New Beginnings

New Beginnings

January 23, 2020 Reflections from Changemakers 56

It’s the start of a new year and a new semester and we have just completed Winter Retreat 2020 which focused on embracing difference and creating the BeLOVEd community. How are you going to use this fresh, new start to work towards a new goal? Set a goal for how you will continue the work we started at Winter Retreat and be an ally. What will you do to embody the qualities of an ally or Agent of Change?

56 Responses

  1. Grace says:

    I am going to continue to focus on my health and well-being this semester. I have made the mistake of putting work before my physical heath in past semesters and it had left me up unhappy with my mental and physical health. I am making that extra effort to make it to the gym or taking a half hour out for quiet me” time I am going to make myself a priority. I am also going to focus on how to respectfully say no to things I don’t have the space for in my life. I have too little time at Siena to waste it on things that aren’t helping me be the most successful version of myself. Lots of b-love
    Grace

  2. Samantha Gisleson says:

    I am going to use this fresh start to focus on both my own health and well-being but also on giving my all to everything that I am involved with on campus, including clubs, Bonner, classes, and more. My goal is to keep myself healthy while also taking time to be selfless and focus on others. I plan to embody the role of an ally by setting an example for my peers but also holding them accountable by speaking up if I may hear of or witness any behavior that is exclusive or hurtful. Overall I am excited about this semester and the new opportunities it will bring. With that being said, I also want to make sure that I don’t overwhelm myself so that I can give my all and be present enough to be an ally and a committed Bonner, friend, and student.

    • Andraya Perez says:

      I love your positive outlook for this semester! I am happy that your feeling better this semester and going to focus on staying healthy.

  3. Dana Wakeman says:

    My goal of this Winter Retreat was to get mentally prepared to begin service again as well as to challenge myself to reconsider my preconceptions. Taking what I have learned from Winter Retreat, my goal for this semester is to use my privilege as a college student to continue to learn in my classes as well as to develop my capstone into a project that will enable me to be an ally to the community. In order to accomplish this goal, I will find a community partner for my capstone, continue researching my topic, and develop my proposal so that I am ready to start my project next year. I am looking forward to this challenging experience as I work to use my privilege as a college student to create a sustainable project that benefits the community.

  4. Abigail Hoekman says:

    I am going to use this fresh start to work towards my goal of preparing my capstone which will be developing a diversity and inclusion training for my site. This Winter Retreat was particularly helpful for my capstone project as it gave me lots of ideas for my project and reminded me why the service and research we do in this program is important. I will use this to propel me into my capstone preparation and planning so that I stay focused on why I am so passionate about this topic. Also, continuing my work as a Damietta Cross Cultural Advocate will help me to put my ally skills and knowledge into practice with fellow students, faculty, and community partners.

    • Jamie del Rosario says:

      It’s so cool that your capstone worked so well with the winter retreat topics and conversations. Good luck preparing!

  5. Abeer Jafri says:

    I plan to use this new start to expand on my time management skills so I can make time for things I love, as well as my physical and mental health alongside my schoolwork and Bonner. My goal for how I will continue being an ally is to make an effort to be involved with more people and more activities that allow me to further embrace the diversity in all the communities I am apart of. To embody the qualities of an Agent of Change, I will always speak up for what is right, and help educate those who may need it in order to help make Siena as inclusive a community as possible.

  6. Jamie del Rosario says:

    One of my big personal goals this semester is to change my sleep schedule to going to sleep and waking up much earlier. So far it has given me a considerable amount of extra energy and has helped me to be more productive so I can work toward my bigger academic goals like finishing my capstone/thesis. As for being an ally and an agent of change, I will be applying to jobs soon and am hopeful that I will be in a position to continue fighting for the social justice issues that I have learned so much about through the Bonner Program.

  7. Marlie says:

    I am going to use this fresh start to make sure that I am maximizing my time by doing things I love. In this, I want to make sure that I am living in the present and am not as worried about things in the distance, but take each day as it comes. This is my main goal for the semester. Life is good, service is good, classes are good, and I am making strides everyday for my future so living in the present is what I need to do to enjoy each day.
    In order to be an ally, I want to focus on respectful and inclusive language and with that, will speak up if it may be hurtful to others.

    • Dana Wakeman says:

      Marlie, I’m glad everything is going so well! And it’s such a tough balance between being in the present and planning, but you’ve got this!

  8. Andraya Perez says:

    I am being to take this fresh start to really start focusing on my well-being and mental health this semester. This is my last semester is at Siena and I truly want this to be the best one yet. I am taking fun classes this semester that we teach me ways to perform self-care routines. I am really excited about this semester and I am hoping to leave Siena feeling happy and healthy.

  9. Amelia Butler says:

    This semester, I am really focussing on my desire to be more present in the activities of my daily life rather than being so caught up in thinking about the future. I really started to think about the importance of being totally present in the moment during Winter Retreat. Being an ally is about recognizing the needs of a disadvantaged person or group of people, and it is impossible to do that without being more present. You have to be able to pay attention to what is really happening and what people are actually saying in order to be a quality ally. I believe that by becoming more able to focus on the present moment, I will be much more able to pay attention to where I am needed as an ally. In order to embody the qualities of an ally, I really want to have more open and honest discussions with people and hear their stories. I want to listen and learn, and I want to let the people who need me direct me in my actions.

    • Kathleen Callery says:

      Great goal! Staying in the present can be valuable not only in being a strong ally but also in caring for yourself!

  10. Liliana Sanchez Adames says:

    This semester, I have decided on becoming a vegetarian, working out consistently and building financial wealth. I have actually started doing this since the beginning of the year and so far I have stayed strong and consistent to my goals. I feel like these changes in my life are going to make me improve my health and specially make me a more productive person. This will also enhance my energy level which lately has been not the greatest which will encourage a greater impact into what I do for my community, my family and my personal well being. The purpose to these changes is for me to become a more driven person and become more prompt to overcome obstacles. I am very excited for my last semester of undergrad and even more excited to finish it strong.

    • Andraya Perez says:

      I love this for you!!!! I think this is amazing you are prioritizing yourself this semester. It is inspiring to see! You got this!

  11. Aedan says:

    This semester has started off super crazy between job applications (scary), academic obligations, and being social, so my main goal for the semester is to focus on taking better care of myself. I have been setting aside concrete time to complete everything that needs to be done, while maintaining enough downtime for self-care. I believe that this will allow me to be a better Agent of Change and more present and successful in my service.

  12. Ivory Moore says:

    This semester I’ve decided to stand up and be more in control of situations that I see I can help out with. For example, last semester I was harassed by public safety because they assumed that I was the suspect who stole the wallets in Keirnan and Roger Bacon. They approached me during a meeting with my professor, although it was clear that I and my professor were members of the campus, they disregarded her concerns and continued to investigate. This lead to a meeting to discuss discriminative acts and being aware of your implicit bias and white privilege.

    I had the meeting yesterday along with the title nine coordinators. In conclusion to the meeting, I offered to facilitate training through our Bonner Wednesday night meetings on implicit bias, similar to the training we did for this winter retreat with the Bonner Foundation.

    I really enjoyed this winter retreat, and I feel like inviting Public Safety to workshops like ours could help change the campus climate to become more positive. My HEOP director also has found out about the situation and is making efforts to ensure that this can be carried out one way or another.

  13. Jack McKenna says:

    This semester I want to get a better understanding of where certain issues originated and the most effective ways to bring about change. In the past, and over this last semester, I learned a lot about social justice issues, may of them were new to me. Since it was my first time learning about them, I was more concerned with understanding the issue at hand; who it’s affecting, how it’s affecting them, and the different factors at play. Now, with this knowledge under my belt, I can begin to take a step back and learn where the issues originated from, why they were created (who benefited and at whose expense), and how I can be a more effective ally. Winter Retreat gave me a good jumping off point by introducing various ways to be an ally for communities such as the LBGTQ+ and the impoverished, to name a couple. My main takeaway is to question who’s benefiting from certain people being marginalized and discriminated against, and to always ask how I can help, because it isn’t always clear.

    • Michael Averill says:

      I remember how impactful my first semester of Bonner was freshman year because so many of the social justice issues were completely new to me. Once you realize the injustices that are out there, it’s difficult to remain quiet. Keep up the good work and never be afraid to use your voice!

  14. Alexis D'Aloia says:

    A new goal I have for this year is to pay more attention to the people around me in order to better understand others and their identities. This will help me to be an ally as I will be able to recognize the differences we have and how they play a role in shaping our communities. I’d like to become more aware of the things I can do to create a welcoming atmosphere on our campus and within our Bonner program.

  15. Hayley Pij says:

    I am going to use this fresh start to continue balancing my work with Bonner, Social Work and other commitments in my last semester at Siena! As things come to a close, it can be hard to stay focused and maintain all my commitments while having fun with friends. It will be critical for me to stay engaged with Bonner in my last semester and be an agent of change at my service site, the Troy Rehabilitation and Improvement Program. To be an ally within TRIP is to advocate for our tenants who are at risk of eviction and continue my work with resident services.

  16. Kylie Gilbride says:

    As I begin what I can’t believe is my last semester at Siena, my goal is to be as present as possible in both in and out of the classroom. I am beyond excited for the new opportunities coming my way and for what post-grad life will bring, but it essential that I make the most out of what little time I have left here at school and take it all in one last time. I truly want to enjoy every little thing about this semester, whether that is time to reflect in blog posts like this or my time in the service shuttle catching up with the drivers. Being present is also a key characteristic of an agent of change/an ally. I am really looking forward to conducting my research for my capstone via surveys, observations, and interviews this semester, also as an agent of change.

    • Alexis D'Aloia says:

      Super sad that you’ll be graduating, but I’m excited to see what awesome things you do moving forward! I love the mindset of being fully present this last semester… soak it all up one last time!

  17. Michael Averill says:

    I am excited for the opportunities that this new semester brings. I intend to improve my self-care habits this semester by making time for myself and reconnecting to my passions. Being involved on Siena’s campus is one of my favorite parts of college, but all too often it can become very overwhelming. I will prioritize my relationships with those around me and work hard to succeed in my classes.
    One of my favorite quotes for being an ally to others and creating the beloved community is simply stated by Ellen, “Be kind to one another.” If we go about each and every day being kind to those that we encounter, we will make the world a better place.

    • Alexis D'Aloia says:

      We love a good Ellen quote! It sounds like you’re off to a great start this semester especially with the self-care goals you’re setting.

  18. Tristan Hunzinger says:

    I am going to use this fresh new start as a challenge to be more productive at my site this semester. Since my main task is helping students apply for college, the workload typically dies off in the second semester because the seniors have already applied to their schools. This semester, I am going to be implementing a program to help familiarize myself with the current junior class in order to get them thinking about the start of their college search and application process. I am excited for this program and I am excited for College Access Day: this should be a busy semester!

    • Andraya Perez says:

      I am excited to see that you’re excited to work on other tasks at your site than the ones your normally do! Keep it up, Tristan!

  19. Nancy Rasmussen says:

    I’ve had many desired goals over my three semesters at Siena so far. Some were achieved and others were forgotten and overlooked as not being important enough. As my fourth semester is off to a fast start, I want to set a goal to focus on balance. Whether it be balancing classes, Bonner, social life, or the dance team, I need to remind myself that it’s okay to take a break to de-stress once in a while. As I said before, this semester is off to a fast start and that includes the launch of the project I’ve been working on for my site! As the student writing center coordinator at Troy Prep High School, it will be my goal to encourage the students to have open minds about new and different ideas. I think it is extremely important to foster these values at the high school level age to ensure a compassionate, caring future generation.

    • Alexis D'Aloia says:

      So glad to see your goal as balance! It sounds like you have so many exciting things happening this semester, but keeping in mind the need for those breaks is super important.

  20. Taylor says:

    My goal for this semester is to take advantage of what Siena has to offer. Last semester, I was very focused on adjusting to my new surroundings and meeting new people. I hope this time around that I will be able to get more involved with the school through other programs outside of Bonner. In working towards being an active ally I want to use respectful and inclusive language and try to influence others to do the same.

  21. Cody Romani says:

    This semester, I am excited to be in new classes and to meet new people. I’m really excited for new beginning and ready to focus on my goal of managing my time more effectively and appreciating all the little moments of my experience as it comes. I want to take what I have learned from the Winter Retreat to be there for all people and to recognize how much I do have in my life. I want to be there for everyone and make sure each person is respected and treated fairly. I plan on focusing and appreciating the uniqueness of each person and the different cultures and ethnicities of those around me. I will use my privileges as means to help others.

    • Jamie del Rosario says:

      This seems like a great reflective goal based on our Winter Retreat! I hope that you find yourself with plenty of new people in your life this semester.

  22. Chandler Edbauer says:

    With this new start of the year and the new school semester I will use the clean slate to try and do better. I constantly see a need for improvement within me, I will work to be healthier and gain more knowledge. I want to set a goal of going to the gym at least 3 times a week and raising my GPA. I will continue to better myself for others, to stand up and speak for those who don’t have a voice. I want to personally reach out to the American Legion, VFW, and Boy scouts within the area to volunteer and help those who need help. I will make sure that the passion I feel for helping others and my passion for patriotism can combine to make people’s lives better.

  23. Marykate Del Gais says:

    This semester I am going to focus on my mental health and well-being. Transitioning into college last semester really took a toll on those aspects of my life, I am looking forward to this fresh start. I am going to make an effort to go to the gym and eat better, while also maintaining my schoolwork and service. While doing this however, I intend to make sure I am happy and content with everything. To embody the qualities of an ally, I will educate those around me who may be unaware of what it means to be an ally. I feel as though outside of Bonner, people are not very well informed on these topics so I will do my best to relay the information to my friends!

  24. Mara Golden says:

    This semester, I am going to use this fresh start to find a new schedule to get everything done. I need to better my time management and know which things need to be prioritized. A goal I will set to continue the work we started over Winter Retreat is to remember to check my privilege and not complain when I feel things are becoming difficult. I can continue to be an ally by using the privilege that I obtain and help others.

  25. Samantha Lunt says:

    I am going to use this fresh start to focus on becoming more Independent. This is because I tend to have a hard time being able to do things on my own, so I want to work to become more confident in myself and my abilities. While stepping outside of my comfort zone more this semester. To continue the work we did at winter retreat to embody the qualities that an ally has I will work to be more inclusive and use what I have learned to help educate others.

    • Kathleen Callery says:

      You are such an amazingly capable person who can accomplish so much, I’m excited to see what will come out of this growth of independence!

  26. Pierre Dalce says:

    With the near year comes new goal and new challenges as well. However, we did start the year off right with winter retreat and our . Goals that should be set in accordance to our winter training should be to continue to empower ourselves with knowledge and training so that we continue to fine tune our skills that allow us to be an ally and allow us to understand everyone and their unique qualities and also be aware of our own privilege as well. One thing we can do in order to embody being an ally is to our quest on not only being a good ally, but always just being the best possible human beings that we can be.

  27. Sarah Ahmed says:

    With it being the start of a new year and a new semester, I hope to be more productive while taking time to focus on things I love. Time management is key and I hope to get my work done efficiently sol I am not stressing out as much. Since I have been here for one semester and have a better understanding of Siena, I hope to become more active in clubs to get to know my peers better. I learned an immense amount at Winter Retreat and I hope to use that information to hold myself accountable but also hold others, to better the Siena community.

  28. Kayla Sweet says:

    Hellererrrr veryone!!!

    My goal is to focus on myself and my own path this semester. I want to focus on myself mind, body and soul to be able prepare myself to graduate. It’s funny looking up to the seniors every year and learning what their path is for aftergrad and it’s honestly exciting to create my own. I want to be my own agent of change – my own perosn to look up to. I think zeroing in on what I want to do and not what I think people expect me to do will change everything and offer me immense clarity. So here’s to me being the best me!

  29. Tori Mangelli says:

    I’m excited to start over in the new year and new semester. With this new beginning, I plan to focus more on myself and my health. My goal is to begin working out more and eating healthier overall to have a more sustainable and healthy lifestyle. I have been working on this since Winter break and so far it’s been going very well. I know that if I continue to live a healthier lifestyle then my happiness will also improve. Thus, with this new energy and confidence boost, I will be able to work more efficiently at my site and being an ally to others.

  30. Erin Spence says:

    With the start of this new semester, one of my main goals is to advocate for myself more. As a member of the Bonner program and the larger Siena community, we are provided with so many great resources that are here to help us grow and meet the goals we are here to accomplish. Through my first three semesters, I found myself relying a lot on these resources and less on the strengths that I have myself. I know that I have a lot to offer the world and I plan to use this semester as a starting point in taking the experiences I have already had and bringing them to the next level. Whether this be in my work at my site, or even through the work I do for my classes, I plan to be more vocal with my own thoughts and opinions, allowing myself the full potential to grow and succeed. Along with being an advocate for myself, I also plan to be more of an advocate for others. Winter retreat was especially impactful for me this year and I plan to use the knowledge of privilege and diversity that I gained through that experience to be an ally and advocate for others as well.

  31. Ecli Vazquez says:

    Well for me I just got back from studying abroad so I’m little bit nervous to back into the swings of things. This semester I want just stay calm and believe in myself a bit more. I can be a bit harsh on myself when things do not go as plan. This leads to my goals of building myself up instead of breaking myself down as well as keeping my mind clear and away from any unnecessary distractions. Overall, I’m excited for what the semester has to offer and I’m ready to learn and help as much people as possible.

    • Kathleen Callery says:

      You deserve to give yourself peace of mind! I’m so proud of the work you put in. I believe that you will have a great time reflecting and growing this semester!

  32. Lulama Nyembe says:

    It is often said that you cannot adequately help others while you are in distress and in need of help yourself. That is why one of my main goals is focusing on maintaining a healthy environment around me. That includes my mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing as well as the things I chose to occupy myself with. In doing so, I will be better able to communicate and form relationships with others that are healthy and effective. To be an Agent of Change I am committed to carrying out the ways in which I can be an ally in everyday situations that could and have happened on campus. I aim to be more vigilant about what happens around me.

  33. Kathleen Callery says:

    This semester I am excited to give energy to the program and to the campus. The goal I am setting for myself is to be more present in situations. I think at times there can be a lot happening and it is important to slow down to be able to engage more. There is so many exciting things happening on campus so I hope to learn more about them. As I start planning my capstone, I need to begin learning more about myself and my interest. All of these things make me excited to get involved with campus again!

  34. Kiara Woodward says:

    I plan to embody the qualities of an ally by promoting and educating diversity on Siena’s campus and in life outside of college. While I do not particularly believe in new year resolutions this is a goal I know I can stick to. Aiming to create a community that is more accepting of the other and looks to educate rather than judge is ideal. I can do my part by spreading the knowledge and resources I have to those around me. Another important aspect of being an ally will be continuing to educate myself and learn about these topics. I want to use my privilege to advance the voices of those who are not being heard.

  35. Kevin Ziobrowski says:

    I plan on focusing on my social relationships as a last semester dragged me away from friendships that I cherish. Sometimes it can be hard to see everyone especially because work can be so time consuming. This semester should have a lighter work load however, and I’m hoping to make up for some of the time lost, especially with friends who I may not see for a long time again. I think by sending time with these people, I will be able to bring the love and comfort and sense of belonging I feel to those around me. Its easier to make other feel safe and comfortable when I myself feel comfortable. As an ally as well, it can help me become more involved with other groups of people and understand the dynamics more thoroughly.

  36. Maura Lynch says:

    My main goal for this semester is to focus on my classes, especially those that are creating a path to the future I want. I’m also hoping to set aside more time to focus on myself and my friends (even when they make me want to slam my head against the wall (shoutout Tori!)). I’m trying to focus more on the people around me who care about me and how happy I am around them.
    Winter retreat showed me how real the social justice issues that we learn about are, not just for the community but for people on campus and in Bonner. I learned just how important being an Ally is because there’s so many people around me who can be in need of someone standing up for them. This semester I want to use my privilege to help those trapped in situations of injustice.

  37. Stephanie Da Fonseca says:

    This semester I will start to focus a lot on my classes and the service I do on my site. My classes that are important for my future and to the career i choose to pursue. I hope to be able to start focusing on my physical well being also, by exercising and maintaining a healthy diet because even with all the craziness it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
    I wasnt present for winter retreat sadly, but from meetings and what I’ve heard it taught us a lot about social injustice and how our society has that rooted in them.

  38. Nia Colon says:

    I am going to use this new year to become more confident in my school work. I tend to stress about things that I cannot control and I want to be able to overcome my anxiety. I plan to be an ally by simply being there for those who need it. I think that if I am there for people who do not have anyone that can make a major difference.

  39. Sydney Maughan says:

    I am going to work to be more proactive in my classes and to form better relationships with my professors, so I can reach out to them when I need help. Usually I deal with things I don’t understand in classes on my own, but I want to start utilizing my resources, starting with my professors.
    As for continuing work we did at Winter Retreat I am going to work to not be a bystander and to be more vocal about the injustices I see, no matter how small. To embody the qualities of an ally, I’m going to be more involved in the campus community and build the relationships with the people around me.

  40. Kathryn Casey says:

    I will use this semester as a way to start implementing sustainable habits in my life that will help me be well rounded. I tend to either focus completely on school, or bonner, or self care and I wan’t to create concrete habits that will let me seamlessly juggle all the components of my life. I believe the more good habits I acquire the more tools I will have to be an ally or agent of change. Like we always say you can’t poor from an empty cup. I plan to fill my cup with knowledge, compassion, and self awareness. So that as I go forward this semester the positive is what pours forth instead of ignorance, apathy, and stress.

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