Friday, December 4, 2015

A Look Back on Fall 2015 on Alumni Quad

This semester was a trying time for everyone. We watched as terrorists executed mass murders, schools participating in racist behavior, and the many occurrences of police brutality. The programs I've pushed for this semester, Mirror Mirror, The "F" Word, and Sushi Night, attempted to address the issues that plague our society in an interactive way.

My first program with CPE Faerie was Mirror Mirror which specifically focused on the issue of body image in America. It was a moving program with a great turn out. The students that attended readily spoke up about how irritating it is to look a certain way or be a certain way to receive the attention they want. We discussed topics ranging from plastic surgery to makeup to music to clothing options that accentuated specific body parts. This dialogue was not merely a conversation for women, many of the male students identified with the beauty standards that this society pushes on them and how these pressures have effected them as well. The interactive activity was having a few volunteers write on a mirror all the positive and negative things they see in themselves. Afterwards, the remaining audience openly spoke up about all the beauties they saw in the volunteers from personal experiences and first time impressions. It was heart warming to see the community of Alumni come together to ignore the standards of society.

In The "F" Word program, I took it upon myself to address the bullying towards the LGBT community that was still occurring. After witnessing an incident where some words ended up hurting a member of the LGBT community, a program like this was necessary. Again, turnout was amazing and all of the students were very engaging. First, I took a moment to debunk some of the remaining myths of the LGBT community. Then, we did the four corners exercise to get a chance to understand one another and openly express our feelings on many issues. Shocking things were shared and stories were appreciated, all over hot cups of coffee.

Sushi Night was my favorite program because it was our second annual program. It was more successful than before and a great way to continue building the community down on Alumni. Another RA and I explained the cultural significance of sushi to Asian countries and then taught the students how to make it themselves. We provided rice, crab, avocados, shrimp, cucumbers, and nori to make them. We explained the process and watched as some students made their first sushi rolls ever. RDs and the QC of Alumni even made some rolls. It was a great bonding experience with a couple 30 people.

Honestly, this semester was intense for me and that significantly inspired the programming I pushed wanted to do. I have experiences trauma and loss while dealing with the pursuit to a higher education. It was tough, but I know that just as I am going through somethings, others are experiencing things too. I have personally dealt with body image issues and it has affected the way I feel about myself and acted around others. It took a long time for me to become happy with the person I am. I think that can really relate to The "F" Word program and obviously Mirror Mirror. It can be annoying when someone else who barely knows you tried to state who you are. But, getting upset about these comments and critiques only continue the cycle. Gaining confidence, being consoled by friends, and believing in yourself makes it easier to push past all of it and pursue my own goals. And, I want the same for others who have felt this way or still do feel this way.

Carmel Joseph- Alumni Quad CHARGE Peer Educator

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Leave Hate Behind Reflection

The Leave Hate Behind program has been an deeply, emotional way for students to share what they have been through as they go about their life. Bullying is a serious topic and it begins with name-calling. People usually do not think of how hurtful the words are that they use on a daily basis. I understand that there is freedom of speech and expression, but there is also respect for the human beings as a whole. The program opens my eyes to the new words that people come up with to degrade another person. The evolution and the backgrounds of these words are baffling. I can recall from the Leave Hate Behind program last spring, a student explained to me what a "sand n***a" was. It was a derogatory term used to insult darker people of a Middle Eastern descent. The origin of the derogatory term is from America and how the whites of the time, used this term, to keep African Americans down. But, how the person evolved this term to degrade this student was powerful. So much strength and courage was displayed by these students that participated from this program. It was so empowering to see people leave these types of words in the past and look toward a better future that encourages respect for all. Thank you to those that came out and supported CHARGE and this program we put on in hopes of educating and empowering students.

Carmel Joseph, CPE for Alumni Quad

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

For the leave the hate program I thought it was truly powerful. My favorite part was getting closer to the ending because there this one girl was really passionate about covering the word faggot. She was like faggot I hate that word. She was going hard. In terms of changes I would have it on a different quads so it could affect more people. Also to make it better invite faculty to stop by. It's truly powerful to see students getting fired up. It is truly appreciating to see. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Introducing CPE Carmel Joseph

Hello, my name is Carmel Joseph and I am the CHARGE Peer Educator for Alumni Quad. I am a 19 year old senior at UAlbany on the pre-law track. My major is Political Science with a concentration in Public Law and I am minoring in History. I cannot exactly pin point when it was that I became so interested in law, but it is my passion. I am heavily intrigued by civil law and constitutional rights of people in the United States. Lately, the rights of many people were denied or completely forgotten about in general. My hopes, while in CHARGE, are to bring wisdom and a sense of enlightenment to other students seeking a better understanding of how others view the world around them. As a returning CHARGE Peer Educator, I have been a part of and witnessed the change in someone as they learn a new lifestyle and gain rich education from other students that are on campus. The experiences from the dialogues and programming CHARGE has done, has honestly opened my mind up to a lot of amazing ideas and cultures that I did not think about or consider beforehand. I am a busy bee, but I always can make time to meet and talk about different topics or just general conversations. I do live downtown, so when I am uptown I am up there for an extended period of time. Say hello when you see me!

Introducing CPE Michelle DeOcampo

     Hello everyone! My name is Michelle DeOcampo, and I am the CHARGE Peer Educator for Colonial Quad. I’m a senior majoring in Globalization and Social Welfare. I studied abroad in Cambodia during my sophomore year, and have also spent time in the Philippines. I also studied Mandarin and Tagalog during my junior year. When I’m not on Colonial Quad, you can find me around campus organizing advocacy campaigns as President of UAlbany Peace Action, interning at the Global Institute for Health and Human Rights, or volunteering with locally resettled refugees. I discovered my passion for social justice through my firsthand experiences in the developing world, and that passion grew as I experienced the diversity of our campus. As a CPE, I hope to get students in touch with their inner sense of humanity and equality, and to challenge us all to be agents of change in everyday ways. I encourage you all to utilize CHARGE as an outlet to voice your thoughts on hot topic issues, a vehicle to challenge non-inclusive norms, and a resource to learn about all the individualities that make our community unique. There is beauty and strength in our differences, and I look forward to helping you connect with the diversity of our campus!

Introducing CPE Karl Ravilus

Hello Everyone. My name is Karl S. Ravilus and I am your new CHARGE Peer Educator for State Quad. My nickname is Simba which I prefer over Karl. I am currently a Psychology major. Things to best understand me is that I am a fourth year student, had 3 different position on residential life, was president/founder of the Campus Programming Board, and I am a part of MALIK Fraternity Incorporated,  I love sports and I am on the club wrestling team at the school. Personality wise I believe that I am friendly and I get passionate about things and people think I am upset but I am not.

I am taking this class from long island, New York. The valley Stream area. I lived in 3/5 boroughs after I moved to America from Haiti. I represent Staten Island the most because it gets no love. It is small but it has some wonderful people there. Looking forward towards a great year.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Introducing CPE Farhoema Akhter

        Hello everyone, my name is Farhoema Akhter and I am the CHARGE Peer Educator for the University Apartments. I am a senior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Political Science and Biology. This is my fourth semester in Residential Life and I am looking forward to it!  I also had held the position as  CPE previously in the Spring semester of 2014 in Dutch Quad. Coming back as a CPE is certainly very different now. The path we are in now is more of focusing on dialogues than the program structure that I was used to.  I am very excited to be part of the CHARGE family again and excited to learn about and do dialogues on issues that people are aware of but not necessarily are knowledgeable about. We are living through history each and everyday, so it is important for people to be knowledgeable about and talk about it so that we can take what we have learned from history and use it to help shape our future the best way possible! So definitely expect hot topic discussions and loads of fun and engaging program from me.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Introducing CPE Kadeija Brown

The race is not for the swift but those who can endure it until the end. I started my blog with this quote, because it is a quote my grand-mother will tell me whenever there were hardships. As an immigrant coming from Jamaica, I was not knowledgeable about most of the topics such as abortion, sexuality, gender equality among other things. Nevertheless, the more I was educated the more enthusiastic I was to learn about other topics. With my knowledge and understanding, I will be able to educate my peers and bring new ideas to the table. My goal for the semester is to get my follow peers involve with the issues that surround us and is left unspoken.


Kadeija Brown

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Dear New CPE... by Devante Spellman

Dear Future Charge Peer Educator,

C.H.A.R.G.E. is going to be your opportunity to have a voice and let it be known. You will now have the chance to have programs, dialogues, discussions, and etc. Being a C.P.E gave me a wonderful chance to come out my oyster and introverted circle and become more engaging and out there with the students. Also, being a C.P.E will also give you sources throughout the school, such as Leiry, Ekow King, and other important higher positions with Residential Life and Student Involvement. Whenever you get afraid and don't know exactly what to do, in regards to an idea, discussion, or anything, do not panic. Remember, you have a team and sources that are willing to help you because you are a reflection and a part of them. C.H.A.R.G.E. is a small family and they'll always want to see success from you and everything you're associated with. Future C.H.A.R.G.E. Peer Educator, get ready for the experience you're about to have because it'll be an enjoyable and memorable one.


Devante Spellman  

Dear New CPE... by Caitlin Briggs

Dear New CPE,

Congratulations on the new position!  You are now a part of Residential Life and Intercultural Student Engagement.  You have become an integral part of the University at Albany, and many will look to you as a role model.

The CHARGE mission is to increase cultural competency on campus through programming and dialogues.  Cultural competency encompasses not just multiculturalism, but also race, LGBT issues, class conflict, religion, nationality, etc.  You name a controversial issue, and CHARGE needs to be able to handle it.  This is what makes the CHARGE Peer Educator position unique and laudable, however, this is also what makes the position very challenging.  

With the CPE position comes much responsibility, not in terms of a mandatory check list of things to do, but rather, in terms of self-initiative.  YOU decide the topics of the dialogues you facilitate.  YOU decide what issues or programs on campus you would like to personally support with the CHARGE brand, whether by promotion or your presence.  YOU decide what everyday conversations about controversial issues you would like to engage in with the students around you.  Once people realize what CHARGE is and that you are a CPE, you are held to a higher standard on campus.  In fact, I believe it is even more important for a CPE to “practice what you preach” than any other position on staff.  So, research, research, research those topics you are likely to speak out about!

Another challenge to the CPE position is that you are one of a kind on your individual quad staffs.  This may make it difficult to stay updated and involved with the other staff, as sometimes you do not really feel like you belong.  Nevertheless, you can combat this right away by making a point to get to know your staff, hang out with your staff in the quad office, and maybe even attend some small staff meetings.  This is what I did, so I felt much more in the loop.  On the flipside, make a point of getting to know your fellow CPEs as well!  You may be spread far and wide, but it will pay off if you can create a real connection with each other.

Lastly, I want to make sure you know that despite the challenges, being a CHARGE Peer Educator will be one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have.  You will truly feel as if you are fighting for a cause and making the world a better place, as cheesy as that sounds.  You can tell people your job description and it will demand respect (from most) because they will recognize that it takes a strong, intelligent, and capable person to do this job.  And of course, you are contributing to making the University a place where all who respect the rights of others are welcome and embraced.

Good luck, and do not be afraid to reach out!  I will be on Colonial Quad staff as an RA, but I will always be eager to assist CHARGE in all its future endeavors!

Dear New CPE... by Carmel Joseph

As a returner of the new and revamped CHARGE Peer Educators model of Residential Life, there are a couple of concerns and tips I have coming into the new academic year. This past academic was a wild one. The CHARGE job description changed on more than one occasion along with our supervisors. It makes it difficult to adjust when things are rapidly changing. With that said, these concerns can be taken as tips to run a smoother and more successful year.

1.      I feel as a way to promote our brand more, there should be at least some type of dialogue, program, or program collaboration with CHARGE happening in each quad. We should have our large scale programs set in advance in the beginning of the academic year with a rain date set just in case. It makes it a lot easier when things are planned and organized.
2.      CHARGE Peer Educators should be more involved in their quads and staff members. We should all be doing the same thing with the same expectations set because it doesn’t help when students ask us what we do and who we are and there is no clear answer about it since we are all doing something different. This is very important because it ruins our branding.
3.      We REALLY need these CHARGE freebies to hand out because it is a good way to sell ourselves. People don’t stop by at our table just to hear us speak. They give us their time, we give them a prize. This should be figured out during training week so we have them during the school year.
4.      When we brainstorm ideas that people seem to agree on, we need to make a point of committing to these programs or ideas.

Dear New Shaquan Womack

Dear Future CPE’s 

When we look at today, we see the horrors of misunderstanding. From Trial to Trial. Protest to Protest. Death to Death. Riot to Riot. History is repeating itself. This is because REVOLUTIONS MAKE THE WORLD GO AROUND. What does this mean to you? This means that your job is as important now than ever before.  You are now the catalyst for the evolution of young minds. Where you can push them to understand their implicit biases. Where you can teach them to understand the forgotten, the discriminated, the oppressed and overall the misunderstood. As a CHARGE Peer Educator, I began to have these conversations with scholars on this campus. I hope that you continue to have these conversations because as I said.....History is repeating itself; REVOLUTIONS MAKE THE WORLD GO AROUND.