Posts Tagged ‘Campus Clipper’

Giving Back: Think Outside the Box

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

I would like to take a moment to disclose a secretive piece of advice to you. Are you listening? Okay good. Giving back doesn’t have to involve working with an organization. Now I know you’re thinking, okay cool Sam, thanks for making me read all these articles on different organizations that don’t even matter. Well don’t think that. They do, but there are so many different ways to give back and help mankind. Use your own brain to think of creative outlets to show love every day in the city that never sleeps. But as always, if you need some inspiration, here are some ideas from other students.

 

In 2000, the movie Pay It Forward impacted and challenged viewers to realize the importance and effectiveness of doing good deeds for three people, without expecting anything in return. Although viewers were inspired, this challenge was forgotten once the business of life was piled on them. Don’t let this happen to you. Bring it back! As a person who is addicted to caffeine, I need my coffee fix every time I venture into the city, and maybe you feel the same way. The long lines never bother us as we wait for our delicious treat. But maybe instead of using our racked up Starbucks rewards for ourselves, lets “pay it forward” and use it for the person behind us in line. They don’t need to know it was you, as you slip past them with your coffee in hand and out into the city. The point is to help someone in a little way, that can change his or her whole day. Upsizing from a tall to a grande can change my mood enough. Now, if it was magically paid for, wooaaaah, even better.

 

"I see dead people"....no wait, wrong movie.

Wanna help your friends first before diving into helping others? Okay fine. Invite over friends or coworkers to your place for a homemade dinner. It’s a generous way to show them that you care. I mean forget cooking for them, the fact you clean up your house for visitors is a loving sacrifice in itself, am I right? A good meal and great conversation is a perfect way to show you care for your fellow NYC friends.

 

When I was living in Florida the summers were hot, like super hot, like no one should EVER vacation in Florida when it’s August because you gunna melt. So whenever I saw the Homeless Voice newspaper on the side of the road asking for donations I always felt bad that for 8 hours of work they may only have one drink with them. I began buying water bottles and tried giving them out every day on my way to school. In fact one guy saw me so much he called me “water bottle girl”, I guess I forgot to ever tell him my name. Other than the one time I learned, after giving out some water bottles I left in the car, that the water can become toxic once the plastic overheated, and freaked out that I could be the reason of death to homeless people in south Florida, it was pretty much a success. I mean who doesn’t want free water on a hot day?

 

Because I was handing out water bottles multiple times a week, I saw the same workers for the Homeless Voice every day. This allowed me to spark short stopped-at-a-red-light conversation with them. You never know what you can learn about someone until you speak up. Who knows, I might have been the only one to say something more than a “no thank you”, out the window of the car, or a sympathetic nod. So why not try it yourself. You don’t need to seek out the scariest homeless person in the neighborhood, or go into strange areas to do this, just be aware of who you see every day on your commute. More often than not, you see someone that could use your help. Be creative in how you can help them, whether it’s a water bottle in the summer or coffee in the winter, you can always reach out on your own and help one relationship at a time.

 

One of these water bottles is good, one is toxic. You would think it's the fallen one, but no! It could be either, dun dun DUN!

 

Think outside of the box!  Can you knit scarves? Do you have some extra coupons at a burger joint? There are so many ways to give back that don’t require you to serve in an organization. Start now!

 

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Samantha Bringas

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Giving Back: On Your Own

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Now if you already graduated or don’t want to be affiliated with your school, no fear, you can serve on your own! It might be a little more work, but if you go out and find an organization that really echoes your passions, it’s worth it. Find one that fights for what you love, or even better: one that fights against something you hate. We live in a towering metropolis, people from all around the world make their way towards NYC with hopes of dawning a new life. But with an abundance of people, there is an abundance of problems. Thankfully there are many organizations that try to combat these dilemmas, one issue at a time. Here are some organizations that I found to be engaging and unique. After confirming them in Charity Navigator and investigating their webpage, I recommend checking out these groups.

 

First we will start with a familiar organization, Habitat for Humanity. Habitat for Humanity has an uncomplicated system allowing you to go onto their website and view their upcoming projects. They give you the flexibility to choose a day that works specifically for you to sign up for. And get this: you don’t even have to know how to work a chainsaw to help! When scanning through the sign up page, I saw jobs available for office support or simply painting walls. The best part of this organization is that you can just volunteer one day and don’t have to feel pressured to come to another workday until you’re ready. You can easily sign up for yourself or even a group of friends that want to get involved. Who knows, you may have such a great time that you all decide to volunteer regularly.

 

The YMCA isn’t simply a place to attend a woodshop class, but is a great place to volunteer and help out with the youth in the community. The neat thing about this company is that there is a local YMCA in almost every big city. In fact, there are 22 YMCAs sprinkled all around NYC, so yes, there is one near you! Because there are programs for students of all ages, you can serve in many areas. Even if you feel like college math is not your strong suit, you can tutor young students in their elementary math courses. I remember being in high school and paying attention in class, but just not getting calculus. With the guidance of students around me, explaining different tips and formulas, I was able to pass the class. If tutoring isn’t your forte though, there are opportunities for assisting with coaching or refereeing at different youth sports games, or even using your organizational skills to plan one of their many special events.

 

I honestly don’t even remember how I stumbled upon this organization, but I am so glad I did! A House on Beekman is located in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the United States, the South Bronx. Their goal is to revolutionize the area and help families including single mothers. They do this by teaching Mommy and Me classes for mothers, while volunteers watch and play with babies and young children. If you are majoring in elementary education, or just simply love children, this would be a great experience to use your skills to volunteer as you make your way through college!

 

An extension of the Polaris Project, an organization that aims to end human trafficking, GEM Girls is an group that specifically focuses on helping and educating girls who were victims of sex trafficking. They host residential units that create a safe atmosphere for women that were victims of this abuse, as well as send speakers out to inform local schools of this problem and ways to fight it. Although this can be a hard organization to get involved in, hopefully it can inspire you to learn more about contemporary human slavery that exists around the U.S. and encourage you to get involved in some way to spread awareness.

 

As you can probably tell, these organizations appeal specifically to me. I love working with people, especially teenagers. If this is not your deal don’t be dismayed, there are so many organizations out here in NYC that are just waiting for ready help like yourself! Surely these organizations have ignited that light bulb in your head, inspiring you to look on your own for an organization that matches your taste. Don’t worry, if you are still lost on how to help your community in every day life, just read further!

 

 

Proof that serving with a group of people is a great way to make friends. Here I am with a group at Christianville Haiti, check out more about this great organization below.

Proof that serving with a group of people is a great way to make friends. Here I am with a group in Christianville Haiti, check out more about this great organization below.

 

 

Habitat For Humanity:
http://habitatnyc.org/volunteer/individuals

YMCA:

http://www.ymcanyc.org/association/pages/volunteer1

A House on Beekman:

http://www.ahouseonbeekman.org/category/volunteering/

GEM Girls:

http://www.polarisproject.org/

And to learn about where I went for summer break in school, click here!

 

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Samantha Bringas

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Giving Back: Where to Connect

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

 

Now that you are prepared, well prepared-ish, we move on to the biggest complaint students have. “Yeah, but how? Where do I go?” You would think that with my whole chapter on research, you would know how simple it is to get connected. But if you do not know where to connect yet, all you need to do is simply seek out clubs at your school. There are clubs of all different subjects, including community service. So to make it even more simplified and handy for you, I’ve compiled a list of different colleges in the New York City area. You will see how easy it is to get involved in a club and serve not only in your community, but also with other classmates your age. The colleges I chose were NYU, Hunter College, Columbia, and Parsons, but don’t close this eBook just yet. What I’ve realized is that the process of finding clubs in colleges is very similar. So if your school is not on this list, don’t feel disheartened. This article can still assist your pursuit.

 

NYU

Without being a student I was able to investigate the available clubs. On the main directory page I simply looked under Community Service. In this section there are so many groups that allow you to give back through various approaches. For example, clubs like Arts in the Community and Make Music encourages students to use their artistic skills in order to help sponsor children in art or music programs who normally don’t have the funds to pursue their dream. Another community service oriented club is CHEFs for School, is a group that stands for “Cheap, Healthy, Eco-friendly Food” which focuses on educating students about proper nutrition and meal preparation. Each club has their own webpage that explains their purpose and provides an email for you to easily contact the club’s leader.

 

Hunter College

The same method can be used here, but this college takes it a step further. Hunter College has a system set up so that after you find a club that peaks your interest, you can see what time the club meets and view other students who are involved. For instance, the Sustainability Project is designed to spread awareness of environmental issues specifically in NYC; they have a whole page with available spots for outside links and photos of their latest events. Because Hunter College created this unique set up, you are able to see current and relevant information about what each organization is doing.

 

Columbia University

Now, this school was a bit harder to research. In order to find more information about the clubs, you need to be logged in. So I can only help you to an extent. Although, during my lurking I saw that they have a group called Community Impact. This club included all sorts of activities like serving at food pantries, working with Habitat for Humanity, completing a Project for the Homeless, and many more.  Seems like this would be the easiest option to get plugged into for some volunteering opportunities right?

 

Parsons

Of course here at the New School of Design, you are able to use your own unique talents to give back, so it doesn’t come as a shock that there are unique clubs on their list. Some ideas I found: the Sisters on the Runway, which is a runway show put on every year to raise money to prevent domestic abuse. The funds raised at this event are donated to shelters that provide job training and keep victims of abuse safe. Of course, if you would rather use your brainpower over designer skills there is a whole group of clubs in the Political Action section. Here you can choose what issue you would prefer to problem-solve in order to restore your community.

 

As you can see, there are many volunteering opportunities just waiting for you at school. If you don’t have friends at home that encourage you to serve, then seek out a new club to join. You will be surrounded with peers who have a similar fired up passion about a specific cause who can encourage you and make serving a fun, exciting, experience. So go join one! With that blazing passion, you’re bound to start a wildfire of kindness! Too cheesy? Okay lets just continue onward…

 

YOUR KINDNESS IS THIS POWERFUL....okay this is actually kind of scary. Moving on!

 

 

Club Directories:

NYU: http://www.osa.nyu.edu/directory/club_directory_cat.php

Hunter: https://hunter-community.symplicity.com/index.php?s=student_group&au=&ck=

Columbia: http://communityimpact.columbia.edu/

Parsons: http://www.newschool.edu/student-services/student-development-and-activities/student-organizations/recognized-organizations/

 

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Samantha Bringas

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Locating the Right Schedule

Monday, April 14th, 2014

    It was 7A.M. in Niigata, Japan.  I had written down my destination for the day and how long it was going to take.  I had planned everything, wrote down all the things I needed, made sure there was plenty of time for all that I wanted to do.  There was going to be a major card tournament that I was not going to miss.  Despite being a location over 6000 miles away from my home, I was able to find my destination and have a great time.  Because of my careful scheduling and planning, it was one of the best days I had in Japan.

    Scheduling is the next step of the travel process.  Using the list of goals and locations of interest as a guideline for your trip, creating a timetable based on these lists will save lots of time and money.

Location

    When there are areas of interest close to one another, this allows for the chaining of activities.  For example, Chinatown, Little Italy, Soho, and Saint Mark’s Place are cool locations which are within a reasonable distance from each other.  Because these locations are all so close to one another, someone can set up a route between these locations and visit all of them within a few hours.  If one were to make a trip to lower Manhattan, they can go to Chinatown to buy some souvenirs, grab lunch at Little Italy, shop for some clothes at Soho and then finish it off with some dessert at Saint Mark’s Place.  In this example, creating a route lets planners visit three major tourist destinations while saving a bunch of  time due to their distance.  Furthermore, it can be advantageous to list down extra routes in case plans backfire.  Leaving an area early, road construction, closed locations and such problems can hinder a route.  Don’t forget to make sure the neighborhood is safe as well!

A map route created using Google Maps

Look at the Times

    Always check down the hours certain locations are opened.  Imagine travelling for an hour just to see a closed sign hanging on the door of the museum!  A few simple Google searches can provide the times and dates for many locations.  Calling a restaurant, museum, store and hosts can save a lot of wasted time.  Not only that but the staff can give recommendations to cool events in the area!  Finally, it is my advice that plans should be given an extra hour for breathing room time.  Sometime it just takes a little longer than an hour to eat lunch.

Travelling with other people

    Travelling with friends and other people can create great and lasting memories; however, doing so can also create terrible experience.  Different people can have conflicting ideas, personal preferences and conflicting interests can cause a good plan to go bad.  While one person might want to check out the ancient castles of Europe, another might want to spend a day on the beach to catch some rays.  Despite all this, travelling with many people provides great company, security and can cut costs.  Travelling by yourself can get pretty lonely and dangerous in a foreign area.  Having friends to lean back on in case of trouble can be worth all the possible drama by itself.

Sometimes it's hard to get along

 

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This was written by Gary Chen of Stony Brook University

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Giving Back: Be Prepared

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

 

Now that you have recognized your strengths and passions, and you understand the importance of researching, we should discuss expectations and how to get started. Unless I have become the J.K. Rowling of the “how to” eBook world, which would be an awkward title, you are probably reading this alone. There is no fan club picking this up, so you are probably sitting at home and reading this because 1. I know you and made you, or 2. You have a personal interest in volunteering, but do not have an available organization or club to tell you step-by-step guide on options and expectations. Hopefully these tips will help you feel more comfortable, flexible, and prepared to begin serving in your community.

 

  1. Serving can be more than a soup kitchen
    Nothing is wrong with serving weekly at a soup kitchen. But why is this always in the movies as the most popular hit volunteering opportunity? There is so much more than that! Look back at your skills and personality traits and use those to serve. If you like building and creating with your hands, jump on a Habitat for Humanity project. If you’re artsy, offer to paint or create illustrations for a nonprofit. Love sports? Volunteer to be a children’s soccer coach for a season with children. The more interests you have, the more opportunities you have to serve.

    Don't be Barney Stinson and wait until mandated Community Service to volunteer locally.

  2. Be realistic with your wardrobe
    This should be very obvious. If you are working with children or teenagers, dress in a way that you would want your child to dress. It’s awkward for parents to meet a youth leader and have to worry about “where to look”. If volunteering with a professional organization, dress to impress, despite the fact that you’re not a staff member. If you love volunteering there and they’re hiring, who would they rather hire, an outside candidate or you? More likely than not it’s fine to wear a t-shirt and jeans. Just be smart.
  3. Commitment
    No fancy way to say it, it’s a pretty important trait so there is no three word combo like “commitment ceases conflict”, although that does sound good. When you find an organization you love, you will be on fire to serve. And hopefully when you go, you will enjoy your experience so much that you won’t want to leave. But don’t dive in too deep. Be realistic with your schedule, yet tactful. If you can volunteer once a week, awesome! If you can only commit to once a month, that’s fine too. As time passes you may feel like you’re missing out, and you will find a way to make time in your schedule. Like I stated in a previous article, if you volunteer somewhere you love, it won’t even feel like work.
  4. Practice Flexibility and Patience… what everyone loves to hear!
    That was sarcasm, if you didn’t realize, or is this the first sentence you have ever read by me? It’s preeettty common in my writing. As much as I would like to encourage you to volunteer in a position that you love, the fact of the matter is that specific position may not always be open. But don’t feel discouraged; instead try a different job. As always, you never know: but you might love it. If not, hopefully you can just get your foot in the door for other volunteering opportunities in the future. For example, at my church in Jersey I serve on Sundays helping with young children…like babies… with poop and stuff. It was not my first, or second choice, but I knew the church needed the help. Now not only do I love seeing the same little faces each week, but I’ve talked to others about different serving opportunities that I can use my talents for. And now I am helping with the social media aspect of the church. Because I was willing to help in one way and waited patiently, jumping at other volunteering opportunities, I am not only enjoying working with children but also assisting 140 characters at a time.

 

Awe isn't this such a precious picture of changing a diaper...ABSOLUTELY DECEITFUL...but I will spare you the horrifying details...

 

I hope that you feel a bit more prepared, not to change a diaper, that requires real life experience, but hopefully you feel open and ready to serve where ever you are placed! You are probably still wondering why I haven’t helped you connect with an organization or tips towards that. Well, keep reading.

 

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Samantha Bringas

Follow the Campus Clipper on Twitter and Like us on Facebook!

Interested in more deals for students? Sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter to get the latest in student discounts and promotions  and follow our Tumblr and Pinterest. For savings on-the-go, download our printable coupon e-book!

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Giving Back: Research Organizations

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

In my opinion, working with kids is fun and not usually nerve wracking, so the most stressful step of deciding where to volunteer is the research process. Back in high school, volunteering was easy because teachers seemed to always have good suggestions about organizations, but now that you are out on your own, figuring out where to start can be stressful and confusing.

As I stated before, recognizing your strengths is a critical step towards volunteering, but put that on hold for a minute. Researching: this is THE most important step to volunteering, at least in my humble opinion that you should take, if you want to succeed, ever. Okay maybe not, but a step that most people forget is to research organizations before simply jumping in. We are constantly fed information all day long, what to wear, what to eat, and as much as we think we are rebels (which we clearly are not) we accept the norm. Don’t let this pattern apply to where you choose to volunteer. Research each organization. If you are clueless about where to start, just simply follow these steps to ensure that you will find a trustworthy company.

 

  1. Question Why
    Ever have someone come up to you on the streets of Manhattan asking if you are 21 in order to sign a petition? Of course you have! If you haven’t, consider yourself lucky that you don’t have to lie every time, awkwardly responding with, “nahhhh sorry I’m twenty”, giving your best childlike smile and breaking away. So when a disaster strikes and a number pops up on the screen demanding your donation, put down your phone. Don’t you dare text a dollar amount to that number without researching first. Ask yourself, why? Why should I donate to you? Many people each year become victims to unreliable companies. Last summer CNN teamed up with the Tampa Bay Times in order to investigate “America’s Worst Charities”, charities that waste a huge percentage of their donations on wages and solicitors. During this investigation they discovered that many people were donating to the Kids Wish Network. At first glance you might think, “oh yes I heard of this, they send children to Disney blah blah”- No! That is Make-A-Wish Foundation. Many companies similar to the Kid Wish Network camouflage their name and purpose in order to sound identical to a more popular organization. After CNN posted this article many people who had donated to the Kids Wish Network started retaliating against the group. In the study, CNN realized that the Kids Wish Network only donated 3 cents of every dollar to the cause. This means that when you donate, only 3 percent of your donation goes toward helping children. Which leads me to the next tip.
  2. Question How Much
    When working with an organization you should know where your money is going. Don’t settle for a roundabout answer. Investigate the details of your contribution. Charity Navigator is a company created to assist with this issue. You are able to search for an organization, leaf through the charts and facts to find out where every cent of your donation goes. It even displays feedback from people who have donated to the specific cause and their experience with the company.
  3. Question How Often
    As important as it is to investigate the percentages, sometimes it is just as essential to watch how consistent a company is.  For example, the Red Cross gives about 90% of the donation towards their purpose, but they are not always consistent. After 9/11, the Red Cross was getting backlash from many contributors because the people realized that only one third of their donations were used for the victims in New York. Because of this backlash, the Red Cross made the decision in November 2011 to donate the whole amount to the cause. The issue with donating is, as a contributor you don’t always know what your money is specifically going to, but the positive note, in the Red Cross’ instance, is that the company is so large that it is always under close watch. In order to help eliminate this problem you can donate to specific companies that are based on a fixed amount or product.  For example, the popular One for One program with Toms or the $7 fixed donation at Sevenly. Most people have heard of Toms, but honestly, how many shoes do you need? Sevenly is an organization that sponsors different causes each week. They design t-shirts and posters for customers to grab, and with every purchase you make $7 is donated to the cause. Whether you spend $10 or $35, seven dollars is always donated.

 

If you can't decide on a style just pick a Grab Bag, 3 uniquely designed shirts from earlier causes. Select your size and the price is less than buying 2 shirts!

Obviously, it is vital to stay up-to-date with organizations and find one that fits your passion. Although we are all poor college students, we need clothes. So why not buy clothing with a purpose? Check out Sevenly today or sign up for weekly updates and support an organization that matches your passion! Remember, before you reach for your cash, debit card, or sign in to your PayPal account, ask “Why? How much? And How Often?”

Click here to learn about Sevenly and change up your wardrobe

 

Oh and I forgot to ask, where do YOU like to donate?

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Samantha Bringas

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Interested in more deals for students? Sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter to get the latest in student discounts and promotions  and follow our Tumblr and Pinterest. For savings on-the-go, download our printable coupon e-book!

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Giving Back: Discovering your talents

Friday, March 14th, 2014

Being actively involved in youth programs for 4 years, I saw many people dive into the deep end and jump out screaming. Working with teenagers has its joys and struggles. Joys: going on camping trips, watching movies, eating junk food…because it’s socially acceptable. Struggles: the drama, apathy, disrespect, family finance issues, “ADHD” that every kid has, oh and the DRAMA.  Sadly for the most part, it is unacceptable to smack kids across the head, even if you want to.

Me and all my children! Okay not really. This is a picture of me and my husband on our wedding day surrounded by the students in our small group. Probably wanted to smack each of them across the head at one point or another...love them!

 

As fun and rewarding as working with teenagers can be, I’ve noticed that not everyone is wired the same way. Watching youth leaders jump in and out was draining and discouraging not only for the students but also for me.

I can be flexible, if the requirement is to be flexible. Although if I’m set on a goal and someone throws another task at me, I may panic a bit. If someone invites me to a party and I know only one person there, I will dread it and spend the whole day planning an escape route. Yet if I’m playing a game of charades with a group of friends, I am totally down to act out 12 different characters.

Why does this matter? Well, I try as best as I can to really get to know myself. I believe that if I can study myself, my strengths, and my passions, I can serve in a way that utilizes my talents. If you serve at an organization, and you’re given the option of different jobs like working with children, prepping in a soup kitchen, or editing video footage, wouldn’t you like to serve using your gifts?

My point above was not to shame the people who tried to be youth leaders and left, but to encourage you to first look at yourself and your skills then start from there. The saying, “choose a job that you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”, doesn’t have to simply apply to your career, but also applies to where you volunteer. If you are clueless to what you enjoy, hopefully these ideas below can lead you in the right direction.

  1. Extrovert or Introvert?
    Ah, the lingering question. Am I an extrovert or an introvert? All my life I’ve been a very loud little person, but recently when reading a Huffington Post article called, “23 Signs You’re Secretly an Introvert”, I’ve realized that my personality leans towards introvert. The reason why I find this important to research, is not to label someone as introvert or extrovert, because more cases than not someone isn’t what they seem, but instead to use this tool to understand how your own mind works. It’s comforting to read an article from a fellow introvert and realize, I think that way too! By researching this simple trait you can better understand yourself.
  2. Career /Personality Quizzes
    Figuring out a future career during college is hard enough. Chances are you still won’t know what you want to do until you get actual experience. Why not use the info you received from a career quiz to help figure out what area you would enjoy serving in? There are many ways to serve, so choose something that you feel you can excel at.
  3. Find Your Passion
    Sometimes it’s too hard to just ask yourself, okay, what makes me happy? I always hated that question because I felt that there are so many different hobbies I enjoy doing. So grab a coffee (to get some caffeine to kick in), a pen and paper, and write down what makes you angry. Yes, angry. What do you see in the news, or on the streets that just makes you mad. If you can find an injustice in the world that bothers you to the core, then you have realized what is worth fighting for.
  4. Ask Your Friends
    If all else fails, ask your friends what they think. Close friends know you. They see what makes you happy and what drives you mad. Just before my graduation I made sure to ask my dad what he thought I could do for the rest of my life. Clearly, in my life, a degree is just the beginning. We brainstormed about what I’ve done over the past few years that I’ve enjoyed, which encouraged me to press further and figure out my role in society.

Self-actualization is a simple step that can help you understand your talents before you begin volunteering. Now that you have researched yourself, next you must research organizations.

 

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Samantha Bringas

Follow the Campus Clipper on Twitter and Like us on Facebook!

Interested in more deals for students? Sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter to get the latest in student discounts and promotions  and follow our Tumblr and Pinterest. For savings on-the-go, download our printable coupon e-book!

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Giving Back: Starting from Home

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

So you kept reading eh? Expecting me to list the best organizations that will help you change the world? Think I’m going to start with some statistic that is going to make you feel on fire for Cambodia? Well I’m not. Yes it is true that according to Compassion International for only $1.25 a day you could supply food, clean water, medical care, and education to a child in need, but I won’t bombard you with these facts, at least not right now.

Instead, let’s start from home. No really, start at home! Contrary to popular belief, we are not created to be alone. Independence will only get you so far in life. Yes, you can go out and get a job, stand out among the rest and work your way up the ladder, but in order to be truly successful you need community. Growing up you needed someone to guide you, but now that you’re an “adult”, you need friends to hold you accountable to your goals, build you up, and simply laugh with. Because of the mutual love and comfort you find in each other, these relationships cannot flourish without sacrifice.

So what better way to begin this journey of “giving back” than starting from home? You can’t learn to serve those around the world and strangers on the street until you learn to serve those you love (and sometimes can’t stand).

Here are some simple suggestions that will surely show you care:

  1. Give Housework Help
    When you live with someone, you start picking up on their “telltale signs” of a good or bad day. You can feel their emotions vibrate through the floorboards into your room. You just know. So on those days when their door is shutting you out, or they burst through yours crying about the stresses of a new job, give a helping hand. After sitting with them listening to their cries, and affirming that, “Yes, your boss is a jerk, no, they don’t deserve you”, take a moment to think of how you can help. Maybe the dishes are piling up and it’s their day to do them. Follow the Nike cliché and “just do it”. They may or may not notice, but that’s not the point. The point is you showed a little love to the person you spend every day with.
  2. Bring Friends Food
    Why do people say, “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” when we all know it’s actually pizza, or that “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”, when in reality the stomach is the key to every person’s soul? Sure we’re all poor students, but if just a few extra bucks can make your roommate’s whole day, why not “just do it”? I noticed the importance of this the other week when I ordered some Thai food to be delivered to my friend’s apartment in Brooklyn. I didn’t realize the portions would be so large, and there was no way I was gunna carry that back to Jersey. I offhandedly offered it to my friend and her eyes widened as she responded, “YES! That will be my lunch for tomorrow.” Finally I realized the importance of food to us struggling younglings in the city. So the next time you order from seamless.com or browse through all the meal coupons on the Campus Clipper, keep your friends in mind!

    If your roommate ever snaps at you, check around the room for a coupon...or unopened bag of chips...

  3. Being Sick Sucks
    Let’s just stop and contemplate all the places you touch on a daily basis. Just thinking about the subway alone is enough to make me gag. In the fast-paced rush of the city, we just don’t have time to get sick! Most of the time we don’t even have a chance to sit down to eat a healthy meal. Yet every winter we put off our flu shots and brave the cold. Even if you don’t catch anything, there’s a chance that one of your roommates will. Before you routinely run out the door, take a moment to check on the people you live with. More likely than not they don’t actually need anything, but knowing that someone is willing to take care of them is comfort enough. Maybe you’re not much of a cook, but opening a can of soup and popping it in the microwave can be exhausting for someone who’s sick with the flu. Doing this will only take two minutes, but showing that you care makes the heart happy, and healthy.
  4. Show Active Appreciation
    Hopefully, you live with someone who helps keep the place clean, or gives you a text while waiting in line at Starbucks asking what you want. (If not, maybe you could just slide this article underneath their door). Regardless, the most important component of keeping a relationship strong is the act of showing appreciation. So when they sacrifice for you don’t just say “thank you”. Verbally express appreciation for your roomie. It doesn’t need to be a sob fest, unless that’s what they need, (refer back to the girl in tip 1), but showing appreciation for each other will help calm those inevitable crazy days that come with a shared living space.

 

Sometimes all you need in a city full of pushy grimacing faces is a strong and joyful relationship with your house buds. But as I stated before, the act of helping only begins here. Now we continue onto serving outside.

 

If my short snippet about Compassion International did in fact interest you, you can find more information here: http://www.compassion.com

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Samantha Bringas

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Planning Ahead

Monday, February 24th, 2014

The most important thing a traveler can do before a trip is to plan.  Planning beforehand allows for the optimization of options and efficient use of time.  Taking out two minutes of the present can save hours of hardship and disappointment in the future.  Two essential steps of planning are having goals and being able to properly prepare.

Goals

Although sometimes it is fun to mindlessly wander around a new and foreign area, I found that the most rewarding feeling came from checking off something from my to do list.  Having an idea of what to accomplish during a trip creates the sense of fulfillment and duty.  Simple things like taking a picture with the Hachiko statue in Tokyo, spinning the big Cube in Astor place or taking a stroll in the botanical gardens in Singapore can make for a great story down the road!  Even simple things such as using up a coupon booklet can be something to work with.  Unlike those dreaded bus tours, creating a personal itinerary won’t have people staring into the air for hours.

When writing goals, two big questions should which should be asked are what do I like and what interests do I have? 

Preparation

I cannot begin to convey the many hours I have wasted because I made the mistake of traveling without being properly prepared.  When I travelled to Japan, I made many small mistakes which could have been avoided had I properly prepared for the trip.  In fact, I had to walk aimlessly in the humid town of Chiba for three hours because I forgot to print out the address of my hotel.  Had I took ten minutes out of my life to print out a piece of paper before I journeyed to Japan, I would have not only saved three hours of my life but also avoided the blazing heat of the sun.

 

     With proper preparation and research, savings can be had on many expensive things such as Broadway shows!  Did you know that certain Broadway shows hold lotteries and have discounts on certain days and times?  Another example of how research can help increasing savings while traveling can be seen through the admission fees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.  Upon entering the museum, many people examine the admission fee and pay $25.  However, did you know that the admission fee is actually a suggested donation?  Small little tidbits of preparation and research can open up amazing new routes and doors for the voyage ahead.

 

Of course, knowing where to look for information is a very vital part of the planning process.  Although a Google search can provide many possible locations to visit, having a second point of view on an area provides a lot of valuable insight for planning.  Always cross reference and visit more than one page about a certain location in order to get all the details.  Sites such as Yahoo Travel, Yelp, Trip Advisor), or even one of these travel blogs can help you find out if a place is the perfect fit.  By doing this, more developed opinions can be made by using past experiences of other people.

 

Gary Chen Stony Brook University

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The Avenger’s Influence on Generation Z: A Brief History of Comics

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

A Brief History of Comics

When I started this endeavor, I was a superhero enthusiast and was faced with the endeavor of writing about something that had depth. Do comic books have depth? With a glance at the cartoonish drawings, and the speech bubbles that peppered each page a person may be quick to give a resounding no. But why then have comic books been the source of entertainment for generations?
Entertainment, many fans agree, has both complexity and a real humanism about it. But isn’t that a curious thing to think about; the fact that even though most comics have superhuman characters, and otherworldly qualities there is something strictly realistic- even human- about the universe and characters that have been constructed.

Perhaps to understand the influence comics have on modern American society, I must recount the history behind them. Comic strips paved the road for the rise of American comic books; the Funnies (comic strips) appeared every Sunday much to the amusement of the 1930’s American. With this newfound creation, the combination of words and images connected people of all ages and intelligence level.

Comic strips grew so popular that the publishers began to reprint collective groups of comic strips in book form of which the first was the Famous Funnies (Stephen Krensky “Comic Book Century: the History of American Comic Books).[1] Cheaper than fighting for the rights to print already printed material, artists and writes began to form collective groups that created original material, of which the formation of Marvel stems.  In the coming chapters I will be focusing on Marvel’s The Avengers in particular. The history of The Avengers is a bit more complex and will be delved into throughout the book. But for a little background, the series started in the 1960’s has transformed from a cult following to a cultural phenomena. While the rotation of characters is too varied to list, the famous battle cry of “Avengers Assemble” is one of the constants about the series.

I have a few theories on why comics (and their subsequent movie creations) have such a great appeal. One, and perhaps the most obvious, is that it is a form of escapism. Comic strips were originally created to ease the depressive moods of unemployed workers during The Great Depression in the thirties (Krensky). That legacy continues in allowing today’s people a realm of hi-definition CGI action scenes and intense character development. My second theory is that there is a very human desire to be recognized, and seeing superheroes garner that recognition gives people hope that they too can do the same.
My driving question will be to investigate whether The Avengers has depth, and further, what effect it may have on today’s society. In the pages that follow, I will share my research and observation of comic book’s influence on my generation.


[1] Krensky, Stephen. Comic book century: the history of American comic books. Minneapolis: Twenty-First Century Books, 2008. Print.

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This is written by Francesca Ciervo, Freshman at NYU.

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