It’s a big planet, full of cultures and perspectives that can enrich our daily experiences. But how do you dive in and make the most of intercultural opportunities? Sangita Gosalia, the director of campus engagement in UD’s Center for International Programs, encourages students, faculty and staff to consider ways to develop skills that broaden cultural awareness and help them thrive in cross-cultural environments. Below, she shares some tips.
Imagine an alternative perspective
“Naturally, we tend to experience the world through our own lens or sense of reality. By challenging ourselves we view other possibilities and deepen our understanding of the world,” Gosalia said.
Grab a journal
Self-reflection looks different for everyone, whether it’s writing it down or sharing in a group discussion. “Start with yourself and evaluate your own personal values, strengths and weaknesses. Ask yourself how your upbringing and experiences in life have informed that and why?” Gosalia said.
An experience outside of your comfort zone will be significantly more productive and meaningful if you take time to familiarize yourself. “Take the initiative to read foreign media and watch documentaries. Educate yourself around international issues, global issues and trends,” Gosalia said.
Balance structure and spontaneity
Attend a neighborhood street festival, or visit a cultural center in your city. At UD, there are a number of initiatives that provide great opportunity to ask complex questions. “The structure removes the intimidation and makes [interactions] more comfortable and authentic. It puts more intentionality into the process of relationship building,” Gosalia said.
What’s holding you back?
Fully immersing yourself in another culture can be overwhelming, and that’s okay. Ask yourself what you are afraid of and identify the barriers. Maybe it’s cultural perceptions or maybe it’s unease surrounding travel. “It’s really about starting with the self. We build critical-thinking skills by examining the self in relation to others,” Gosalia said. Once you know where your hesitation is coming from, you’re more likely to be willing to take the risk. Remember: It’s OK to be uncomfortable. Embrace it!
Whether we work in highly specialized fields like medicine or technology or happen to be making a health care speech on Capitol Hill, our messages must be delivered in a way most can understand.
All UD students regardless of major spend a semester learning that skill in Principles of Oral Communication, a Common Academic Program course that teaches the foundations of making information clear to particular audiences and promoting civil discourse in the process.
Coordinated by communication lecturer Jason Combs, the course incorporates input from professors across academic units whose disciplines have their own communication challenges. The textbook created especially for the course teaches students to start with the big picture. And then, they’re off:
Know your topic
The communicator must have a strong grasp of the topic’s concrete principles. With that level of understanding, he or she can then determine the best ways to connect with the audience. Sharing a story to illustrate the idea is often helpful.
Decide what’s most important, and present only that information. It’s better to pick a smaller amount of information and have the audience
retain all of it than to present a larger amount with minimal retention.
This helps facilitate understanding and generate ethical dialogue.
“The goal is understanding, not debate,” said Joe Valenzano III, chair of the Department of Communication. “The goal is not to change another person’s position, but to get a better understanding of why people think the way they do.”
Know your audience
“This class taught me to increase my awareness of what I communicate,” said senior Kayla McLaughlin, a student in the School of Business Administration who added communication as a minor after taking the class. “I focus on how to say something in front of different people so they’re receiving exactly what I want them to know.”
Every consumer decision can be your vote for freedom — or your support of slavery.
RosaLia Stadler takes her choices seriously. A junior political science and human rights major, she has researched slavery used in creating consumer products.
The International Labor Organization reports that 20.9 million workers are coerced and trapped in jobs worldwide. They could be picking your coffee, sewing your clothes or packaging your produce. Lies and intimidation could be keeping them in low-paying jobs or unsafe conditions. In other cases, it’s barbed wire and shackles.
Stadler is researching whether consumers are willing to pay more for slave-free products. She’s also changing her consumer habits to make the best shopping choices possible. Here are her tips.
1. Educate yourself. For Stadler, it began in high school when her father had her watch the movie Taken. “This really happens?” she asked about the plot: kidnappers abducting girls for the sex trade. The answer is yes, even in Ohio. She recommends the Polaris Project for issue and advocacy information and Abolition Ohio, a UD-started organization created to stir society’s conscience about all forms of slavery.
2. Look for the green label. Fair Trade USA certifies products to help you choose those made by companies supporting sustainable livelihoods for workers and the environment. Stadler purchases only fair-trade coffee. Grocery shopping does take longer when you’re on the hunt. “You have to look for the green label,” she says. “It’s not on every box of cereal or vegetable.”
3. Google it. When training for a half-marathon, Stadler knew she needed better choices for her running shoes. So she Googled “ethically made tennis shoes.” Her research led her to choose Mizuno Wave Inspire.
4. Think local. It’s hard to know the worker history of clothing you pull off the rack. Unless the manufacturer specifically labels its products, it is best to fall back on what you know. “I try to buy made-in-America clothes, and I thrift shop a lot,” she says. She also buys local produce.
5. Shop at a fair trade store. Stadler has one in her hometown of Akron, Ohio. There, she buys gifts — which also help educate the recipient. “I wear three bracelets to remind me of what I’m so passionate about,” she says. “One made in Nepal supports women’s education; a second was a gift and equals a month’s worth of water in Ethiopia; and the third I bought in Dayton to support the Polaris Project.”
Say hallelujah — this spring, campus got Flyer’d up in a new way.
To showcase the University of Dayton, the Media Production Group partnered with student a cappella group Remedy to produce a parody of the song “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars. The end result was a 3.5-minute video with catchy lyrics and campus scenes.
It was a group effort: Remedy wrote the lyrics, ArtStreet recorded the song, the Media Production Group filmed the video, and the UD community spread the message far and wide. To date, the video has more than 169,000 views, almost 2,400 likes and more than 2,300 shares on Facebook.
It was a true collaboration to share the University of Dayton story. Mike Kurtz ’90, director of media productions, his assistant Tyler Back, and two Remedy members share a behind-the-scenes look at how the video came to life.
Don’t believe us? Just watch: bit.ly/flyerdup.
1 Pick your theme. To create a parody, it’s important to consider the message you want to communicate to your audience. Kurtz, Back and Remedy wanted to show off what’s great about UD, and they ensured the message was consistent in every aspect of the video. “When we thought about where we were going to shoot, what we were going to shoot and who would be in the shot, we’re thinking about how we can best showcase the University of Dayton community,” Kurtz said.
2 Spread the word. Back utilized a social media plan, complete with research and resources, to get people involved. University and student social media accounts, including Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram, were used for video teasers, promotion and recruitment for students to act as extras in the video. They also approached students on campus to ask if they would like to be involved. “We wanted to get a lot of people excited and rallied around this idea to really drive its execution,” Back said.
3 Make the music happen. When Kurtz approached Remedy with the idea, the students were already prepared with a rendition of “Uptown Funk” they’d been practicing for competitions. Junior Hannah Snow took the lead in re-creating the song lyrics with other members. “There’s no preparation when I write parodies; it just kind of comes to me,” she said. For others who want to try their hand at writing, her advice:
Have fun, use personal memories and experiences from others, make
it rhyme, and most importantly, make it enjoyable for listeners.
4 Catch it on camera. Once the song recording was finished, Kurtz and Back assessed how it would look onscreen — a representation of the UD community with the same essence as “Uptown Funk.” “We didn’t want to duplicate it shot for shot, but we wanted to create scenes that evoke the look and feel and style of the original video while still communicating our own message,” they said. They filmed in locations across campus, used a stretch golf cart instead of the limousine, and even created a rig to replicate the 360-degree gyro spin used in the original music video.
5 Have fun. Watching UD’s version, you’ll see students enjoying a sunny day on campus — but in reality, the outside temperature hovered at 30 degrees that day. Not to be put off by a late-spring cold snap, the crew forged ahead. Sophomore Holly Gyenes had never performed in a parody video, but said she had a good time despite battling the especially brisk spring air. “For it to be the production you want it to be, you have to take everything up a notch, amp up your performance and make sure your audience is having fun with you.”
Forgive, forget: it’s a choice most of us face throughout our lives. The church teaches on the power of forgiveness; seminars and self-help books have focused on the subject; Google brings up millions of hits. But that’s just the process of learning how to forgive. Alan Demmitt, associate professor in counselor education and human services, wants to know if there’s more to it.
Demmitt discusses the concept in his Integrated Approaches to Clinical Counseling course, geared toward students preparing to become mental health counselors. He’s been conducting his own research for the past two years on how forgiveness, or lack thereof, affects mental health — and our daily lives. Though psychology major Michaela Eames ’15 hasn’t taken his course, she’s taken interest in his research. “This isn’t an area I’ve seen much about, so I find it really interesting,” she said.
While most of us aren’t mental health experts, avoiding a grudge could be as easy as following these steps and considering the questions Demmitt poses through his research.
1. Look beyond the books. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is the reference guide mental health counselors use to diagnose mental illnesses like depression or anxiety. However, there may be additional factors to consider. “Things you won’t see in there are bitterness, resentment or a lack of forgiveness, but there are many people struggling with those issues, and it could lead to depression, anxiety or fractured relationships,” Demmitt said. Taking those negative feelings into account could help individuals pinpoint — and solve — the problem.
2. Consider your values. Whether you practice a religion or not, certain values could influence your approach to forgiveness, Demmitt said. As part of his research, he interviewed a group of 10 clergy of different faiths about how they apply their religious practices to forgiveness. He’s transcribing the results and plans to next interview individuals without a faith tradition. Eames wonders if research could also address one of her observations: “Forgiveness is innate in
everyone, whereas faith is not.”
3. Establish a forgiving spirit. Demmitt devotes a portion of his research to how people prepare for forgiveness. “I’m focusing on what people do to be ready to forgive when a situation arises,” he said. “How do they go about cultivating this sense of forgiveness in their lives?” Eames calls it “stabilized forgiveness”: finding its origin and learning how to keep it going to prevent a grudge from interfering with
4. Keep it up. It’s easier to accomplish something than it is to maintain it, Demmitt said, like losing 5 pounds versus keeping it off. “Are there habits and practices people engage in on a daily or weekly basis to keep a forgiving spirit about them?” his research asks. Like the religious figures Demmitt interviewed, following a certain faith tradition or another moral code can contribute to maintaining the forgiving spirit you establish. While Demmitt has not yet reached a conclusion in his research, Eames contends that addressing the process — and the topic itself — is an important first step in helping people live happier lives.
As children, we’re taught to sing about twinkling little stars and wonder how they are; we learn to wish upon them; we hope to catch those that fall and put them in our pockets.
But what doesn’t often get included in these lessons is how to find the stars and their constellations. One University of Dayton class seeks to change that.
Andrea Massimilian ’14 took the stargazing class, taught by Brother Dan Klco, S.M. ’92, during her senior year. Today she is a first-year fellow in the Orr Entrepreneurial Fellowship program.
For those of us outside the classroom, here’s your own ticket to stardom.
1. Know when to be in or out. Klco structured his classes around three different scenarios based on cloud coverage. “If there was complete cloud coverage, we would be learning in the classroom about the night sky and constellations,” Massimilian recalled. “If there was partial visibility, we would be in the classroom for part of the time and then work with a telescope. On the nights where there was no cloud coverage, we would go to a farm about 40 minutes away and view parts of the solar system, like Jupiter and Mars.”
2. Take a field trip. The best way to view stars is away from the “Dayton bubble,” Klco says; the campus and city give off too much ambient light, preventing many stars from being seen. True stargazers find a dark area away from any lights like the farm where Klco takes his class. There are also other ways to view stars around Dayton. “We took a field trip to the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery’s planetarium and got a private tour of the gigantic telescope there that is open to the public on Friday nights,” Massimilian said.
3. Know the constellations of the season. The constellations change from season to season based on the orbit of the Earth. “Most people know that in summer you see the Little Dipper and Big Dipper, but where are they in the winter?” Massimilian said. You can visit websites, like stardate.org, to look up what constellations can be found in each time of year.
4. Do not mistake your stars. The gospels of Luke and Matthew tell the story of the Nativity of Jesus. An important element of the story is the Star of Bethlehem, or Christmas Star, which guides the three Magi from the East to Jesus. They bless him with gifts and receive a divine warning to not return to Herod. It is not uncommon to hear people confuse the Star of Bethlehem with the North Star, which many people also associate with guiding slaves to freedom during the Civil War era. Since it is unlikely Jesus was born Dec. 25, it is hard to know what in the sky was the brightest the night he was born, she said.
5. Apps are your friends. Klco provided his students with several websites and apps for them to resource throughout the semester, like Star Chart and Night Sky Lite. They benefit users by helping them pinpoint constellations in the sky. “If you open the app on your phone and point the camera at the sky, the app will outline the constellations and identify them for you,” Massimilian said.
After a bittersweet summer of last times and goodbyes, it’s finally here: your first year of college. You’ve got to find your place, make a new group of friends and begin planning for your future. But you’re not alone; you’ve got the entire UD community cheering you on.
Here are five ways to make your first year at UD the best it can be (from those who’ve been there).
1. Just do it. Throw caution to the wind, along with your social anxiety. “Talk to everyone,” says Alyssa Marynowski ’13. “If it doesn’t work out, try again next weekend.” Enjoy the thrill of exploring things you’ve never done before and dancing with the thought of meeting your best friends after one moment of social bravery. “You don’t know anyone, and there are thousands of people,” Marynowski says. “Be yourself. If someone doesn’t like it, one of the thousands of other people will.”
2. Embrace the community (bathrooms). As a first-year student at UD, chances are you will only live in a dorm for one year. Living in close quarters with your peers can be scary, and less than private, but you’ll definitely never be lonely. “It sounds cheesy, but keep your door open. Really,” Marynowski says. “I met one of my best friends of five years by popping my head into her room and telling her I liked her comforter.” So, embrace the closeness of your floor — open your door, say “hi” to a neighbor, plug in those portable iPod speakers and start up the shower karaoke. It will never be so easy to have a dance party in a bathroom ever again.
3. Eat. UD’s dining halls were rated No. 9 in the country, according to the Princeton Review. As a first-year, you live less than a block from the nearest dining hall. “Take advantage of that meal plan before you have to start cooking your own meals,” says senior electrical engineering major Matt Sprague ’15. Until then, swipe that FlyerCard and keep an eye out for open events with free food. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even end up loving the club that’s sponsoring it. “Get a calendar and mark every date that has an event with free food, and hang it on your fridge so everyone knows,” says Marynowski. The “freshman 15” is worth Marycrest’s pasta day and free Ben & Jerry’s.
4. Work hard, play hard. It’s really easy to get caught up in the college party scene, but staying focused on why you’re really here is the best decision you’ll make. “Find that balance,” says Marynowski. “I had a lot of fun, but I also got good grades and got involved. Find what motivates you; it will keep you in line.” Marynowski was a double major in English and public relations, and was president of Gamma Epsilon Lamba, a coed service fraternity, her senior year. You could also find her at the funniest theme parties with the best costumes. “Don’t be stupid. You can have fun and not ruin your life,” she says.
5. Don’t settle. UD offers endless opportunities, but here’s the catch: you have to go get them. “Do as much as you can, because freshman year is really the only year you have enough time,” Sprague says. “Don’t waste it.” Honors societies, campus recreation and more than 200 other organizations are just waiting for you to jump in. Attending Up the Orgs in Central Mall at the beginning of the year is a sure-fire way to find your niche. “Join a club,” Sprague says. “Because you might not be where you want to be going into your senior year as far as leadership goes, just because you messed around your first year.” If you do it right, which you probably will, you’ll want to go back and do it all over again.
Click HERE to watch a video of the 2014 Up the Orgs day.
First, there was the tree in the backyard your parents told you not to climb. Then came the rock wall at the mall your friends said was too high. Next was whitewater rafting the summer between sophomore and junior year in college. You remember when you “accidentally” chose the more dangerous left route, even though it’d made news earlier in the week for all the wrong reasons.
Even if these don’t describe the kind of adventures you’ve been on in the past, it’s not too late to start.
“There’s not an age limit on being adventurous,” says Emily Wilk, assistant director of UD’s outdoor education programs. “It all depends on what a person is comfortable with doing.” Campus recreation members can feel more comfortable thanks to UD’s Outdoor Engagement Center. Opened last August near RecPlex in a building that alumni may remember as Rudy’s Fly-Buy, it offers outdoor gear rental, a DIY bike repair station and education clinics.
Wilk offers five tips for anyone seeking a successful time in any neck of the woods.
1. Be spontaneous, at first. Wilk says sitting down and considering all the ins-and-outs is fine once you decide where you want to go. As far as deciding what you want to do, “Go with your gut,” she says. “But also know your limits.”
2. Do some research. Taking a class may seem like a bit of a drag for a spontaneous backpacking trip, but for someone who’s never done it before, it can be invaluable. Wilk says learning as much about the area, the adventure and the people you’re with is always helpful. “It shouldn’t just be about the rush of adrenaline,” she says. “By knowing what local bookstores, restaurants or buildings are nearby, you’ll get a whole new set of places to discover along your path.”
3. Have a plan. What are you going to do first? Where are you going to set up? Wilk says having a plan in mind is important because it helps you make the most of your time. Without one, you could spend hours wandering around. “This is where the research you’ve done comes in handy,” she says.
4. Be prepared. After you figure out where you’re going and what you’re doing, make sure you have what you need. “The last thing you want to happen is to try and go rappelling and realize you have no rope.” Wilk says you also should make sure you’re going to be with a group of people you know, or at least have a friend with you. The Outdoor Engagement Center gives students and staff the materials they need — including backpacks, stoves, tents and sleeping bags — for trips ranging from one day to one week.
5. Have fun. “New experiences are wonderful,” Wilk says. “You get to see new things, meet new people and learn about the part of yourself that you may have thought never existed.” Adventuring, she adds, is one of the most pleasant ways to enjoy the outdoors.
Got a minute?
That’s enough time to convince people they need to hear more, says Jay Janney, associate professor of management and marketing and founder of UD’s Business Plan Competition, now in its eighth year.
“The goal of a pitch is to entice people to listen further, not to get a final commitment,” he explains. “For an entrepreneur, that means getting an appointment to pitch the full plan.”
Janney, the Robert and Patrica Kern Family Foundation Faculty Fellow for Engineering and Entrepreneurship, has coached hundreds of students in UD’s elevator speech competition — named because the spiel can be shared in the time it takes to ride three floors in an elevator. He says it’s the component students usually dread.
“It’s a good life experience for students, but they hate getting up to give pitches. After they do it once or twice, though, they begin to enjoy it, and they get it. We founded the Business Plan Competition to give students an experience they don’t get in class,” he says.
Here’s how to knock your own pitch out of the park:
1. Be an attention-getter. “A good opening, or ‘hook,’ resonates with the listener and leads to the problem statement, which ought to make your audience nod and say, ‘Yeah, that needs a solution,’” Janney says.
2. Say (or play) it again. Janney teaches this technique: Give your pitch, then visualize the sort of good news you’d want to call home and tell your parents about. “I ask them how that feels and how they’d say it. Then, repeat the pitch. It changes. They are more enthused, more natural.” Or, follow the lead of Aaron Pugh ’13, who won first place in this year’s contest. “I recorded myself giving the speech, then listened to it on my iPod. When I went to sleep, I left it playing.”
3. Know it’s not all business. An elevator speech isn’t just for entrepreneurs, Janney points out. “When I networked campus, I found many departments have a pitch; they’re just called different things: an audition, a tryout, an interview,” he says. “The worst thing you can do when selling yourself is ramble, or be unsure or appear to waste someone’s time. Someone who is focused, relaxed and sincere stands out.”
4. Make ‘em laugh. Pugh is energetic and funny — and he wanted his pitch for Hot Seat, a portable, heated stadium chair with a USB hub, to reflect that personality. “I like to joke around, so I incorporated that into my pitch; it made it feel more natural. My tagline was, ‘Don’t let frost bite your buns.’ It was clever — and I figured, nobody else is going to be talking about your butt, so it’s memorable.”
5. Remember your audience. “What you need doesn’t matter to anyone else besides you; your pitch has to appeal to the person you’re talking to,” says Pugh, who has developed a prototype — and attracted some investors — for Hot Seat. “You only have 60 seconds; make sure you’re emphasizing the benefit to them.”
When Erin O’Connell ’14 sits down at her family’s holiday table each year, she expects a side of laughter with her cheesy potatoes. They will tease each other about who got to fill their plate first (the O’Connells line up by height, shortest in front) and continue poking fun at the couple who mailed frozen meat to an aunt in advance of the party — but forgot to tell her, so it thawed on her front stoop.
“Sitting down together over a meal is crucial to our relationships with each other, and to food,” says O’Connell, a senior dietetics major and president of the Student Dietetics Association. She notes that coming together at the table is central to the Marianist tradition.
As psychology professor Jack Bauer points out, “People need rituals. We are hard-wired to be part of groups, especially family, and in a time when our society is so complex — people are living all over and are busy — we need to have a set place where it all comes together, even just once a year.”
Meals also offer time for reflection. “You don’t need to have long, in-depth conversations about the meaning of life. Just by talking about the things that you’re doing, that you’re interested in, you’re talking about what’s important to you. You’re checking in with each other, and maybe finding ways to help each other,” says Bauer, who serves as Roesch Chair in the Social Sciences.
1. The family that cooks together, stays together. Or, at least stays happier. “Cooking as a group takes the pressure off one person to prepare the whole meal and be stuck in the kitchen,” O’Connell says. Also, plan ahead. If hosting a potluck, coordinate dishes so there’s adequate oven space, or ask guests to bring cold dishes, like a salad or fruit tray.
2. Think big (but serve small). In Brian Wansink’s book Mindless Eating, he notes that when food is placed in a smaller serving bowl with smaller serving utensils, people will take and eat less. “It’s a mental thing. You think you are eating the same as you would from a bigger bowl, but you actually serve yourself less and are still satisfied,” O’Connell explains. Aim to fill your table with a quarter protein, half vegetables and fruit, and a quarter grains.
3. Eat first, play later. No, you don’t have to give up grandma’s triple-layer pecan pie. But eating lean protein and vegetables before arriving can help you make clearer choices. “You’ll eat less because you’ll be full faster,” O’Connell says. Then, get moving: run a 5K together, throw a Frisbee around the yard or turn on some tunes and dance. “My family always plays flag football the day after Thanksgiving,” O’Connell says. “We enjoy working together as a team, but it also helps people feel relaxed and happy since physical activity produces endorphins.” She recommends scheduling your fun between dinner and dessert; it allows your cells to use those nutrients before you ingest more sugar.
4. Keep the fun (not the food poisoning) going. One memory no one wants: an illness epidemic. “Don’t let the food sit out for more than 90 minutes,” O’Connell says. “Not only does this follow recommended food safety guidelines, it also keeps you from eating more.” Another idea: Leftovers can make great one-dish entrees the next day, with little effort. O’Connell suggests turkey noodle soup, gnocchi using mashed potatoes, or a casserole. “Combine the rest of your vegetables, turkey and stuffing, add a cream soup, and put it in the oven.”
5. What guests don’t know won’t hurt them. One final tip: “If you alter recipes to reduce the fat and sugar, keep it a secret,” O’Connell advises. “Not everyone is ready to make those changes.”