Res Life, Road Trips and Trees

Dear readers,

To say that I was a bit ambitious with my posting schedule over the summer would be an understatement. Since diving into senior year (falling into? tripping into?), I’ve felt too overwhelmed to compile my thoughts in this one space as regularly as I would like. But here I am, trying again, especially since I have a few travel excursions coming up (see below!)

Instead, since it’s been almost two months since I’ve written, I figured a brief recap of where I’m at right now is most relevant. Here are some fun moments and life updates from the past two months:

  1. Move-In Day (and subsequent res life things): I’m constantly surprised and challenged by my OAs. I feel as though I’ve found a great fit for myself in my final year and a way to give back to OSU. I’ve already had the opportunity to help them professionally develop themselves through workshops, staff meetings, and personal relationships. In return, my OAs have taught me so much about supervision, role modeling, and being present.
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    OAs Christy and Jaquan before move-in day opening!


  2. Student-Alumni Council: I can’t believe it’s my fourth year in this organization. With Homecoming quickly approaching, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for all of the relationships and opportunities it’s given me. This wasn’t reallllly an update, just a thank you, I guess. Additionally, I’m thankful for the friendships that are still deepening among other SACers.
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    Fellow exec board member, AJ, and I at the SAC retreat canoeing event


  3. Bee-el-eff: Buckeye Leadership Fellows (BLF) (currently accepting applications) recently celebrated its 5th-Year Anniversary! It was a great night connecting with all those who have and continue to make it possible.
    This semester, we are working on our senior capstone projects. My two friends, Ainsley, Julia, and I, are collaborating on a project surrounding personal development in rural high schools.

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    The BLF senior cohort at the anniversary event


  4. Trees. Yes, trees. My current project as the Columbus Foundation intern is serving as a community liaison for the Weinland Park tree project. The Foundation’s goal, in collaboration with The Ohio State University’s Center for Urban and Regional Analysis, Neighborhood Design Center, and the Weinland Park Community Civic Association, is to get more trees into the community. Trees, as you probably know, are great for the environment, but they are also economically and personally beneficial to residents. I feel a little like the Lorax, but I’m also so excited to be connected to my future field and passion in some way.
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    Courtesy of Columbus Underground


  5. Toronto. This weekend, the annual Fake Fall Break trip makes a triumphant return– this year to Toronto! I can’t wait to spend the next few days with my friends and explore a new city. If anyone has any ideas or favorite spots in Toronto, let me know!
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Finding that Passion

Dear readers,

WOW. Move-In Day is ONE WEEK AWAY. That means soon, we will have over 7,000 first years on campus and more specifically 452 residents in Morrison. Over the past week, my office assistants and I have worked hard to prepare the building for opening and we are thisclose to being ready. The decorations are hung, the keys are in order, and we are excited for life to come back to our building!

Already, I’m loving the RM position and the opportunities I find every day to talk to my OAs, hear how it’s going at the desk and in their life, and assist them in their work, goals, and challenges. Even though my sleep schedule has been a little off with late night hours being logged, I feel more energized than I ever have to take on the school year and my position in University Housing. This feeling makes me confident that not only was the RM position right for me, but that my senior year of college is going to be amazing and filled with extraordinary experiences to pursue my passions and help others do the same.

In addition to my RM training, I’ve also been finishing up my financial literacy work at the State Treasurer’s office (aka calling a lot of school principals to get contact information that will get our curriculum updates in the classroom). This Wednesday marks my last day in office. I’m sad to leave, but I’m confident that the skills, experiences, and connections I’ve made there will continue to resurface in my schoolwork and future career. I’m excited to continue connecting with their office as I learn more about public service.

Finally, I have exciting news! The Columbus Foundation has offered to keep me on as their Community Research and Grants Management Intern this fall! I will have the opportunity to finish a few projects, like the exciting Fundraising and Development Fellowship launch (college seniors, check it out– the app will go live soon!) and assist in records research and organizing. I’ve talked with many of my University Housing colleagues about my summer internships and every time I tell them about the Foundation I get so excited to share the amazing work we are doing. It just goes to show that finding passion in what you do is the most important thing. I truly believe I’ve found that thing, and now I am going to fiercely pursue it.

Sincerely,
Caroline

So you’re like an RA or what? 

Dear readers,

As many of you know, my past two years of college have been spent serving as a Resident Advisor (RA) on campus. This has meant getting to know upwards of 100 amazing students, picking up a few 3am phone calls to deal with an incident, and being a resource, mentor, listening ear, and friend to my residents. It was a great challenge to feel energized each day in this role, as living and working in the same environment can often be overwhelming or frustrating when, like any student, you need a break from the craziness. 

However, while it was a challenge, this position also taught me a few life lessons I will take with me long past graduation, including knowing when to ask for help, remembering when to listen rather than to give advice, and balancing your needs with other’s. It also led me to some wonderful friends and lifelong memories (I could tell you some great stories). I am so thankful for the two years I spent as an RA.

BUT. I am actually no longer in this role, and since training for my similar, but new position began yesterday, I thought it was a great time to explain what it is exactly that I’ll be doing this year. Especially since I know I’ll have to explain this about 1,000,000 times in the next few weeks to my peers and family/friends back home. 

My new role as a Resident Manager (RM) is to make sure the front desk of my residence hall runs smoothly, so that its purpose of connecting residents to resources and building community is met. The front desks at Ohio State are always hubs of energy and fun. When I was a freshman at OSU, I worked at the front desk and loved the way it connected me with everyone else in my building and gave me professional customer service experience (it also didn’t hurt that I could do my homework at work either).

Now I’m on the other side of that coin. Instead of working at the front desk as a Office Assistant, I will be supervising these 18-20 OAs and completing the paperwork and processes that make the desk work. I will be managing a 452-person building, mainly by communicating with University Housing about any issues, vacancies, or general updates in the building. 

 

Our lobby’s theme is travel- my OAs made this amazing bulletin board!

 
I also have the privilege of working with my OAs, who I will finish hiring in October. From there, we will get to know one another and bond as a staff through programming and retreats that I will plan. Just as I had the mentorship and professional recommendation of my RM, I hope to serve a similar role for my OAs. They already make me laugh and make my job that much easier with their help and positivity.   

my door decorations for everyone

So cheers to a new job, new year, and one heck of an opportunity to make a difference for my students! 
Sincerely,

Caroline 

Neighborhood Design Center

Dear readers,

For my last full week at the STEAM Factory before working remotely in August, I got to sit in on a meeting with the Neighborhood Design Center. You’ve probably passed their office a million times on campus, but, like me, had no idea the amazing things they are doing for our community.

 

took this picture on my way to work this morning- right near 15th!

 
Their mission is simple: to bring design to all communities, as a right rather than a privilege. They specialize in architecture, landscape design, and even urban planning and as a nonprofit, they work with the city to charge low costs to their clients. They focus on six areas around the city that are the most in need of their services, places like West Franklinton, where the STEAM Factory is located.

This fact led to their meeting with STEAM, which mainly focused on ways to collaborate in the future. Isabela Gould, the executive director of NDC, is looking for ways to partner with STEAM and our faculty to find even greater solutions for these underserved areas.

What I loved most about NDC is the way they are using their passions and talents for good. Their creative ways of thinking and commitment to serving Columbus have led to some powerful change in their six locations, and I’m excited to see what they will accomplish with STEAM in the future.

Sincerely,

Caroline 

Lights, Camera, Action

Dear Readers,

Deep below the center of Ohio government, in the basement of the Statehouse, is a world of offices you never knew about. Until now. Because two days ago, I used my fancy intern badge and got issued clearance past the museum (actually pretty sure anyone has clearance, it just sounded cool), and stepped inside the office of OGT, or Ohio Government Television.

 

pumps and (secret) passages

 
My supervisor, Jeremy, sprung me out of the office on this dreary day for a field trip to film two Smart Money Choices videos for the State Treasurer’s office website. The videos we watched being taped today will be used as financial education tools by everyday Ohioans. Specifically, we filmed the Retirement and Investements topics today, and these will be used in addition to other topics such as Consumer Rights and Social Security.

getting set up to film

 
The office of OGT was overflowing with wires, screens, and equipment. While they are still in their off-season, it was a busy place to be and a lot of fun. I hope that these videos will really help the people who view them to think critically about their finances and seek out additional professional financial advice. The speaker I watched present today, as well as the three others I’ve watched on screen, really have done a great job making this information accessible, informative, and even fun.

 

action!

 
That’s all for now! I’ve concluded my last full day with the Treasurer’s Office and will now be transitioning into flexible hours with them through August before leaving on the 24th. It’s been such a great learning experience to see the other side of our government and be a part of it (and discover new hidden rooms of the Statehouse!)

Sincerely,

Caroline 

Goodwill Site Visit

Dear readers,

After some technical difficulties a few days ago with this post, I’ve decided to try again! Last Friday I had the opportunity to tag along with a Columbus Founsation coworker on a site visit to Goodwill Columbus with the purpose of hearing their plan to rent out their parking garage as a social enterprise. 

Goodwill Columbus is right in the center of all the construction in Grandview, making it the perfect spot for renting out parking in order to generate revenue. This extra money will then go to their programming and mission. 

In addition to hearing Goodwill’s strategic plan and real estate overview, we toured their facility and learned more about what they do on a daily basis. Among other things, they have senior care, day care, health care, and workforce training available for both their 23 residents and daily guests. Hearing their passion for providing those with disabilities the training they need to live independently, as well as the love, attention, and community they need while there was inspiring. I had no idea the depth or breadth of the organization, and I’m glad I got to see it firsthand.

 

a job skills training area


Our last stop on the tour was their art gallery, where those in their fine arts program can create and sell their art. It was a beautiful space, and I encourage everyone to check it out online or at their Grandview location. 

 

the art gallery

 
Overall, I really enjoyed visiting Goodwill and hearing about some of their long-term planning as the Foundation prepares to grant funding to organizations in Columbus. I feel lucky to intern for an organization that allows me an inside look into their processes and meetings, as their willingness to include me has only solidified my decision to pursue City and Regional Planning after graduation. It’s been cool to see the type of impact I can have with this degree through their current employees, and I’m excited to move forward with my senior year and graduation plans! 

Sincerely,

Caroline 

July Internship Updates

Dear readers,

This past month has been filled with new experiences through my two internships with the State Treasurer’s Office and the Columbus Foundation. My work at each is really different, and it’s been fun to go into work at either place varying days of the week to diverse challenges and opportunities.

The State Treasurer’s office has reminded me of one of BLF’s biggest takeaways and hopes for their fellows: learning to work through ambiguity. Oftentimes in this internship, I have been given a task that at first seems daunting because it is new to me, things like planning conference details in six different regions of Ohio when I am not at all familiar with Ohio geography (trust me, I am now), but that with a little time (and lots of Googling), I figure it out. And yes, asking questions is important, but I’ve also learned to take the initiative to seek out answers on my own first rather than relying on clear, specific directions.

I also really appreciate the purpose of our work. Currently, I’m helping update curriculum used in schools for financial literacy teaching and I’m speaking to principals and teachers directly who want and need our support. I wish that in high school, financial literacy had been more of a priority, so it’s been cool to have a hand in updating materials and ensuring their distribution for today’s schools.

Lastly, I’m quite taken with my lunch view each day at the Statehouse. It’s been peaceful to sit on the steps of our state government and observe the hustle and bustle all around one of the busiest areas of Columbus.

 

my view from the statehouse steps

 
The Columbus Foundation has also taught me a lot. I’m learning tons of grant vocabulary and about development and fundraising for nonprofits. In addition to my work on the new fellowship program (apps coming soon!), I’ve also been able to sit in on a few higher level meetings and learn more about the Foundation’s role in the Weinland Park Collaborative and neighborhood revitalization efforts.

 

the cool mural of the Foundation’s main hall

 
I’ve been truly inspired by the amazing work Central Ohio nonprofits are doing for  our community, and I’ve loved hearing their innovative ideas to grow and make change in the future. I’ve also been inspired by the Foundation’s role in the sector, specifically their ability to strategize for our underserved neighborhoods and direct funds appropriately. Additionally, their work in Weinland Park reminds me of why I have a passion for community development and how city and regional planning knowledge can make a difference. It makes me most excited for my future in the field and having a hand in collaborative, interdisciplinary work that truly makes a difference.

 

my nerdy intern badge

 
Overall, in addition to my ongoing work with the STEAM Factory, these internships have made my summer worthwhile in a nerdy, work sort-of-way. I was reminded yesterday of how even as a young child, I hated summer and would always wish for school and projects and learning. It feels similar now, as I can’t imagine a summer less intensive. The skills and relationships I’ve developed this summer are sure to stay with me, and I feel grateful for the opportunities. Here’s to hoping the school year and my future is just as great and I find workplaces that welcome me, mentor me, and teach me as much as these have.

Sincerely,

Caroline

P.S. Currently locked out of my apartment (have been all night), so at least this blog makes this wasted time a little more productive, right?