Wednesday, April 28, 2010

PR Project

In one of my journalism classes, Writing for Media II, we are working on our final project, which involves public relations for a local non-profit organization, the Winooski Family Center. This organization works with children (six and under) and their families to provide them with support, assistance, and education through pre-schools, play groups, and father-child groups, just to name a few - they are basically there to help families connect better with others in the community and to provide access to any resources that they may need.

As part of our project every student had to pick something that they were going to do, to help spread the word and inform others of the Center. And because the Center does have a website, a very simple website, a lot of people decided to work on that, taking different pages and such, while others are creating a Facebook page for the organization. One of the things that I noticed, was that they had attempted to include a blog on their website, the only problem, they had only updated it once and it was basically just a calendar of events. So I decided that it would be beneficial and a great way to get a little more personal, if the organization had a blog, a real blog, that was easy to use and would be regularly updated.

Therefore, I spent about two hours at the center this morning work with the director, Karen, to get the blog up and running. There is only one post as of right now, but I will be adding to it soon with my own post, from the perspective of a volunteer. Karen plans on asking the teachers at the center to take turns blogging and hopefully will be able to keep it up and running more effectively then the one they previously had.

It is my hope that the blog will ultimately assist the Center in reaching more families and provide a more personal insight into the Center and what they are all about.

To check out the blog we created click here.

Monday, April 26, 2010

P-DAY '10

Last Saturday was P-Day!! For those of you who don't know what P-Day is, it's the last weekend, before finals weekend, where SMC brings out all these inflatables (my favorite was the foam tent), along with tons of food (Skinny Pancake!!!), and a band. It's basically the last big event before the end of the year. There's also a comedian at night (Al Madrigal came this year), along with "midnight" breakfast (which was really at 11).

Basically, P-Day is a really awesome day, where people just hang out and have fun. It's like our last ho-rah before we all leave. And every year we have a different theme (this year's was "Make it a Perfect Ten"), which everyone uses as inspiration to make their own P-Day shirts, which is always a lot fun in itself.

P-Day is definitely one of those days that everyone on campus looks forward to. It's so much fun and really helps to get your mind off of all the upcoming projects and exams. But at the same time it's bittersweet, because it is the last weekend we can go all out and have fun, before saying good-bye for the summer, or in my case for the rest of the year.

* Oh, and the great thing about P-Day this year: one of our friend's who actually ended up transferring to Suffolk came back and surprised everyone for P-Day ... even people who leave SMC, just can't seem to stay away :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Women's Sufferage

I have a new hero, not that I really had one to begin with, but now I do. Her name is Alice Paul and she was a devoted activist for women's rights. She not only faced social pressure from her peers, but was also imprisoned and brutally force fed after going on a hunger strike (but really who could blame her, the food they fed her in prison was disgusting).

She did so much to help women gain the right to vote and was active in women's rights up until her death in 1977. Her and her close friend, Lucy Burns, were determined to win the vote for women on a national level, as opposed to state by state decisions. Because of this they broke off from the National American Women Suffrage Association and formed the National Women's Party.

They were so determined to get what was rightly theirs that they picketed outside the White House everyday, in sunshine, rain, or snow. When President Woodrow Wilson decided that the US was to fight in World War I, the women continued to picket the White House, using Wilson's own words and reasoning for the war, to back up their own cause. Because of this, they were both eventually arrested, along with many other women, including Dorothy Day, and were forced fed through both mouth and nose, when they refused to eat.

I first learned about Alice and Lucy in my religion class, Women and the Christian Tradition. As part of our class we were required to watch the film, Ironed Jawed Angels, featuring Hilary Swank as Alice Paul. I really wasn't expecting it to be an interesting film (I mean, we were watching for class), however, I was truly surprised by how touching and powerful it was. I learned so much about women's suffrage from the movie and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the topic.

I now have so much admiration for those women who sacrificed everything and even put their lives on the line to fight for women's rights. Without them women wouldn't be where they are today, I wouldn't be where I am today, and that is something that I will never forget.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Germany: Places to Visit

I just had my Pre-Departure meeting for Berlin and it has me thinking a lot about my semester abroad as well as those places that I want to visit. So I thought I would compile a list of those places within and outside Germany that I really want to visit and what they have to offer.

~ Munich: My Friend, Carola, who studied at my high school while I was a senior lives in Munich. I haven't seen her in 2 years now, and I really can't wait to visit her!! Munich is also the site of the largest festival in the world: Oktoberfest.

~ Mannheim: My grandmother is originally from Germany in Mannheim! And some of my great-uncles still live there, so I really want to go meet them and see where my grandmother grew up!

~ Heidelberg: The location of the famous Heidelberg Castle, both my grandmother and grandfather have told me I need to go see it!

~ Konstanz: Located near the biggest waterfall in Europe - The Rhine Falls.

~ Fussen: Located near the Castle of Neuschwanstein, the inspiration for Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle.

~ Rudesheim: Location of one of the most famous streets in the region, Drosselgasse, full of shops and restaurants.

~ Cologne: Location of Cologne Cathedral, the greatest Gothic cathedral in Germany and one of the tallest buildings in the world.

~ Rugen: Germany's largest island and location of the longest pier in Europe.

~ Mainau: Garden island with the largest butterfly-house and collection in Germany.

~ The Black Forest

~ Dachau: A concentration camp with a statue bearing the words, "Never Again," a promise from the German people.

~ Lake Constance

~ Augsbug: Location of the world's first artificial whitewater course for the Olympics in 1972.

~ Bamberg: UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its authentic medieval appearance, one of the few cities to avoid bombing during WWII.

Places Lexia Takes Us:

~ Dessau: Location of many castles and Bauhus Legacy.

~ Potsdam: An immigration town with well-known religious tolerance: led to many different cultural buildings - castles, Roman Baths, Chinese Tea House.

~ Dresdan: Location of controversial Allied Bombing during WWII, that completely destroyed and changed the town.

~ Lutherstadt Wittenberg: Holds close connections to Martin Luther, with the world's premier museum dedicated to him.

~ Weimar: Location of Buchenwald Concentration Camp.

Countries Lexia Takes Us To:

~ Prague, Czech Republic
~ Poland: With visits to Auschwizt and Birkenau Concentration Camps

Countries I Want to Visit:

~ Italy - Venice
~ Switzerland
~ Denmark: A friend from high school will be there in the fall.
~ Austria

* Update on trip: My mom can no longer go over with me a few days early :( ... It just didn't work out, she feels bad, but said she would take me shopping for new clothes instead, which is awesome ... I do need new clothes, but I would rather have my mom come over with me ... it's going to be so awkward meeting my family by myself ... It'll be like, "Hi, you don't know me, but I'm your great-niece" ... hopefully my friend Carola will be able to go with me, she's fluent in German and English which will be very helpful, since I'm not sure how much English they know.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

TV News Reporting

I'm currently taking a class called TV News Reporting that focuses on broadcast journalism. Through this class I have learned how to film and edit actual news clips, so it's been pretty interesting.

We've even had the chance to produce our own videos, the first of which didn't have audio, because we were just learning to work with the visuals. But then we did a VO-SOT, basically a video with a voice over, which I have added here (sorry the quality isn't very good ... I'm not quite sure why).

(I've known Meghan since high school, so it was great being able to do my first real video with someone that I knew and was comfortable with. I actually think she was a little nervous at first, but she was really cute about the whole thing ... I was actually really surprised that I was able to film in the grocery store at all, I mean we asked the store manager and everything, and he didn't seem to care. So, it ended up working out really well!)

We are now currently working on our final projects, which we are going to be compiling into a "newscast." We will be going over to Lake Champlain Access TV and putting everything together. Everyone will be doing their own short videos (mine is on Professor Torolano who is retiring this year after being at SMC for 50 years!!!!), and will all take jobs and create our own news show, complete with anchors and everything!

I'm pretty excited, this is something that I've always wanted to know how to do and now I'm finally doing it! The only downside ... the class is once a week from 6:30 to 9:20 at night ... never again will I take class that goes that late!! But our professor is pretty nice, he can ramble at times and go over (which just about kills me), but he's a really nice guy and he has a lot of experience in the field. He actually works for WCAX (local VT news channel) filming and all that stuff, so he's a great resource!

Hopefully when I'm all done with the project (we're going over to LCATV Tuesday) I'll be able to post my video online. I'm in my final stages of filming now, only one more interview to go and then I'll be putting it all together and editing it! So, hopefully it all works out!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Disastrous Weekend

So it's official, I just had the worst weekend ... ever. First of all I'm sick, which just isn't fun to begin with. Secondly, I sponsored my brother Friday night for his confirmation, which was no big deal ... until I almost fainted in the middle of church (lack of food + too many people packed in one very hot room + continuous stand, sit, kneel motion), luckily this didn't happen until after I'd done everything I was supposed (and this cute, little, old nun took care of me). And finally someone broke into my car Friday night but thankfully didn't take anything, which I was really, really relieved to find out, considering my dad had a bunch of tools in the trunk ... he wouldn't have been happy had some of them gone missing. So basically, worst weekend ever ... Hopefully next weekend will be better!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Experience of a Lifetime

As someone who genuinely enjoys giving time to service, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Kanab, Utah in January through the MOVE program at SMC. Myself, along with 6 other students and a staff member traveled to Utah to volunteer at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, the largest no-kill animal shelter in the country. It truly was an amazing, eye-opening experience that I will never forget.

Not only did I get to see the Vegas strip all lit up at night :) (we flew into and out of Vegas), but I also got to meet some really amazing people, and help out those who really needed it.

The whole group with our group coordinators and Petey the Dog :)

One of my favorite things that we were able to do while in Utah was "doggie sleepovers." Each night we were able to bring a dog home with us, to give them some time away from the sanctuary. The first dog we brought home was Snowman, a pitbull mix, who was rescued during Hurricane Katrina. When they first found him he was walking around with a stuffed snowman in his mouth ... hence the name snowman. (So cute :-) I know!!!)

Next came Shotgun, a chocolate lab rescued from a garage sale in Texas. He was so cute and goofy and just wanted attention all the time.

Then there was Kilo, a young, hyper black lab who was rescued from a shelter that was known for euthanizing animals after a certain period of time.

Then last but not least came Trevor, another black lab that was actually staying in a foster home. However, his foster mom was out of the country at the time, and he was so depressed being at the shelter that he refused to eat. So we took him home for the night and gave him all the love and attention that he needed.

Not only did we get to work with dogs, but also with cats (walking and socializing with them), rabbits (feeding and cleaning pens), pigs (feeding and walking ... yes walking pigs ... with popcorn, it was sooo cute ... surprisingly), and horses and donkeys (cleaning pastures). Oh, and how can I forget puppy classes :-)

Another experience that really touched me was meeting one of Michael Vick's fighting dogs, Little Red. They actually think that she was used as bait to train the fighting dogs, because her teeth were all filed down. It was just so sad to think what she had been through, I mean she was so cute and little and sweet, but completely scared off us. She would barely come out to see us the first time we met her. But as we continued to stop by and visit her, she started to become more comfortable and by the end of the week she was running up to us, jumping up on the fencing to be pet. It was so cute!!!

We also had the opportunity to go to Zion National Park, which was such an amazing, beautiful place. The craziest part was seeing wild big-horned sheep ... they were so close, like close enough to touch if we wanted to!

Since I'm on the topic of service I guess I'll also talk about the other programs on campus that I participate in ... I've volunteered with Cause for Paws a lot, working with rescued greyhounds (they are so cute)! I've also done work at King Street Youth Center through the Anthropology department, working with Somali Bantu refugee children. I also did a lot of service while still in high school, going on environmental break away trips to Tennessee and Maine, as well as West Virginia with Habitat for Humanity.

I'm not quite sure why, but I really do have a passion for helping others. I just can't stand to see someone, anyone in pain. Especially while in Utah, all those animals wanted was love, and yet they had been denied that all their life. It's just so sad to think about ... but when you did give them the attention and love that they wanted, you could really tell that they appreciated it. I really felt like I was making a difference and that was just an amazing feeling.

Monday, April 5, 2010

About Me

Hey Everyone!

My name is Krysti and I'm a sophomore at Saint Michael's College double majoring in Journalism and Anthropology. This is my first blog ever, so I apologize in advance if I do or say anything wrong.

Just to tell you a little bit more about myself I'm originally from a very small, I admit, hick town in Northern Vermont. Somehow I managed to escape all the hunting, gossiping, and mudding unharmed. That may have had something to do with my best friend, whom I've known since pre-school, Phillip (pic below):

I came to Colchester, partly to escape that small town life, but also to experience new things and meet new people. Since coming to SMC I have had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people that have not only inspired me to do great things (my anthropology advisor has traveled to over 60 countries and can speak 5 languages well, crazy, right?), but have also just been there for me when I needed someone.

My roommate, Lauren and I

The experiences I have gained through the Journalism department have also opened up so many incredible opportunities for me at home. Last summer I did an internship with my local county newspaper, The News and Citizen, that led to many publish stories some of which even ended up on the front page!! I had a lot of freedom during that internship and wrote about everything from the local boy scout camp closing, to fires, to school board meetings (not the most exciting stories), to rescue efforts to save escaped calves. It was an amazing experience that has actually led to a job offer for this summer. One of the reports on staff is leaving the end of spring and the paper has hired me to work for them part time over the summer, so I'll be getting even more articles published! I'm just so excited! To be hired as a journalist while still in college, I never saw that coming!

Another upcoming event in my life, that I've pretty much been waiting my entire life to do is a semester abroad in Germany!!! I leave the end of August and travel all the way to Berlin for 3 and a half months! I'm so excited, words cannot describe how much I've wanted this. My grandmother is originally from Mannheim, Germany and ever since I could fathom that, I've always wanted to go there. I want to see where my grandmother grew up, where my family comes from, and now I finally have the opportunity to do that!

I will be going abroad through a program called Lexia, which isn't your typical go abroad and study at a university kind of thing. It's more hands on, lots of excursions (to Poland and possibly Prague, as well as all over Germany), and requires students to do a research project. This can be on anything to do with Germany and can take pretty much any format. My plan, if it works out, is to film a documentary on the German culture, which would be a great way to incorporate both of my majors!

I'm also excited to meet the family I have over there that I've never met before. I have like 4 great-uncles and tons of cousins in Germany, so my mom and I are planning on going over about 5 days early so she can introduce me to my family (whom she's already met) and can get a feel for the program (my mom's pretty worried about me going abroad, she wants to see where I'll be staying and everything). My grandmother actually called her brother, Albert in Germany, the other day to tell him that it was official and everything and I guess he's all exciting, he wants us to stay with him and everything, so I'm just really, really excited!!

That's about everything exciting happening in my life right now. I'm pretty much just focused on getting through the rest of this semester and making my way over to Berlin!!

But here are a few more pics of my life:

My family
(you can tell my dad and brother just love having their picture taken, lol)

Our almost 3 year old yellow lab, Dixie

Dixie, when she was still little and cute ... and not quite so mischievous