“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” -William James
Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a local engineering event open to the public (provided advanced registration was duly made online) called Hack Upstate, which this year, was held at “The Tech Garden” in nearby Syracuse. This was a gathering of bright minds from all over New York state, who got together with the sole purpose of seeing what kinds of crazy projects could be attempted (and even more, completed!) over the course of an ever-so-short 24 hour window. The word “hack” in the name might imply a certain affinity for computer programming, and while there were certainly a majority of code projects on display, the competition is not limited to them in any way. There were some incredible feats of electrical and computer engineering accomplished for such a short amount of work time, and that is just the tip of the iceberg! The purpose of the competition is to utilize existing technologies in interesting ways – apart from that, there are virtually no restrictions on what can be attempted.
There were people from all walks of life present – even non tech-oriented types who simply had ideas they wanted to see realized. It truly was a melting pot for innovation. One group materialized a web-based game utilizing the popular Bandcamp website, wherein players could vote on randomly generated bands in order to find the so-called “best band on Bandcamp”. Another group created a website where stories are dynamically created by the users of the site – any user could add new branches or alternate endings, etc.. to an existing story, at will. Cool stuff.
Now, this probably sounds like all work and no fun, right? Think again! Organized by the show-runners of Syracuse Startup Weekend, Hack Upstate is a less formal event that takes place twice a year, and is a rockin’ good time meant to encourage interaction amongst the participants in fun ways. It starts with idea pitching, where anyone can come up in front of the audience and try to sell their idea to everyone in the hopes of finding talent to help work on it. After the competition begins, its just a party, with practically unlimited pizza and subs and free reign to do pretty much whatever you want. (There’s even an award given to the most social/engaging group of the competition!) A few of us groups got together and decided to go to a local venue nearby and do work while listening to some live music – truly a memorable experience.
Repping Oswego was myself and recent alumni Nick Poorman, a former Computer Science major and founder of Regattable, a startup operating out of the Tech Garden in Syracuse. Being a relatively new event with little publicity, it is understandable that not more of us techies from Oswego showed up. However, I am going to go ahead and use this as an opportunity to call on all tech majors at Oswego (Computer Science, IS, ECE, etc…) to bring yourselves and your “A” game to the next event in the Spring! So, join Hacker League today and keep an eye peeled for the upcoming Hack Upstate in Spring 2014. Hopefully I’ll see you all there!
Any questions or comments you have about the event, its organizers, or who the winners were, submit in the comments below!
If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.
You may not have known it at the time, but when you decided to come to SUNY Oswego, you entered into a sort of social contract. By making the choice to pursue a higher education degree, you have made the choice to be part of a community. The community you and I belong to is called SUNY Oswego. The most important part of your end of the contract is your obligation to go to classes and do the work for them, but there is another part of that contract which may not be so obvious: being a valuable member of your community at large. The college has multiple avenues for being active in the greater community, but there is one common thread which holds them all together: you. Without student members of the extracurricular organizations and offices, there would hardly be anything to write home about at this school. And while you may not think your role in whatever group(s) you are a part of is particularly important, it most definitely is. If you take these bits of advice and try to behave more like a leader in your organization, you might see it spring to life and gain more influence and credibility in the community at large.
1. Confidence is key.
We’ve heard it a million times, but it can’t be stressed enough. If you know what you are talking about (or at least act like you do), people are more likely to listen and believe. But this isn’t about just being outgoing for no reason; I mean to say that if you work hard on something, it will show in the way you talk about it. So, sometimes it isn’t enough to talk the talk if you don’t have something good and tangible to back it up.
2. Dedicate time.
This appears to me to be one of the most common problems facing young student leaders. It is very difficult to set aside time for something when the first thing you learn about college life is the breadth of opportunities and activities available to you as a student. But if you can hone in on a few things and really set aside the hours for them, you will soon find people looking up to you and appreciating your effort and dedication to your club or activity.
If you can find some solid, meaningful, and well-defined goals for your time here at SUNY Oswego, you’re already two steps ahead of the competition. A good way to do this is to start big and work your way down. Find a few broad goals for yourself and compartmentalize them into smaller, more specific tasks, and keep working your way down more and more until you have found yourself in the possession of a set of tasks that are very easy and not stressful individually.
4. Enjoy what you do.
Most importantly, don’t force anything upon yourself. If an activity is not naturally part of your life, you might find yourself often unmotivated to pursue it. This may seem like common sense to some, however I can say from personal experience and first hand observation that it is very easy to feel the need to do something simply out of obligation to friends or maybe because you feel forced to. The trick is to enjoy helping others in the ways that you most easily can afford to.
Hopefully some of these tips stick with you throughout your college career, and hopefully I have helped you make some connections in your mind on what it truly means to be active and a good member of your community. This is an important skill set, one which will greatly enhance your personal and professional life – after all, that’s what we’re going to college for in the first place, right?
“No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive.” -Mahatma Gandhi
Have you ever thought to yourself, “Boy this campus is boring, there’s nothing to do here!”? Well, if so, you’re in for a treat today and this blog post is just for you! You may not know it, but there are a TON of student run organizations on campus (many of which are free and just require attendance & participation), and no college experience is complete without being a part of at least one. Its a new year and a new semester, so maybe its time to make a resolution and be a part of something, no matter how small! Without further ado, here are a few student organizations that you can join and become an active member of with relatively little or no prior experience:
Get back in touch with your wild side! The outdoor club sponsors trips to many of the natural wonders of the northeast. Expect lots of camping and hiking! They accommodate beginners as well as seasoned pros. They even have movie nights and often team up with other clubs to put on events, such as the ski and snowboard club’s campus rail jam. It’s a good stress reliever to get away from school and out into nature for a while, and this club makes it very easy, often providing trips for free! So check out their website and go to a meeting, you might just find it to be the perfect balancing out activity to your busy college lifestyle.
The official student run Art club on campus, these guys are down to earth. No pretentious art gallery fancy pants judgment to be found here. All of their information can be found near or in Tyler Hall Rm. 201. They put on educational events almost every week, and beginners are as welcome as anyone else with a passion for creativity and aesthetics.
Story Teller’s Guild
Yes, they are nerdy. But they are all also great people with a passion for fiction of all sorts, whether it comes in the form of comic books, games, or anime (among other things). Probably one of the largest groups on campus, they welcome geeks from all walks of life, and encourage members to host their own game/movie/role-playing etc. events. They also put on one large convention every year called ARCON, featuring plenty of game tournaments, panels, and memorabilia booths. Anyone can join, and you don’t have to be obsessed with the lifestyle to have a good time (even if it may be encouraged)!
Students for Global Change/ Go Green Team
Now two separate clubs, formerly under the umbrella club Students for Global Change, S4GC and the Go Green Team exist to promote environmental, social, and political awareness amongst citizens, with the Go Green Team specializing in environmental concerns and local green initiatives. Students for Global change often supports many other organizations on campus and encourages members to reach out to the community with their concerns, whether that be through workshops, personal projects or fundraising for global outreach organizations.
Last but most definitely not least we have SA, the glue which holds all of the other student organizations together. Believe it or not, the students who choose to participate in SA are doing it of their own free will, actively working to make the social and cultural environment on campus great for everyone. They have a lot of influence in many of the policies that are made by the administration and work very hard with average students who want to make something happen, but perhaps don’t have the tools or the know-how to go about doing it. In joining SA, you could gain a lot of experience working with people, which is something employers love, but they don’t necessarily teach in the classrooms. Their are many positions, from being a senator to a financial officer, and finding which is right for you would be a great step in learning how to be a leader in not just the SUNY Oswego community, but later on down the road of life as well.
Cut the Craft
Ultimate Frisbee Club
You can find information on all student organizations here, including many more specialized clubs for your more immediate interests:
I hope this was informative, and if I didn’t get to any clubs or organizations on campus (new or otherwise!) that are accessible and anyone can join, give ’em a shout out in the comments below!
Hey guys, I’m Dan Guglielmo.
I was on the Web Content team last year for SUNY Oz but this year I’m now blogging!
To give you guys a brief introduction of who I am, I’m a Sophomore here with a major in Cognitive Science and a Health Science minor. As I said, I went to this college last year and I really do like it here. I love living in such a great example of a “college town” as well as having our campus literally right next to the lake.
I’ll be posting on here with regularity once campus activities start occurring once again (we seem to be in a drought since the 3LAU concert?), and I’ll express what I enjoyed and maybe even disliked.
Dan Guglielmo 😀
Just a little video of me saying hi!
“Please try to remember that what they believe, as well as what they do to you and cause you to endure, does not testify to your inferiority but to their inhumanity and fear.”- James Baldwin
James Baldwin is one of the greatest writers to ever cross a pen on paper and tap the keys of a typewriter. His style is effortless but filled with immense depth. To know the story of James Baldwins life creates an even greater appreciation of what he accomplished during his lifetime. A prominent Black and Gay writer during the mid 50′s into the 60′s ??! Whenever possible please bow at the greatness of Jimmy Baldwin please.
Man, this may be the most accurate portrayal of school college. When I use to play the “you only get 2 games” I always got fustrated because I could never decide which I wanted. Yet here I am , again always stuck trying to decide between the three. Could this have been the source of my recent frustrations?
Maybe, but chances are it has more to do with these 4 major classes I am taking and trying to stay afloat in. Whatever the reason , it all leads back to this triangle. There has been a lack of consistency on my part this semester. At times, I’ve laid under the covers and said “rest!” then only but a few times, I have decided to go out and party and or drink(soda) all night long. Truest in its location however right at the top, hanging over my head has been the reminder that I want those great grades (not good). At times this has meant I went beast. Just running all around, staying up till all times of night, making a home of the library. Mostly though I have stressed myself to miserable levels and abandoned my promise to self to make sure I am taking time to enjoy life a little.
The sad truth (to me at least) about this triangle is that there is no one right way to approach it. In my eyes there is only room for one other choice. Getting good grades are not an option, nor should it be optional . But again to each their own, “Live let Live”. This leaves the conundrum of choosing between sleep and social life. For a couple of weeks I decided to choose sleep but that did me no good. It left me tense and ready to blow over like a pressure cooker. You see if you do what is required of you academically, you owe it to yourself to take a few moments if not hours to just enjoy the simpler or more carefree parts of life. Beware however it comes with a price, that price being precious time outside of your twin size bed and head under the covers.
So I guess there is no way to truly win or to come out successful is there? I’m lost and still trying to figure it out. Maybe you have the answer though. If so , don’t act stingy share it with the rest of the world!!! Me 0_0!
College has taught me a few very important things about myself. One is that that I am love with being organized. For example – my favorite part of a new year is buying a new planner.I love looking on the shelves to find that planner perfect for me. It needs to have lots of space to hot down homework, meetings, reminders to myself, ect. It also needs to have a monthly calendar to I can go through in advance and write down all of the due dates from my syllabi. I love the rush you get from color coding all the the assignments, classes, and meetings! It also needs to have tabs for easy flipping for month to month. Mmmm….I love planners.
My second area of organization is Google (mail,docs, calendar, ect). I’m so happy the University decided to begin to use g-mail and Lakerapps for our school mail system. It makes it to easy to be organized and share information very easily. Especially being involved with student organizations or group projects. You can customize sharing and editing privileges as well as track changes in documents. You can also share calendars with as many or as few people as you want. This is so helpful for organizations. I like to color cold my google calendar to match my planner!
My third step of planning/organization is POST-ITS. They are probably the best and most useful product ever invented. I use POST-ITS in my planner, text books, notebooks, and especially on my walls. I know…what a random place to stick them but, I’ve come up with a way to remember to do my work as well as motivate me to do it. After I sync my planner and calendar to my droid and set up reminders…I write each assignment on a POST-IT and stick it to my wall. (I know this isn’t green friendly-But, it is GPA friendly). One I write them all down I stick them on my wall. This way when i’m slacking off on my work watching The Jersey Shore…I’ll look at my wall and be reminded of what I have to do. Then when Jersey Shore is over and I finally finish my work….there is no greater feeling that watching the blob of POST-ITS come down one by one-showing how much I have accomplished!!
This past Saturday and Sunday I was very busy. Despite it being Halloween weekend, I did a quite a bit of community service.
Saturday I worked at Camp Hollis a camp for Youth in Oswego County. We worked there for about 5 hours doing everything from chopping and stacking wood, to cleaning the kitchens. We cleaned, cut, stacked, un-knotted, swept, scrubbed, moped, carried, shoveled, organized and covered. It was a very rewarding day for the almost 15 of us who attended. This is not my first time working at Camp Hollis. Last Spring we helped open the camp and were invited back twice this fall to help close. And there is no doubt in my mind we will be back next Spring.
Sunday I helped throw a Halloween party at Sunrise Nursing home, not too far from Campus. We provided decorations and games for over 30 elderly residents of Sunrise. This nursing home is very short staffed and with so many residents they have a difficult time providing activities. At first I will admit I was a little nervous to go to the nursing home, they’ve always had a stigma to me. But, when I walked in the door and saw how clean the facilities were and nice the staff I felt a little more comfortable. I was also nervous because I had no idea what to talk about with the residents and I was afraid of hearing problems, or Alzheimer’s but, before I knew it all of the Volunteers had found a few residents we clicked with a had quite an afternoon. We helped serve food, watched a nursing home Pinata go down and overall I got a new perspective on something I had been narrow minded about. This was an awesome experience and I believe everyone should try and take part in an event in a nursing home, you will leave with a new perspective.I know that in a few weeks APO will be underway of making Christmas decorations for a next venture with the Sunrise Residents. Below is a picture of Catherine who goes by Kat who played a special role in helping me to loosen up and enjoy a wonderful afternoon.
Thanks to those in APO who participated in both events this weekend and a special thanks to fellow blogger, housemate, APO brother and best friend Danielle Ferrara who played a huge role on organizing the Sunrise event.