National Coming Out Day!

The Gay-Straight Alliance is an organization on the UC campus that I am fortunate to be a part of. The GSA tries to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for any individuals that are a part of the UC community, regardless of sexuality.

A great part about the organization is their work to further the education and knowledge of all individuals with regard to the lgbtqia+ community. They do that by providing safe spaces at their meetings, at bonding nights, and at events that are held through out the semester.

One event that happened last Thursday was the annual “Coming Out Stories” event that showcased GSA members and non-members telling their stories about how they decided to come out with their sexuality. The event is one of my favorites to attend because it showcases the true struggles that some people have to go through to become comfortable and confident with who they are. …Not all of the stories are sad though! Some are quite funny, depending on the story.

If you missed out on the heartfelt event, no worries! There are loads of Gay-Straight Alliance events planned for the rest of this semester and next! And, the event is annual because it is done in honor of National Coming Out Day that is every year in October… so be sure to catch it next year!

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(The GSA had some pretty cool tshirts to advertise for the event this year.)
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(Jeff, an area coordinator for tower/bell and alumni, came up to tell his story.)
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(The GSA fam after the event.)
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Glitter, owls, and more glitter (HOMW 2)

Hi, everyone!

As I mentioned last week, I am making time each week of this semester to reflect and share a moment that was a highlight of that week. In my previous blog post, I told you all about the great time I had at Crystal Ball on Saturday. That was definitely a highlight, but the highlight of my week actually happened prior to Saturday night…

HIGHLIGHT OF MY WEEK (HOMW) #2: GLITTER, OWLS, AND MORE GLITTER

I had an RA Event last Thursday in North Hall. For those of you who may not know, I am a Resident Assistant here at UC, and part of my job includes planning fun events for my residents. Sometimes they are educational events, like when we visited the Clinton Cider Mill and learned how apple cider is made. Other times, they are social events, like last Thursday, which was a make-your-own Valentines event.

This was the flier advertised on the Utica College First Year Village Instagram account. FYI, you can follow the account to be in-the-know about upcoming RA events in North and South Hall! It's named uc_firstyearvillage
This was the flier advertised on the Utica College First Year Village Instagram account. FYI, you can follow the account to be in-the-know about upcoming RA events in North and South Hall! It’s named uc_firstyearvillage

I have had many RA events before, but had never had one that included my love for crafting. However, I talked to some of my residents earlier in the semester and discovered that many of them also loved arts and crafts and liked the idea of having a time we could all decorate Valentines together. I immediately began planning the event and was extremely excited to pick up glitter, construction paper, the CUTEST owl stickers of all time, and all sorts of other art goodies for my residents to use. By Thursday night, many of the students who lived on my floor as well as other floors were looking forward to the event as much as me, and met me downstairs right at 8 pm when it began. The basement lounge was soon filled with students drawing, glueing, and glittering to their hearts’ content.

This is just one of the many groups of students who were making Valentines at the event last week. We put newspaper on the floor to minimize the amount of glitter mess- it's a tricky hazard of crafting!
This is just one of the many groups of students who were making Valentines at the event last week. We put newspaper on the floor to minimize the amount of glitter mess- it’s a tricky hazard of crafting!

Over thirty students attended my event. It was scheduled to only go until 9 pm, but we ended up crafting past 10:30 in the evening! I had a great time watching other students make beautiful cards for their friends and family, and of course I enjoyed making some Valentines myself! I was so happy that the students who attended had as much fun as I did crafting. One of my residents told me it was the best event she had been to yet this year!

Here is a glimpse of the Valentines I crafted!
Here is a glimpse of the Valentines I crafted, featuring the cutest owl sticker of all time.

Sometimes in the business of college life (especially during your first year, which is a huge transitional phase of your life), you can lose sight of special little traditions from your home life. I really missed making Valentines for my friends when I began college, so I was happy that my event allowed students an opportunity to be festive, creative, and do something that may have reminded them of old traditions in their lives.

Events like these remind me of how great it is to go to a school that has such a tight-knit student body. I love celebrating holidays in fun ways with my UC family. Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Have a great week!

 

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Bookstore Bingo!

Happy first full week of classes! To help students settle in to the first full week of the semester the Utica College Programming Board always puts on numerous activities. (Which numerous bloggers have already mentioned! Check out Tessa’s post about all of the upcoming events!) The event on Monday night was one of my personal favorites, Bookstore Bingo.

(Before the games started, people were  anticipating a night of bingo!)
(Before the games started, people were anticipating a night of bingo!)

It’s a typical bingo night with bingo boards, and numbers being called out. However, when someone wins they don’t shout the typical, “BINGO!” they have to shout “U-C MOOSE!” and do the corresponding hand movements. It’s funny seeing people win because they get so flustered when they remember what they have to do. Another catch is that if multiple people “U-C MOOSE!” at once then they have to have a dance off to see who will win the prize. The person with the loudest audience cheers wins.

(My friend Mary danced herself to a bookstore giftcard!)
(My friend Mary danced herself to a bookstore giftcard!)

The prizes are all from the bookstore, and are things any college student could use. This year they had various school supplies, a Utica College blanket, and gift cards to the bookstore. Even if you don’t win, it’s a lot of fun just playing along though!

(Frank, the announcer, got really into calling the numbers out.)
(Frank, the announcer, got really into calling the numbers out.)

My favorite moment was when one of the girls doing the dance off shocked everyone by doing some type of cartwheel (it was hard to see from where I was sitting) and then the other girl dancing against her did a back bend in retaliation! One of the dance offs even included some ill-timed twerking. But, props to anyone who did get up and dance, that takes a lot of guts!

Alas, I didn’t win this year and I was pretty sad about that. But, it was a lot of fun and I’m already looking forward to the next time UCPB holds Bookstore Bingo. In the meantime though I’m eagerly anticipating all of the other events this week.

 

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Too Old For Halloween? Never!

It’s only October 9th, but I am already planning out my Halloween festivities for the month of October. I love this weather, I love apple cider, and I love the fashion! I also love Halloween. Plus, the history of Halloween is probably the coolest part about the holiday. When I studied abroad in Ireland I took a walking tour of “Dublin’s Hallowed Past” and learned the history of the spooky holiday.

(Me touching a “sanctuary stone” in a graveyard I visited in Ireland.)

Originally, the holiday was celebrated by the Celtic People who populated Northern and Western Europe, with large numbers of people concentrated in what is modern-day Ireland. The purpose of the day was to celebrate the end of a successful harvest season, and the start of a long winter.

“Samhain” or Halloween was actually the biggest event during the Celtic calendar. Their new year started on what we consider to be November 1st, so it was the very last day of the year. It was believed that the souls of those who had died during the past year would finally be able to make the long trek to the underworld. People would light bonfires in the hopes of guiding the dead along their way and keeping them from still-living people.

I’m a huge history buff, so this is totally interesting to me. However, if the history of the day isn’t your thing, then I’m sure the actual day is. And, lucky for all students, there are numerous events on and around campus to celebrate the upcoming day!

RHA’s annual Haunted House– This event is located right on campus in the basement of one of the residential halls. Be scared by fellow classmates and Utica College students as you wander through rooms full of scary goblins, and ghosts, and gouls…oh my.

The History Club’s trip to Sleepy Hallow– An event put on by the History club, there are fliers all around campus for this event. They are doing a movie night on October 24th to watch “The Headless Horseman,” and then the next day, they are venturing to Sleepy Hallow for a private tour of the cemetery there. If you don’t know the story of Ichabad Crane and the Headless Horseman, I suggest looking more into this event!

The Utica Zoo’s Spooktacular– This is a fun event for children (and adults!) of all ages. The ASA Gray Biological society and Alpha Phi Omega are just two organizations from campus volunteering to pass out candy to young trick-or-treaters wandering throughout the zoo. Come, dress up, and join in on the Halloween fun! (October 17th-19th, Friday and Saturday are “scary days” from 6-9 p.m., and Sunday is less spooky from 12-4 p.m.)

CAYO Industrial Haunted House– This one is not for the faint of heart. I have personally never gone, but I have heard stories from friends who have been scared out of their minds. It takes place right in Utica, not too far from the school. It’s filled with haunted horrors and scary creatures all brought together in one big warehouse. It runs all weekends in October, so check out the website if this haunted house sounds fun to you!

(Last year I was a hippie for Halloween, and my friend a unicorn. I am still working on costume ideas for this year!)
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Clubs, orgs, and greek life? Oh my.

The yearly organization fair was held in the Strebel lounge yesterday, September 10th, and “Meet the Greeks” was also held later that day in the same location. Both events were opportunities for first year students, and upperclassman, to get an idea of what there is to do on campus.

These events can be intimidating for students (myself included) because there are so many organizations. If you are also like me, you have many diverse interests; there are so many organizations that may fit with what you like! Attending these informational events is as easy as going and walking around. Picking which ones you actually want to be a part of, now that is a struggle.

Here are some tips to help you decide what organization is right for you.

(The Asa Gray Biological Society is an organization which focuses on biology-related activities and events.)

It is for your major/future career aspects. If an organization is dedicated to a certain type of student, and you fit the bill, for sure join! For example, joining the pre-law society makes it so you are surrounded by future law students aka people who understand your struggle. It’s great to have friends in your major because then you can compare professors, classes, study together, and have a support system.

(The Utica College Gay-Straight Alliance puts on a yearly drag show with professional Kings and Queens which is fun and entertaining.)

You enjoy the activities they do. If an organization is established for a hobby of yours, join! The Outing club is an organization on campus which focuses on going outside and doing things! If you love the outdoors and wilderness, then join! Same goes for any other thing you may like.

And here are some tips to help you decide what organization is not right for you:

(Summer Orientation isn’t really an organization, but it is something you can get involved in! I joined my first year not knowing practically any mentors, now some of them are my best friends.)

All of your friends are in it. Okay, great for them. But are you actually interested in the organization? Do you like doing what they are doing? If not, it’s okay to not join. You’ll meet other people in things you do decide to do. You can always hang out with your friends later.

(Alpha Phi Omega is a service fraternity on campus dedicated to volunteer work, and leadership.)

It will boost your resume. This is true of every organization you join! We’re college students, we’re all working toward having a good resume!! But, the key is to not join just because you think it will look good. Join because you actually are interested in the org, the resume stuff can come later.

Joining organizations is not supposed to be a tiresome process, it should be fun! You can always go to a meeting, see if you like it, and if not, don’t join! The Greek organizations all have informationals during the semester to let you know about their events and activities, so go if you want to know more! If you aren’t comfortable going in person, you can always check out PioneerPlace which is a website which compiles all of the organizations on campus, and allows you to browse through.

So, whatever organizations you join, good luck. The process may be daunting, but the friends and memories you make will certainly be worth it.

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