setting for my favorite TV show “Boston Legal.” It took me a minute to find it. The day before I found it I had actually walked right by in and admired it with out realizing what it was and how incredible it is. This transpired upon returning to Bozeman. After being away for one week, the first time I was on campus again I looked at Cobleigh Hall and it looked more beautiful then ever, I walk through it everyday.

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Kelly and I went to the Museum of Fine Arts; I can count on one hand how many museums I have been to. It was so huge and spectacular. I saw a Monet and Van Gogh in person. I didn’t think I would ever see art that beautiful first hand with my own two eyes. There was also all of this ancient art as well as Kelly exhibits above.

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Here I am eating a cannoli. I had never had the pleasure of enjoying one of these incredible creations before and it was incredible! I mean literally the best thing I have ever had in my life. After the first one I couldn’t stop, I ate a bunch all week. A cannoli is something we just don’t have very frequently in Montana, if at all so it was quite the treat!

So moral of the story. College is about trying new things and exploring who we are right? Right. I would have never gotten to experience any of these great things had I not taken a leap of faith and gotten on that plane, which I didn’t want to do because flying used to terrify me. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to try and find my bearing again while being lost in the city.

In reflection I would not have had any of the great times in college unless I had taken the leaps of faith and pushed through my fear and put myself out there.

“Always do what you are afraid to do.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Running For President

So I have already written a post about ASMSU, but I am writing another one. Because I just got done running for ASMSU President, which is the student body president, with my running mate Devlynn. I didn’t win unfortunately, I was runner up. Now don’t worry because I am not broken up about it. It was a fantastic experience and I learned a lot. So I wanted to write a blog about my experience and hopefully it will encourage you to run for a student government office.

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So first things first, we got our campaign pictures taken. This was one of many that we got done. This is when it really started to surprise me how much people are willing to help and how much they believe in you. For instance, these photos were take  by the first running mate I vetted Jen. She took three hours out of her busy schedule and got us a studio on campus and did a photo shoot with us. It was amazingly fun, I had never gotten my photos taken before and she did an incredible job.

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Part of our campaign strategy was handing out condoms and candy on Valentines Day with a sticker that told them when to vote and who to vote for. This once again was so much fun, the night before a bunch of friends came over and helped us stuff all of the bags, there was 400 of them. Then a couple friends helped us hand them out on the mall; once again so many people wanting to help us. It was very heartwarming to have so many students support us.

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Then we had the first of two debates. I had never debated before, but it was also really cool. I like to talk and I love to talk about issues that pertain to students and I got to do that for an hour on two different occasions, ya can’t beat that. It is also really good public speaking experience ; the debates took place in the union market during lunch so there was hundreds of students watching.

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Something else I enjoyed was everywhere we went together we took photo ops. This one is from when we volunteered at the sweet tooth ball for Bridgercare on Valentines Day. It is part of campaigning to show constituents that you are out in the community and involved in things, but we do those things anyways it was just nice to have a bunch of great photos with Devlynn. Also the sweet tooth ball was a blast. I worked the bar for a bit, but many drank some wine and danced a lot.

This is just a little glimpse into what I did while campaigning, but I do recommend it for everyone who is interested. It was a great experience where I made a lot of friends (lost a couple too) and learned so much. I got a best friend out of the deal, Devlynn, and I met a ton of students I would have never met had I never run. Being a public servant (attempting to be) isn’t necessary easy emotionally, but if you want to give back it is totally wort it. If you don’t trust me trust this quote.

 “I feel like I have had the most amazing life in my public service.”-Hillary Clinton

Romney Gym

This post if going to be more of a photo spread of one of my favorite buildings on campus: Romney Gym. Below is the description of Romney from the MSU website.

Romney Gym was named for Ott Romney, Bobcat football and basketball coach in the 1920s. Romney is now home to Department of Health and Human Development faculty who teach in nutrition, health enhancement k-12, and health and human performance; Extension Nutrition programs; Team Nutrition; MUS Employee Wellness; and two movement science labs. It is located on West Grant Street, across from Hosaeus PE Complex and west of the Strand Union Building

Now this building is one of my favorites because it has so much history. Besides it is large and majestic and full of mystery. As approaching Romney this is what you will see from the mall. As you see there is currently a ton of snow. It is even more beautiful when surround my sprawling green grass.

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Once I get closer to Romney I am always in awe of its structure and the details of the architecture.

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Upon entering the building it isn’t super exciting besides that it appears to be old and outdated. You have the climb the stairs to the third floor in order to reach the gym which is looks like this…

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The only national championship that MSU ever one in men’s basketball was in this gym. I love this space so much, there is rarely anybody ever in it so it is a nice place to escape to if you need to get away from college life and be alone in a place full of wonder. The old bleachers in the gym always get me thinking of the people who have sat on them. The families. The kids who played underneath them after their attention span drew them away the game. Together with other children they enter an imaginary  space, a community under the bleachers in which other they belonged.

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To the west of the gym on the same floor sits the dance studio which is actually way larger than one would expect.

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You can maybe see me in the mirror taking the photo, its impossible in a room full of mirrors to not be in the photo. This space is great as well. They hold various dance classes in there and different student organization use the space for different events. I really enjoyed the large dance bar and the vertical radiators that line the wall.

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Well this was an insight into the beauty of Romney I highly recommend upon arriving at MSU to checking this building out. Maybe it will be your escape like it is mine. If so maybe I will bump into you under the bleachers.

“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” - Winston Churchill

International Food Bazaar

So I went to the International Food Bazaar yesterday that is held in the Ballrooms each year at MSU and it was incredible! I wasn’t expecting it to be nearly as big of deal as it was! There was a ton of people there! The event is held by the international programs and the money raised goes to various causes and organizations. So let me give you the run down.

I walk into the SUB the way I always do and my nose is encased in the most wonderful mixtures of cultural goodness. I proceed to toward the event and I hear music which I was not prepared for and I turn the corner and BAM! I see this!

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There are tons of people! Now, this is just a small glimpse of the overall size. The energy in the room was fantastic! I was at a complete loss as to what to do and then my friend Michael who I was meeting there found me and we proceeded with the adventure together.

So how it works it you get your ticket to gain entry into the bazaar. We did that then continued down to the ballrooms and went inside to get some food! I was blown away, I thought there was a lot of people out eating already and there was a ton more still getting food.

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It was awesome, you went around to all the countries and your bought food from them and then went and ate it. We have food from China, Jamaica, Peru, Panama, France, India, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil….I think I got them all.

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As we were eating our first round of food we watched this gentleman from I believe China sing and it was really cool! Here I am sitting in Bozeman, Mont. eating a steamed bun and Jamaica jerk chicken listening to this guy sign. Here is a link to a short clip of him singing that I took with my phone.

 

While we were sitting by the windows of the union market eating all these incredible creations my friend Ellie shows up! I have said it before but what I love about going to events on campus is you run into so many people you know and it gives you such a great sense of community. Ellie writes for the bozeman magpie and is a wonderful activist in our community.
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All in all I had a blast at this event and recommend it to everyone! We spent a couple hours there and it just flew buy with all the great food and the programming of signers and dancers from all over the world. Being surrounded by great people from every culture makes the world seem a little less scary.

“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.”-Maya Angelou

Safety at MSU

So…being an Advocat (the extremely peppy tour guides) I am asked a lot from parents about campus safety. I lead Student Against Sexual Assault, I live extremely close to campus, I spend the majority of my time on campus (even late at night), and I to and from downtown all the time. I am the guy to ask in other words. So I thought I would talk about campus safety to you in light of a recent event.

As you will read below there was a man committed of sexual assault once already and had been arrested for attempting to rape a woman with a knife that escaped from the county’s Law & Justice center aka the jail. In this post I want to demonstrate that even though Bozeman is very safe occasionally something like this happens and when it does we are notified properly and promptly.

The first notice I got was via text in the two snapshots below.

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I found this to be very appropriate. After the texts I got this email.

Gmail - Police search for escaped detainee near campus_ should be considered dangerous

After this email everywhere I walked I saw what is depictd below. They were on every door in every hall. Mind you this way a Saturday.

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Lastly when I went to log on to the Library’s computer to do some homework I saw this.

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So although sometimes things happen in this utopia I like to call Bozeman, Mont. the authorities respond very well. They want everyone to be aware of the situation and be safe. This is the first time something like this has happened since I have been at MSU and I was impressed how they handled it.

“The safety of the people shall be the highest law.”-Marcus Tullius Cicero

Student Involvement Profile: MASH

In this post I am going to profile a student organization I am part of because I feel student involvement on campus and in the community is a very important aspect of college life. So for this post I am going to talk about MASH. MASH stands for Montana Advocates for Sexual Health.

I have been helping organize this group since last semester and it has been a blast and I have learned a lot. The mission of MASH is:

Our mission is to promote healthy sexuality for all people by encouraging dialogue, creating awareness, educating our community, and supporting policies and practices that consider sexual health.

College is a time where we broaden our horizons on many different levels and we work to promote health in those regards. We participate and hold many different events on campus.

Most recently we participated in the involvement fair. This is an event held by OAE (office of activities and engagement) where any student organizations can come set up a booth and the student body and come from organizations to be part of. The picture below is of Kara and I sitting at our booth (we get support from bridgercare) educating students about what we do and recruiting new members as we.

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Recently we held a film screening on the 41st anniversary of Roe. v. Wade in which we had 70 people turnout for it. The screening was followed by a panel discussion with individuals from the community and a representative from planned parenthood.  Below is a photo from that event.

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We have our meetings every week on Thursday evenings at our meeting today we are going to be working on our dress for the Lace & Latex Fashion Show that is held by MSU health promotions. This fashion show is comprised of clothing made out of condoms in an effort to promote sexual health and safety of the students here on campus. Here is an example of what some of these clothes look like. The ones we make may not be this nice.

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Well there is a little insight to what MASH does. I really enjoy being part of student organizations and when come to MSU I recommend you get involved in something as well!

“I can’t imagine myself outside any kind of social or political involvement.”-Joe Saramago

Top 5 Places to Study

Okay so seeing how the semester is in full swing and I am studying pretty much all the time. Note to self: 6 upper division classes in Sociology results in hundreds of pages of reading a week. However, I enjoy it a ton so I shouldn’t complain. I have decided to present to you my top 5 favorite places to study and why they are dear to me. Please enjoy.

#1 My office in my apartment! 

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As you can see it is a very small office. However, it is my haven! I have a basement apartment and this room was oddly enough the old pantry. I don’t know why a one bedroom apartment needs a giant panty so I turned it into an office. I love studying here because it is pretty much like I crawl into a cave where no one can disturb me. It is usually utterly silents unless I have some classical music playing to relax me. I’m most efficient in this space; hence why it is my favorite. But, you can’t study here, not that I wouldn’t let you, it is a bit to small for two. So let’s get onto the places that you too can try out!

#2 The library! 

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Okay so I know the library has a bit of a stigma so hear me out. It have 4 stories, two of which are quite floors, and thousands of books and endless online references at your beckoning call. I do most of printing on campus with my cat card and there are tons of printers in the library so it makes it very convenient to study here. Everything you need including librarians that will help you out with finding research is all in one place. Also there is coffee shop that is open late in order to sustain life during those long nights.

#3 A coffee shop! 

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So I usually enjoy studying at Zocalo in downtown Bozeman if i study at a coffee shop. Although it doesn’t happen to frequently I love the atmosphere and the supply of beverages. They aren’t open that late to that is a bummer, but I usually will go on a weekend and just sorta of spend the day there. If I need to get a lot done I won’t go to coffee shops to study because I get distracted by watching all the people (sociology majors can relate) and don’t get as much work done.

#4 A random class room on campus!

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So this may seem strange, but I love doing homework in giant empty classrooms. I usually do this if I only have less an hour before my next engagement. I will just do into random empty class rooms and sit down at one of the desks, usually near the center of the room and do some homework. My favorite classroom to do this in is in Leon Johnson Hall, pictured above, it has a giant lecture hall through those doors that hold about 200 students. I feel the emptiness of the room allows the knowledge that has been present there before to swirl and class and be inspiring.

#5 The Bozeman Public Library!

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If I want to get away from campus and go some where that no one will recognize me I go here. As you can see the Bozeman Public Library is a stunning building. I choose this as my final one because it is quiet so I can get a lot of work done, but I can also admire the people and the view. Also there is a huge park and walking trails right behind the library so when the weather is nice I simple go site out in the grass under the trees and do my work.

Well there you have! These are the places this nerds spend the majority of his time. I am actually writing this blog from place #1 while drinking coffee by the gallon to try and get the day started. I hope you find as pleasant of places as mine to expand your horizons.

“The proper study of mankind is books.”-Aldous Huxley

TEXTBOOKS!

Okay so the time has  come again the semester is still within the first week and your classes don’t seem half bad and you are going to stick with them. This means that you have to buy your text books. Seeing that you are reading this; you have probably never had to buy a semester of books before. Let me be the first one to break the horrible news. Textbook are crazy expensive! I had a professor today that told me that when he was in school a whole semester of new books cost him about $100. I wish that was still the case. Now it can range from a couple hundred to a thousand dollars or more.

This post is to present you with some of your options when it comes to buying your textbooks. So shall we begin.

The first thing you do is go to this LINK and find the books you need. Once the website gives me the list I usually print it out in PDF format and save it on my computer for future reference.

Now that we have that accomplished we can go and buy our books.

Our first option is the MSU bookstore, which is located on the 1st floor of the Strand Union Building. Most of the books here will be new and original price but there also may be some used ones that are less expensive. The great things about using this store is that they have all the books you need and you don’t have to go searching for them and it is a non-profit bookstore and offers a lot of employment for community members and student as well. This is what the bookstore looks like so you can recognize it on campus.

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Another option is to buy your books from AMAZON you can usually find your books on here cheaper and there are tons more used options for when the bookstore runs out of copies. I also use amazon because I can sell my books back to them and I get amazon store credit for them. I just take the credit and use it to buy my books the following semester.

I have also rented my books in the past using CAMPUS BOOK RENTALS. When you choose to rent your books you can still highlight in them and treat them like your own and then you ship them back with a prepaid label at the end of the semester. This option also saves you quite a bit of money but you can’t keep them forever this way.

My advice when it comes to textbooks is: I have never re-opened a textbook after the semester was over. I do have some I kept for reference, but otherwise the information in them can always be obtained later on if you need it via other methods. So I would save the most amount of money you can because college gets expensive. Now if you will excuse me I need to go get my textbooks for this semester…

Happy book shopping!

“You cannot open a book without learning something.”-Confucius

Winter in Bozeman

The winter season in the quaint town of Bozeman is pretty awesome. Yes it is cold, but it is so beautiful her. If you are curious as to what Montana looks like in the winter click HERE for some photos that will give you a good idea. The other night I went on a walk at midnight through campus and I wanted to share my experience with you .

I stuck around for Christmas break which is about four weeks. I had no idea how quite and peaceful it was going to be. I live right by campus so my neighbor is a wasteland; all of the people and cars are gone. So when I stepped on to campus the other night I should have been prepared, but I wasn’t. I didn’t see anyone, I mean no one. I walked all over campus and never encountered another soul.

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I think the MSU campus is gorgeous; it is wide open and beautiful and I love how packed the mall gets in between classes. But, there was an eery beauty and grace about it while I walked around that night not encountering a fellow being.

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One thing that really struck me was Montana Hall. As you can see in the picture above it has this profound presence to it at night. It was perfect because during this walk snow began to fall…again and it added to the entire experience.

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The contrast between the semester and the winter break is startling, but necessary. College is fast pace and packed with people and it is as if the University takes winter break to get back to itself and remember what it is; in preparation to do it all over again.

Now that I have attempted to be a writer describing my winter wonderland walk; I want to tell you about some other things that make Bozeman great in the winter.

Obviously skiing! Personally I think Montana has some of the best snow. I grew up on the mountains here and I never skied on man made snow until I was 17. We have some of the best mountain in the world to ski on! Below are the links to all three!

Bridger Bowl

Big Sky & Moonlight Basin

Also if you aren’t much of a skier we have this great old historic theater in town that shows different old movies and plays and such, it is called the ELLEN.

Lastly, if you just like to sit around and read and drink coffee here is the link to my favorite coffee shop ICT. I highly recommend the Americanos and the blueberry muffins.

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn’t show.-Andrew Wyeth