That Business Thing I do

Somewhere in the chaos that was 2015, along with moving countries and chopping off my hair, I somehow joined a business organization. And considering the amount of righteous anger I have expressed over capitalism and the exploitation of trans-national corporations in the past 4 years, it was shocking. To me, and everyone I know. So here is the long overdue explanation of how it happened, and why exactly I’m still doing it.

I’m not good at directions, or reading maps. Particularly not campus maps, though I would like to state that I have give 2 different people directions to the room that caused this mess in the past few days. Its a very difficult room to find, and shares the first part of its name with the room just down the stairs from it. So when I meant to go to an Amnesty International meeting (normal, no surprise terse) I somehow found myself in an Enactus meeting. Of course, it took me a few minutes of the president speaking to figure out what in the world was going on, and by then I was much too uncomfortable to leave. I’d like to blame the English rubbing off on me there. But somehow I sat through that meeting, and at the urging of the lovely girl I sat next to and chatted with, mindlessly agreed to go to the application night as well. This is what I get for attempting to make friends.

So a week later, I found myself applying to this business organization. I didn’t take it seriously, I was unconvinced by their claims of ‘social enterprise’ and ‘business for good’ but it was the first few weeks in a new country and I needed something to do. I never thought I would get in, I don’t (and never plan to) study anything remotely business related. But for some odd reason, the exec member observing my group and reading my interview, Zoe, seemed to think I would be a good fit. Oh where that decision has taken me.

So long story short, Enactus is a international organization that connects student with businesses to help them create social enterprises to help local or international beneficiaries. The website explains this as:

A COMMUNITY OF STUDENT, ACADEMIC AND BUSINESS LEADERS COMMITTED TO USING THE POWER OF ENTREPRENEURIAL ACTION TO TRANSFORM LIVES AND SHAPE A BETTER MORE SUSTAINABLE WORLD

Please excuse me while I roll my eyes into the back of my skull over that statement, but behind all the corporate cheese, there is a lot of good Enactus teams across the world do.

Now because we all know I’m incapable of doing anything only part-way, I somehow became even more involved in this society. The project I joined was, at the start, just ‘the eastern european project’ an idea for a project that worked with victims of human trafficking in Eastern Europe. The initial research had been done by Zoe, though she was our Project Director, not Project Leader. So as we began research, we also had to sort out who that would be. And anyone who knows me can see where this went. A few weeks in and I found myself in charge of setting up an international project. Its 6 months later and I still have no idea what I’m doing, but the project has grown and developed into something amazing.

I have a lot of feelings about Enactus. And as I’m writing this, I’m pretty furious. I have days where I want to completely quit the society, and days where I would’t trade it for anything. For me, its a balance of all the things I hate versus all the good I can see these projects do. Its a difficult balance, especially on days when I’m tired and dealing with all the drama that inevitable comes with a society. But I’m still here, so it must be worth something.

Alex

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International Women’s Day

While all days should celebrate women, March, as women’s history month, and specifically March 8th, as International Women’s Day, are important. This year, I got to help organize a number of events on our campus to celebrate the day.

The first, and possibly my favourite event, was a panel on women in religion. While I’m a bit biased, as this is what I study, and I was lucky enough to chair it, the panel was incredibly diverse and had some amazing answers to a number of tough questions, from how religion can be a place for equality, to how our gendered rhetoric of “God” can affect our faith. 12792218_10153363527486767_7680097968735359878_o10446042_10153363531286767_3140959838720597427_o

 

I was able to attend the Women in Science panel, which was incredibly interesting despite not being in a science field. It was wonderful to hear from academics in the departments the way university structures, from ability to work part time and accessible child care affect how women progress within academia.

We were also able to host a Women in Student Media panel, which was so exciting because while the other events had been interesting, they were all academics and professionals, where this panel was able to discuss events on campus and how students lives are impacted by gender in campus societies. And as someone in Student Media, it was really great to hear from some of the passionate and powerful women in the years above me who have made the way in student media for women, as well as how we can continue to address gender disparities in the representations we create.

Sadly, I was unable to attend the open mic night that was filled with what I know were amazing performances by women from across our campus.

International Women’s day is special, and happy. But also a great reminder of what we have to work towards. But for a bit, I just want to celebrate being a woman, and all the incredible ladies in my life.

Alex

Another Late Update

So this is for last week, late again. Unsurprising with how busy it way. Busy is becoming too much of a trend, though thats not particularly surprising.

The trip to Romania is this week (as in I’m currently in Romania) so the build up to the trip last week kept things busy. Lots of emails, paperwork, and the general stress of knowing a major international trip was coming. Exciting, but stressful.

Things in SCAN our student newspaper have picked up, the article I mentioned last week is up at here as well.

I feel like so much keeps happening, and I want to record it all. New goal, maybe?

A post about this project and of course the trip are in the works, but until then!

Alex

Oh look its Friday

Writing this post has been on my to-do list since Sunday, but yet here we are on Friday, talking about last week. Whoops.

With non stop meetings, a training in Manchester, the tech and dress rehearsals, and the show Saturday and Sunday night, last week was a whirl wind. I’ve rearranged some of my meetings, so I have two extra meetings, but it also shortens my Tuesday meetings by an hour or two. Its a tradeoff for sure, but sometimes having an hour off makes the day a lot better.

Last Thursday we actually booked the trip to Romania. Next Wednesday (the 24th) two of my project members (for Enactus) and I will be headed to Romania to meet with local NGO’s, our project partner, and a number of survivors of human trafficking in variety of stages of recovery. I am both incredibly excited and panicking, just a little. When I started university, I had no idea I would be running an international non-profit a few months later. I love it, but the responsibility is also a little terrifying.

My involvement with SCAN (our student newspaper) seems to grow a little week, but the excitement of seeing something you wrote on paper never goes away. I wrote an article about the university’s  ‘I Won’t Stand for It’ campaign last week, and seeing it front page was a thrill. That article is not up yet, but some of my other articles can be found at http://scan.lusu.co.uk/index.php/author/alexandra-brock/

I’ll try to be a little more timely in my update this week (as in a few days) but I make no promises.

Alex

 

Sunrise

I have a complicated relationship with the sunrise. I’m not sure if I love it or hate it.

I love the time as the sun rises before the sun actually rises into view, when the sky is purple and pink, sneaking up the horizon, chasing the night away. Its quiet, there aren’t enough birds to make much noise this time of year. With a cup of coffee, standing on the porch outside my house, its a moment of peace before the day starts. These are all the reasons I love the sunrise.

I hate the sunrise because I think the earliest time of day that should be seen twice is 8, and the sun rises long before that, even this far north. I hate the sunrise because if I’m seeing it, my sleep is all kinds of a mess, and the day ahead is going to be far too long. But I guess if its one of those days, at least it starts with something so beautiful.

Last week was a few too many ‘sunrise’ days, and there are more to come. I’m feeling quite a bit better than last weekend, and if nothing else, days that start that early are at least incredibly productive.

It seems like everything is moving very quickly right now, TR:ust has grown so quickly in the past months, and I’m beginning the countdown for the first trip to Romania. International Women’s Day is approaching in early March, and as per usual I’ve managed to get involved in that. For every item I complete, it seems I add two more to my to-do list. But my classes are interesting, and reading for class is somehow a break from the chaos all around. I know we don’t go to university for all the societies, but part of me believes we do. I could take these classes online, read these books anywhere. But the things that happen on a campus, the energy, the push to change things, that’s why university is important. So my focus may drift from my course occasionally, but in the end, its definitely all balanced.

I’m trying not to drink too much coffee, and the salad I packed for lunch (yes, I packed my lunch because I am an adult and planned ahead) is calling my name to balance out the amount of caffeine I’ve had. Here’s to another week of seeing all the sunsets and sunrises.

Alex

What to do when you’re sick at Uni

That moment when you wake up, and it feels like you’ve been hit by a bus. The first conscious swallow hurts, the sniffles begin, and you dread opening your eyes. Yes, its that time. The time of year (winter) when everyone gets sick. Yesterday I had the “it feels like I’m getting sick” feeling, but I woke up this morning sick. There is a very big, and very not fun difference.

Luckily, its a Saturday, so I was able to spend a good part of my day under the covers. I probably looked mostly dead in the meetings I had, but I am quite unbothered by that. The current day-in-bed uniform is my favourite flannel, (mostly because I could wear it to meetings) a pair of St. Andrews pajama pants that have great pockets for cough drops and tissues, which are tucked into my Red Sox fuzzy socks (thanks Mollie). I know, its easily the most attractive look of the year. I’m sure it will be all over the runways soon.

I’d say I’m eating soup because I’m sick, but to be honest, I always eat soup. Like at least one meal a day is soup. I had some spicy tomato soup earlier, though if I’m feeling a bit better tomorrow, I’ll be making this soup, which is like chicken noodle soup for the non-meat eater. I have some raspberries in the fridge that will also be eaten. Probably right after I finish writing this.

I have a collection of cold meds (because honestly, I always (and basically only) get colds) as well as a bag of cough drops and Emergen-C. What more can a sick uni student really need? Probably a bit more sleep and a not as many meetings, but there are just so many exciting projects going on in life at the moment, I can handle the little cold.

Alex

(counting on the fact that I get it together over the next day or so, there will be a bit of more normal, weekly update post soon)

It begins again

I’ve finished my first week of the second term of my first year of university. I meant to write a week ago about flying back and settling in, but jet lag thoroughly kicked my butt. I’ve decided to move away from weekly update posts, though I still plan to post (almost) weekly, but with a little less rigid structure. Just write a little more.

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It feels really good to be in a new year. 2015 was a big one. A life changing one. One I really need to write about, but thats another time. I want 2016 to still be big, but maybe with a little less dramatic change.

The flight from Austin to Manchester (plus the train to Lancaster, and the taxi to the university) is not fun. Will never be fun. But its definitely livable. And much less stressful now.

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I stood in proper snow for the first time I can remember. It was beautiful. I think even a few days of gently snow makes up for the cold and rain that is the weather here most of the time. Running errands is so much more fun when there are snowflakes getting caught in your hair.

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The first week back was difficult. Getting back into the swing of things always is. I feel more settled now, but the week ahead is so busy. Its only Monday and I already feel like I’m being pulled in a hundred directions. One of my housemates told me yesterday that I put too much pressure on myself and I’m trying to remember that. I don’t have to do everything.

More to come.

Alex