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About Our New Blogger Logan

Who I Am: Hello students of DePaul, my name is Logan and I am the newest member of the DeBlogs team. I am a sophomore within the Drihaus College of Business double majoring in Accounting and Management Information Systems. I am from the southwest suburb of Yorkville, IL which is about an hour outside of Chicago. I went from driving 70 down country roads with a view of cornfields to riding the train everyday with a scenic skyline I can take in from my apartment. I was a member of the Education and Development Grant for Employability (EDGE) Program with the Career Center freshman year, but I am always seeking new means to get more involved on campus.

One of many great photos from the Nicki Minaj concert
What I Do: There are a few things you should know about me and what I am interested in outside of the classroom. First and foremost, I have a slight obsession with Chinese food. Whether it’d be takeout or a buffet, you know I’m always down for it. After an entire academic year I’ve spent here at DePaul, I have yet to find someone else who enjoys country music as much as I do. That being said, I often go to country concerts, an average of ten a year to be exact. However, I am a fan of nearly all music. My favorite concert so far was Nicki Minaj and Rae Sremmurd, but then after that the best concerts were Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, etc. I enjoy exploring the city, always seeking new restaurants to try out. I often go to the Ray to play pickup basketball, workout, or play intramural volleyball. You can also catch me at the beach trying to relax and escape my academic responsibilities by playing sand volleyball or just sleeping. 

Why I Do This: As much as I would love to explore the city, visit every Asian restaurant, and blog about how awesome the food is, I want to share all my experiences on and off campus, the good and the bad, so that hopefully others can learn from them to get the most out of their experience at DePaul. Between keeping up with two honors programs, maintaining physical shape, looking for jobs and internships, and trying to make friends along the way, I realize it all can seem overwhelming. Although these fours year are meant to pursue an education for your desired career, it can be much more than that. Studying at DePaul in a great city like Chicago is a unique experience!

Summer Recap: Chicago Blackhawks

Editor's note: ​​​​​​​There were various exciting events that took place in Chicago this summer, and many of our DePaul students were there to experience them! Cami DeMarco recaps Chicago's many summer activities revolving around the Chicago Blackhawks and the Stanley Cup below:

​If you live in Chicago chances are you’re well aware of the how passionate we are about our food and our sports.  Good or bad, Chicago fans are diehards. Our Blackhawks have given us special reason to celebrate this summer as their three Stanley Cup wins in six years have cemented a hockey a dynasty.​

When the Hawks won in 2010, I was an incoming freshman to DePaul. I took the Metra downtown with my mom and joined in the chaos (I was mildly intimidated by the city I had chosen to move to - were people always this crazy?). In 2013, I was an undergrad student and one of the crazy two million fans waiting outside Grant Park to hear Craw’s memorable speech. In 2015 I am now a DePaul alumna, and could be found in the mass of people outside of Wrigley Field until the early hours of the morning the night the Hawks won. In 2015, I also realized that Chicagoans/DePaulians are spoiled.  We get to claim the Hawks as our own, and have gotten to do so during a time of their mega-success.​

One of the most exciting things about the Cup coming back to The Windy City is that the organization plans to celebrate with it all summer long.  Each player has the ability to keep the Cup for a day and do with it what they wish.  The Hockey Hall of Fame keeps journals of everywhere the cup goes with the players and can be found here: the 2010 ​journal, the 2013 ​journal, and a 2015 entry will be compiled later in the year.  

The Hawks do a great job getting the Cup out into the community for fans to see, touch, and take pictures with when not visiting player’s hometowns.  This summer, the cup visited Wrigley Field, the Cell, a variety of bars, and a Mumford and Sons Concert (the Cup has good taste).  In 2013, I spotted the Cup at The Pony Inn, and finding it almost seemed too easy with the help of social media. 

In general, it is difficult to predict where the Cup might end up, sometimes it’s all about being at the right place at the right time, as some of their stops are given little notice of their soon to be arrival.  

Happy Summer of Stanley current/future/graduated DePaul students and Blackhawks fans!  If you weren't able to catch a glimpse this year try, heading to the Blackhawks store​ at 333 N. Michigan Avenue to take an interactive, computer generated picture with your favorite player!  Here is to hoping for four in seven next year!

Summer Recap: Pride Parade

Editor's note: ​​​​​​​There were various exciting events that took place in Chicago this summer, and many of our DePaul students were there to experience them! Current student Lily Yonker recaps her experience at the Chicago Pride Parade below: 

June is national LGBTQ* Pride month, and here in Chicago, there were many events to attend to celebrate. The biggest and most popular event was the Pride Parade, which draws in an average of 750,000 people. The Pride Parade happens annually on the last Sunday of every June. Although the parade route is subject to change every year, it often goes right through the heart of Chicago’s Boystown neighborhood along Halsted Street and you will see floats from about 200 different businesses and organizations such as schools, the Chicago Police/Fire Department, Government officials, Chicago bars, and even local television stations. For a more comprehensive list of those who are a part of the parade, feel free to take a look here​!

The weekend prior to the parade is when Chicago’s famed Pride Fest is held. Pride Fest takes place on North Halsted (the same street the parade route runs later in the month) and is a festival with music, food vendors, free prizes, and tons of activities. Another thing that makes Pride events so popular is the fact that they are free to enter. The Pride Parade is completely free and open to all ages while the Pride Fest does request a voluntary donation when you enter. That donation however, is not required, but anything that is given goes back to support community programs.

When looking for free and fun events to attend during the summer in Chicago, both Pride Fest and the Parade are always a good bet! However, if that is not your scene, there are countless other festivals all over Chicago in the summer.

"Hope That You Journey Is a Long One..."

​​​It’s hard to believe I only have a little time left in Greece​. May 15th will be here before I know it.

This evening after Philosophy class I attended a lecture by Professor Gregory Jusdanis who is currently working with archives of the late Greek poet Constantine P. Cavafy ​(most famously known for his poem, Ithaca) here in Athens to then publish a biography of his life.
He was a fascinating speaker and brought light to parallels in Cavafy’s work I could have never made myself.

The poem Ithaca is about a journey and more symbolically, personal discovery.

I have certainly found my Ithaca and begun my journey. The study abroad experience is like nothing I could have prepared myself for, and something I will never have the right words to describe. As anyone could expect I’ve learned so much about the country of Greece, it’s people and culture, surrounding countries, international affairs, etc. but I have learn so much about myself along the way as well.

Here’s to the journey, here’s to Ithaca.

​​​Check out the video below to hear Ithaca by C.P. Cavafy:

A Thing Done in a Seeing Place

For the past three weeks I have been working with an American theatre company, Bread & Puppet, in residence here in Athens along with seven of my peers through our theatre class at CYA (College Year in Athens​).

The Bread & Puppet Theater​ was founded in 1963 by Peter Schumann on New York City’s Lower East Side. Then, in 1974, Bread & Puppet moved to “the farm” in Glover, Vermont. Today, Bread & Puppet continues to be one of the oldest, nonprofit, self-supporting theatrical companies in the United States. (Make sure you take the time to read their “Cheap Art Manifesto” below.)

The first two weeks were spent experimenting with the five Bread & Puppet members who had traveled to Greece. When they weren’t working with our class, they were working with Greek volunteers (musicians, actors, and puppeteers) to create the traditional “Greek chorus.”

This past week was when everything was finally brought together. Our first and final dress rehearsal began at five Thursday evening, and at 8:30, we opened the show! We performed four shows (Thursday-Sunday) all of which were full houses! On opening night the students of CYA had the opportunity to see the show for free (rather than paying the €15 for a ticket.

The show, “A Thing Done in a Seeing Place” was a black and white puppet show based off of Sophocles’ ancient Greek tragedy, Antigone​. This story of power struggle between big authority and “little guy” can directly be applied to Greece’s current diplomatic struggles with the EU.

It was extremely well received and went off all weekend without a hitch!

I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to work with such a talented group of people and meet more Greeks which I otherwise would not have met in the process.

I guess I can check performing in Greece off my bucket list!

CYA (College Year in Athens)

​Γεια σας! My name is Zoe Wildasin and I am a sophomore at DePaul studying Public Relations & Advertising and minoring in theatre studies. I love Chicago and life at DePaul, but this semester I decided to leave all that behind and study in Athens, Greece from January to May. I am here studying with a program by the name of CYA (or College Year in Athens). Don’t freak out! You can do just a semester too. CYA is just one of the many programs offered by DePaul’s study abroad office. There are so many places, programs, and lengths to choose from. The possibilities are endless!

Because CYA is a program sponsored by DePaul, my financial aid transfers over to my program here in Athens and I pay the same tuition as I pay when taking classes in Chicago. There is a program fee on top of tuition, but these vary from program to program, and can be covered by an additional scholarship as well.

I chose Athens for so many reasons, one being the flexibility. The program offers many classes that can cover several of DePaul’s Liberal Arts Learning Domains. Some of DePaul’s study abroad programs are better suited for certain majors, and can sometimes even come with internship opportunities. By taking a variety of classes, most of which are centered around Greek history and modern Greek culture, I can learn about the city of Athens and surrounding areas while still earning credits toward my degree.

On the subject of classes; I am taking Modern Greek, Greek Philosophy: The Good Life and the Common Good, Aegean & Ancient Greek Art & Archeology, Gender and Sexuality in Modern Greek Culture, and Attic Tra​gedy Theatre. Most of these classes, in addition to time spent in the classroom, have an “on site” component, which allows us to go and see the very things we are reading about. All of my professors are fantastic.

Another great thing about CYA and reason I chose to come to Athens is that the program is all-English. Some study abroad programs require you to be fluent in the native language before going because your classes will all be taught in the native language. Modern Greek is not widely offered, and therefore not widely known in the states. Because of this, many students would be unable to study in Greece. But, CYA offers a way for you to come, take classes in English and learn Greek while you are here. Keep in mind all students are required to take Modern Greek – I know it sounds intimidating, but it comes quicker than you think.  

I hope you continue to follow my time abroad and feel free to ask me any questions along the way as well!
Γεια σας!

Service that Builds Leadership Experience

Jessica Ramser is a leader. The junior’s involvement in service has provided leadership opportunities that have shaped her experience at DePaul.

“I started doing service through DePaul’s service immersion program and went on a first-year trip to St. Louis. From there, I was recommended to be a service immersion trip leader. I became a leader the spring of my freshman year,” said Jessica, a political science major.

After her service immersion trip, she joined the DePaul Community Service Association (DCSA) and became the site coordinator for DePals, a program that works with adults and students who have developmental disabilities. 

“We mentor the students we work with, but we also offer friendship. It’s something I look forward to every week. We know about each other family’s lives. We build relationships,” said Jessica. As a coordinator, Jessica also communicates with the site, recruits volunteers, schedules visits and helps plan activities.

But Jessica’s role with DCSA expands beyond the DePals program: She’s also a member of the senior team. With approximately 25 service sites and two coordinators per site, the senior team ensures that resources are appropriately allocated and any issues that arise are quickly handled.
“Between planning events, setting up sites and securing transportation, we’re here to make sure everything runs smoothly throughout the year,” said Jessica, “My leadership skills have developed and strengthened through all of these opportunities.”

But she’s not just gaining leadership experience and skills that will serve her well beyond her time at DePaul, she’s also had the opportunity to explore Chicago and think beyond the boundaries of campus and classroom.

“I’m not just going to school to get a job for myself and make money. I am part of something. We have a great city at our fingertips to learn and be involved. Service has challenged my views and given me a new perspective.”

Dance Marathon Director Finds Joy, Connectedness

“If you are really involved with something, you feel like you and other students are unified under one cause. That’s such an important part of the college experience,” says India Mayer, executive director of DemonTHON, DePaul’s 24-hour dance marathon that raises money for the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

India is a four-year veteran of DemonTHON. She was a dancer representing her residence hall as a freshman and a dancer rep for her sorority as a sophomore. By the time she was a junior, she was director of dancer relations: “I was taking care of the people who were doing what I used to do.” Now she’s executive director for the entire marathon, working all year to forge DePaul students and families from the children’s hospital into a single, joy-filled community.

“When you meet these kids, you’re instantly brought into their world. You meet the families, and you realize how much the parents and siblings have on their shoulders,” she says. Yet, “they are all so cheerful. They’re so supportive of what we’re doing. That’s a pretty incredible community to be a part of.”

That sense of community is pivotal to India. She relishes how DemonTHON pulls together all kinds of students—different ages, different majors, living on-campus and off—into one team working for a common cause.

“DemonTHON gave me this insight into the sense of student community and this Blue Demon experience that I really craved,” she says.

India’s goals for this year’s marathon on April 24 and 25, 2015, are simple: Raise one more dollar than last year’s $214,000 and recruit one more student than the 400-plus who participated last year.

“For me, to be able to see more and more dancers involved and more people on DePaul’s campus get unified is going to be the most satisfying thing. So as long as the building is full, I think I’ll be happy.”

Student Finds Service Opportunity Right in His Own Back Yard

Teaching three-year-olds how to read a picture book is harder than you think.

“They look at each individual page as its own entity. I help them understand that it’s part of a bigger story, that what happened the page before affects what is happening on the current page and will ultimately impact the end of the story,” says Deon Morrissette.

That’s an apt metaphor for Deon’s own story. He grew up just blocks from where he now volunteers with Jumpstart, a children’s literacy program funded by AmeriCorps (in fact, his grandmother lives just up the street).  Deon says he really benefited from similar programs designed to help him stay focused on succeeding in school and going to college. When a friend told him about Jumpstart, he knew he would be “a good man for the job” of helping other kids the way he had been helped. He quickly applied.

Now he works with kids ages 3 to 5 at Penn Elementary School in North Lawndale, helping them with the vocabulary and reading skills they’ll need to succeed in school.

“I strive to be a role model,” says Deon. He wants kids from the neighborhood he grew up in to look at him and say, “I can make it because I see that Deon made it.”

Community-Service Scholarship Makes Her Career Path Clear

When Rebecca Woods was applying for financial aid, she discovered DePaul’s community service scholarship

“It fit with my personality and what I wanted to do,” says Rebecca, who grew up doing service projects with her family. “The classes in the program sounded really interesting; I wanted to learn more about gentrification and segregation in the city.”

She and the two dozen other students in her cohort choose a location to spend about 30 hours each quarter volunteering. In some classes, they dig deep into issues such as homelessness, marginalization and racism. In others, they “unpack” their experiences, sharing what they’ve learned and exploring what service means to each of them. 

“Service has been very humbling in both my academic and non-academic experiences. I’m meeting people I wouldn’t have met, putting myself in their shoes,” she says.  “It’s taught me to think more critically about my actions and my education and how lucky I am.”

Rebecca spent her first three years at DePaul volunteering at LIFT, an advocacy program in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. She started as an advocate and worked her way up to the leadership team. Now a senior, she’s supporting senior citizens living in a retirement community. At both locations, her volunteer work has had an impact on her résumé.

“I developed professional skills as well as academic skills. I created marketing campaigns for LIFT, trained people, developed organizational skills, learned to delegate,” Rebecca says. “I really got a lot more out of it than just putting in my hours."

Her experiences also have shaped her professional goals. Although she’s always wanted to work in marketing, she now wants to work on cause marketing for a socially responsible company.

“My community service and business ethics studies have really crafted my goals,” she says. “Applying for the community service scholarship is one of the best decisions I’ve made.”

Teaching English Connects Service to Family for Two DePaul Students

Alex Petrus' and Christian Alba’s families come from opposite sides of the world—from Greece and Mexico, respectively—but they both understand what it’s like to watch their parents struggle to communicate in a new country.

“My mom came here with her family, and my grandparents didn’t really speak English. It was hard enough trying to support a family, let alone not being able to speak the language,” said Alex.

That’s why participating in Achieving Immigrant Rights and Equality (AIRE)—an organization through the DePaul Community Service Association (DCSA)—appealed to both of them. They knew firsthand the impact that speaking English can have. So on Fridays, Alex and Christian head to Erie Community House in the Chicago neighborhood of Little Village to converse with immigrants who are learning the language.

“In the U.S., if you don’t speak English, it can be difficult to do anything—go to the store, go to the doctor. By helping them learn to speak English, it empowers them,” said Christian.

They both began tutoring English as part of a service requirement for DePaul scholarships they received, but after their commitments were satisfied, they continued on. In addition to their personal connection to AIRE, they felt deeply connected to the group.

“I love the AIRE community,” said Christian, “We’re a family. We have consistent members, many of which aren’t a part of DCSA or scholars and aren’t required to do service, but they continue doing it because we feel like we belong.”

And their participation has made an impact on their lives beyond the feel-good aspect of giving back—it’s provided them with an opportunity to learn valuable skills outside of traditional classes.

“My experience at DePaul has exposed me to different things besides school,” said Alex,  “When you’re tutoring, you have to improvise and over time you learn how to communicate more clearly and you develop a strategy to teach people. These skills will help me in any future career.”

Service gets sustainable with the Environmental Concerns Organization (ECO)

Editor’s note: During the holiday season, we will be highlighting our students who have served communities and organizations over the past quarter as part of a "Season of Service" series. Today, we share the story of Sarah Mitchell.

Service has been a part of Sarah Mitchell’s life since high school, but it wasn’t until she was chosen to be part of the DePaul’s community service scholar’s program that her outlook on service changed.

“I knew that helping others was a good thing, but through this program, I’ve learned how to think about a community—what are the needs, what are the best ways to connect,” says Sarah. 

Sarah co-coordinates ECO, an organization through the DePaul Community Service Association (DCSA) that works with high school students in the Green Teens program at Gary Comer Youth Center in Englewood. The focus is on encouraging the students to live a healthy, green lifestyle.

“The idea is to be a near-peer mentor. The mentors have recently started college, and the students are about to graduate from high school. We work out together, and we work on garden projects. In the winter, we’re going to focus on green careers and how they can incorporate sustainability in their future jobs,” said Sarah.

Service has made a major impact on Sarah. Not only did her involvement with the community service scholar’s program make it possible for her to attend DePaul, it has also opened other doors and provided her with opportunities to gain career skills. She sees service as a guiding force in her life after graduation.

“I think a lot about teaching, social work, nonprofit work, or maybe policy or corporate giving. I’m personally searching for the best one, and with the community services studies program, I have the opportunity to figure out the best fit for me.”