Jeff's role in the 2010 traveling theatre production of "Military Memories" is featured in the Fall 2010 issue of Reflections, the alumni magazine. "Military Memories"was performed on stage at SVSU and in Calgary, Canada, in front of World War II veterans. He's so passionate about his experiences here, he wanted to share what his experiences at SVSU have been like. Here's what he had to say:
SV: What has been your favorite SVSU experience?
JD: I am not able to define a specific instance to be classified as my favorite. For me, everyday on the campus is its own experience that brings it’s own challenge. It is a time to create memories, to prepare for future endeavors, and to reflect on what it means to be a part of the community of SVSU as a whole. My experiences range from chairing and creating “Leadershipalooza,” SVSU’s annual residential leadership conference, to being a Resident Assistant striving to make a difference in the lives of others, to creating Voice of Leadership, a year-long leadership development program for students. I have also had the opportunity present at leadership conferences at big universities like Oklahoma State University, University of Arizona, and University of California – San Diego. Here I have shared what we are doing with other schools, and we have the potential to collaborate ideas and programs.
Not only have these experiences changed me to the person I am today, they allow me to understand that leadership is like an experiment. We test for the right variables to find the best solution.
The more I learn from the different organizations that I have been a part of, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Each opportunity that you emerge yourself in creates a chance for you to experience the finest elements of college: people, knowledge, and identity. Building a positive reputation for yourself is the best thing you can do.
College is designed to make you different from the time you start to the time you leave. It sure has made me a stronger, “live life to the fullest” kind of guy. Not only will I leave with a diploma from SVSU in a year, I will leave with fond memories of friends, memories of professors who have made a difference in my life and encouraged me to reach to new heights. Several faculty and staff have found my potential and put it to good use. But, most importantly, I feel fully prepared to enter the real world, as they call it. As scary as it sounds, it's almost time to spread my wings. As much as I love my home back in South Lyon, SVSU will always be my nest.
I will never forget the minute I stepped foot on this campus. I felt the rush of something I knew I wanted to be a part of; so I followed my dream and decided to embrace everything that SVSU stands for. Anytime I am able to stand up in front of a group and share my knowledge about life, leadership, and striving to uncover your potential, my day is complete.
SV: It sounds like you've had a lot of opportunities to "stand up in front of a group of people" and to develop your leadership skills. How do you do this?
JD: I challenge myself to be a risk taker but still be focused on an intended purpose. To never let myself be defeated as hard as life might seem to be. Surround myself with positive people at each present moment.
SV: What advice do you have for students thinking about coming to SVSU?
JD: As a freshman, I was admitted to the Living Leadership program. “It was my jumpstart into what I’m doing now – it opened my eyes and doors to all the opportunities available at SVSU.” Living Leadership is a program for up to 40 selected incoming freshmen that will live on campus. Students chosen to participate in the program live and learn together in a residential community. The program includes residential community participation, committees, book read, formal leadership development and campus involvement. Students must have a high school GPA of 2.50 or better plus evidence of leadership in school or community.
One thing I love about Living Leadership is its “Kick Start Camp,” a three-day program that introduces Living Leaders to each other. Says Jeff, “I knew 30 people before classes even began!”
SV: Where do you see yourself in say, five years?
JD: I plan on becoming a High School teacher of English while directing theatre, and coach a competitive speech team. While attending SVSU, and discovering how much I loved the residential experience and my leadership passion, I might be leaning towards a Masters degree in Student Affairs where I am able impact the lives on college students every day.