senseofcommunity

David Williams, president and CEO of Make-a-Wish Foundation, presented as the keynote speaker at the Husky Leadership Summit.  As an alum, Williams was proud to meet the Bloomsburg University’s chapter of Make-a-Wish.

“The club was extremely excited to meet Mr. Williams as we have been trying to meet with him since the club was started in 2013 by Kalie Reichenbauch, a wish child herself,” said Brittany Kruchinsky, president of BU Wishmakers. “We had a great time and learned a lot more about Make-A-Wish then we previously knew! We also enjoyed hearing about all the different wishes that were granted over the years.”

BU Wishmakers set aside specific goals for their future, such as raising enough money to grant another child’s wish, much like in 2014 when they donated $1,000 that helped send a local wish child to Disney World. They also want to raise awareness for families to come out to campus and speak about their experience with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

According to Williams, the Make-a-Wish Foundation has some large dreams as well. The foundation granted about 15,000 wishes in the last year, which is only half of their overall goal of 27,000 wishes.

“If we want to double the amount of wishes we grant, we need to double the amount of donations and money we raise,” Williams said in his keynote address. “One hundred percent of kids in critical condition are eligible for a wish and have the opportunity to receive a wish. It just comes down to the process of reaching out to inform individuals that Make-a-Wish is here to help. It’s so much more than giving your kid a great day.  You guys are awesome in so many ways for getting involved.”

— Megan Hawbecker, mass communications major

Today, women are underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In the United States, women represent half of the college-educated workforce, but only 29 percent of women work in fields of science and engineering.

One-way Bloomsburg University attempts to combat those statistics with Girls In STEM Day. GI STEM Day encourages local girls to get excited about the STEM field. The day is designed to teach girls how to enjoy both learning about science, technology, engineering, and math and how to be successful in school in STEM subjects.

Not only do girls get hands-on experience, but several education and nursing majors get the opportunity to put their teaching skills to the test.  

“For college students, we learn how to manipulate the way we think and explain things, so that it makes sense to a younger group of kids,” said Victoria Ford, nursing major.

Future teachers and nurses had just as much fun as the girls participating. It was all worth while at the end of the day when they heard a young girl run over to her dad, asking him if they could recreate the experiments at home. It was a day of excitement and encouragement as BU students learned how to make young girls more comfortable with science.

“It is key to be introducing these girls to STEM concepts, because they often do not realize how many opportunities are out there for them,” Ford said.

Each station at the event was a different activity that focused on a different subject.

For example, one station was the human body system and another was CPR and first aid. The education and nursing student volunteers helped the groups by describing the activity, explaining the concepts, and keeping the girls excited about science.

“By showing young girls that women are succeeding in STEM careers, we can give these young students role models that inspire them help them become passionate about science, and show them that they too can succeed in these fields,” said Nikita Loreman, education major.

— Hannah Miller, history major

3

Student panels explore topics of diversity

From political correctness to police brutality, diversity has become a key issue in today’s current political climate.

Through Bloomsburg University’s Institute for Culture and Society (ICS), the “Bloomsburg Explores Diversity” symposium aims to tackle issues relating to diversity from race to gender to religion.  

In the series’ first student panel, “Race, Ethnicity and Racism,” students discussed what racial diversity means in today’s society.

The diverse student panel – Facia Sirleaf, Aubyn Johnson, Monica Abdalmessih, Alexis Mendoxa, Quadirah Locus and Ian Severson - featured multiple perspectives on complex issues of race and ethnicity. Moderated by communication studies professor Erin Brummett, the panel hit upon several aspects of race and ethnicity through personal experiences and insights.

“It’s important to educate ourselves on things that not only impact ourselves but impact all of us,” Sirleaf said.

Throughout the discussion, the panelists often talked about their personal experience. From the local Bloomsburg community to national incidents, the panelists opened up larger conversations through their experiences and the challenges they face. Discussing implicit forms of racism, micro-aggressions, and what race and ethnicity meant to them lead to conversations on what can be done to be a more accepting and diverse world.

“A lot of people just don’t know about other cultures,” said Johnson, “and they don’t seek to know about other cultures.”

Towards the end, the panel opened up to a Q&A session with the audience. After hearing the personal experiences and thoughts of the panelists, many asked what can be done to change the community and how to be a good ally.  Several audience members brought up their own experiences and their thoughts on what could be done.

“The conservation doesn’t end here,” remarked Brummet at the end of the panel.

— Nicole Keiser, mass communications major

Student Panel 1: Race, Ethnicity and Racism — Tuesday, Feb. 28, moderated by Erin Brummett, assistant professor of sommunication studies.

  • Facia Sirleaf
  • Johnson Aubyn
  • Monica Abdalmessih
  • Alexis Mendoza
  • Quadirah Locus
  • Ian M. Severs

Student Panel 2: Gender and Sexual Identity — Tuesday, March 7, moderated by Malik Muhammed, coordinator of Sexual and Gender Diversity.

  • Laura Brauw
  • Alex Hazaard
  • Gina Rodriguez
  • Dreland J. Goar
  • Gary C. Phillips
  • Madeline Berardella
Sense of community. Bumping into people. Collaboration.

As humans we were designed to be social, be around a “tribe” of people and work together.

Last night I was surrounded by new and old friends over drinks. We just carried on about our lives, different cultures, issues, new ideas and had a ton of laughs. Having a tribe or sense of community is such a wonderful feeling. In addition to the good feeling, your community of people will bring a different perspective to issues, struggles, successes and etc. They will cause you to look through a different lense.

A sense of community is wonderful but can become your comfort zone. Bumping into new people should also be a part of your day. Otherwise you will not see things differently that you tribe. You may start to see a little bit more group think or similar thinking. People may not challenge your view because you see things the same way. Without challenge, their is no improvement. Challenge yourself to interact with one new person each day. It will keep life exciting, it will be a challenge and it will keep you on your toes.

Work with people on new ideas. Work with others on problems. Ask questions. Listen to others discussion to learn. Bounce an idea off of a few friends and see where it goes. Meetup with a cohort of friends for a working lunch and see how you can help each other. Randomly converge on a local coffee shop for a cup of coffee and bring some of the problems you are struggling with.

Stay creative. Keep friends around. Look for different people to bump into.