Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Get out and connect!

We’re fortunate enough to have a furnished kitchen in the PR House. With a fridge and microwave in the office, we don’t have to even leave the house for lunch. It’s great, as far as time and financial management goes. As far as connecting with “the other side of campus,” not so much.

Then a very terrible/fortunate thing happened. The microwave died.

While we have been going over to The Commons for lunch a couple times a month -this week however, we’ve made the trek more often. Luckily for us, it’s Homecoming week.

It’s been fun to watch Homecoming week student activities during lunch. The video game Rock Band was set up on the big screen on Monday. Today students were painting shirts in preparation for tonight’s Blacklight Dodgeball.

The J. Denny Beaver bobblehead figurine made its debut Tuesday noon, introduced with a special video by senior art major Todd Trotter. Judging by the number of bobblehead photos posted online, I’d say it’s a hit. A limited number of figurines are available for $10 each. It’ll be interesting to see if any are left to sell come game time on Saturday!

Speaking of Saturday. The latest weather report has the weekend as a beautiful, typical fall weekend; sunny, blue skies and highs in the upper 50s/lower 60s. Perfect. Not that all of Saturday’s events will be outside.

A series of special email invitations have been sent to alumni in the past couple weeks; invitations to the football brunch, the alumnae breakfast, softball and baseball reunion games. Additional events include The Lion and Lamb Peace Arts Center open house with special guest founder Libby Hostetler, an artist’s reception for alumnus Philip Sommer’s exhibition of architectural sculpture and a book signing by author Elizabeth Raid ’66.

Oh, and of course, there are home fall sports contests scheduled. The volleyball team will put their 10-7 record on the line as they take on Anderson Friday night and on Saturday the football team will play Earlham and the women’s tennis team will take on Franklin.

Just like lunch at Marbeck offers a prime opportunity for us to reconnect with colleagues, this weekend will be a great time to reconnect with classmates, teammates and others from your years at Bluffton.

Now if I could just make it out of The Commons without an ice cream cone, all would be good.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What a change two weeks makes

A little more than two weeks ago I was asked to take photos during first-year student move-in day - specifically photos of happy, smiling, excited students and their parents. Let me just say, that was not an easy assignment.

Now photos of anxious, nervous, overwhelmed, conflicted students and parents? That would have been an easy shot. Emily and her family did allow me to take a ‘before’ photo of her room on move in day. 

Let’s hear it for the good folks in student life who organize and energize Fall Welcome/Orientation activities. With picnics, floor meetings, silly games, welcome group sessions, trips to the “Whippy Dip,” line dancing on Main Street, Faculty & Staff Follies, and so much more, new students are encouraged to mingle, to get acclimated to their new surroundings, and to not hide in their rooms.

Don’t you just love the transformation in emotions shown in Emily's “before” photo and the “after” with her roommie? It doesn’t take long for Bluffton to become a “home-away-from-home.”

President Jim Harder spoke about student-led initiatives in his annual President’s Forum yesterday morning. He told about a Bluffton University Sustainability Commitment document presented by the 2010-11 Student Senate Sustainability Committee.

He said, “It is a comprehensive document, seeking to identify practical steps that we can take (and in some cases already are doing) to reduce, reuse and recycle material items. The sustainability commitment speaks to understanding the importance of reducing our energy consumption. It speaks to understanding the importance of reducing water usage, and of using recycled products. It asks Bluffton to work at making the long-term transition to cleaner energy… Today, I am announcing that I will sign this document, moving our existing campus commitment to environmental action to an even higher level. I want to thank our student leaders for their excellent work and for their challenge to become involved in environmental stewardship.”
(full President's Forum presentation text)

So Welcome New Students. Now that your room is situated and you’ve become comfortable making your way across campus, here is your challenge. Find your niche. Make a difference. Leave a positive mark on your new “home.”
Introducing new students to a Bluffton staple, The Whippy Dip!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

First impressions

We all know that putting too much stock in a first impression is a mistake. Abe Lincoln is reported to have said “I don't like that man. I must get to know him better.”

I wonder what caused him to say “I don’t like that man?” Was it his dress, his hair? Too often good (and bad) first impressions are made by the way we present ourselves, by the clothes we choose to wear.

I get a kick out of watching fashion statements in the Commons at lunch: mostly jeans, sweatpants, tees, sweatshirts and flip flops year-round. It’s completely appropriate attire for a college student on campus, but not so much when venturing off campus for internships, clinical practice and field experiences.

Professional clothing drive

Support staff on campus, known as The Backbone, is organizing a professional clothing drive to help Bluffton students make a good first impression. Clothing will be collected Sept. 15-20 and then distributed at no charge to students who are in an internship, clinical practice or educational field experience.

What a great incentive to clean out closets! No longer worn office attire may be donated at Marbeck Information Desk, or during normal office hours to the Student Life Office in Riley Court. Faculty and staff were told that “It would be very helpful if clothing was clean and somewhat pressed.” Any clothing not chosen by the students will be donated to Et Cetera Shop.

It’s too bad all people are not like good ol’ Abe, willing to look past an unfavorable first impression. But the truth is: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
Let’s do what we can to give Bluffton students what they need to make their first professional impression count.