The Season of Giving

Contributed by Brittany Tang

Christmas post

Here in Michigan, the winter months seem to set a much needed peaceful atmosphere in the hustle and bustle of exams. As the snow falls gently from the sky and accumulates on the ground, sparkling ever so slightly, a quietness blankets the city of Ann Arbor. Students study in the warmth of the residential halls and cozy up next to soft velvet blankets, sipping hot beverages as they work hard to make their mark on the world. I’ve met some very inspiring individuals who are motivated to constantly do their part to benefit others. They lead organizations that help the impoverished, raise money for better education/health systems overseas and work hard to share with others their philosophies of kindness and global citizenship.

As Christmas approaches, I think of those who aren’t so fortunate to have a warm place to sleep during the bitterly cold and windy evenings. I also think of the children and adults who have limited access to medical and educational resources whose Christmases are consumed with worry and distress. In my local community, these people are the homeless. They roam the streets during the summer, spring and fall seasons and desperately seek shelter during the winter. I do my best to help these individuals by volunteering in the Food Gatherer’s kitchen in the basement of the homeless shelter. We make hot soups, pastas, and steam vegetables. There is always coffee, juice and water as well as fruit and dessert and all of the food that is used to make the meals is donated by local grocery stores and educational institutions. It is so heartwarming to see volunteers filling the kitchen with smiles, enthusiasm, excitement and the hope that they can help make a homeless person experience a few moments of joy by eating a delicious meal.

Is it about giving or receiving?

Is it about giving or receiving?

The giving doesn’t stop there. It’s wonderful! In my residential hall, students are collecting donated hats, gloves, mittens and scarves in an event called the “giving tree” with the hopes of sending these donations to Safe House. This organization provides support for individuals who have been impacted by domestic violence and/or sexual assault. We are also holding a knitting session one evening to make our own winter attire to donate.

The holiday mood has engulfed my dorm. The halls are decorated with paper snowflakes and the doors are covered in Christmas wrapping paper. Despite the small stresses of university, joy is in the air and the desire to help others is prominent and it is a beautiful sight!

To read other posts by Brittany please click here.

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The Michigan Difference

Contributed by Brittany Tang

Michigan

After spending three weeks at the University of Michigan, I am starting to feel the energy in the air, the buzz of academia, the passion and excitement of being part of what is essentially a small city. The first week I dipped my toes into the academic pool of my classes. I got used to what was expected of me and how to succeed. After I felt sufficiently settled and comfortable with my studies I started searching for leadership positions and community service based clubs to join.

I ran for and was elected President of the Events Planning Committee (EPC) for the HSSP (Health Sciences Scholar’s Program) community. As the President, I help facilitate weekly EPC meetings, I design agendas and communicate with the representatives from each HSSP committee. I am also a member of the HSSP Community Service Committee. Myself, along with others in the committee plan service endeavors for the HSSP community: volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House for families with children in critical condition, volunteering at Indian Trails Camp for children and adults with disabilities, ect. I recently received an email from a 4th year MD PhD student who is working to establish an NGO to help provide health care for people in Uganda. A group of  students including myself, will be establishing a sister program for the undergraduate school to raise awareness for the NGO Progressive Health Partnership (PHP) as well as raise some funds. The link to the project is as follows: Progressive Health Partnership | People Helping People. I am also part of an organization called the VIEW (Volunteers Involved Every Week).  The mission of this organization is to “empower students to become educated leaders and create social change in partnership with local organizations and communities”. This club in particular, stood out to me because of its emphasis on global citizenship and community service. I am very excited to be part of the team!

Finally, from a more academic point of view this past week has been extremely busy because I am in the process of searching for undergraduate research opportunities. I sent out multiple applications for multiple research projects and I have had lots of very educational interviews. I am really enjoying the entire process of finding a project I am interested in researching to securing a place on the research team. I have yet to commit to a particular project, at the moment, however by next week I will have my research position. Overall, I think the most important thing to remember is that balance is so incredibly important. Attending university has really challenged me in a positive way and has allowed me to grow into the individual I endeavor to be. I hope to continue down this path of leadership, service, academia and research and I am very excited to see how this first year turns out!

To read more posts by Brittany please click here.

Brittany’s Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS

Getting ready...

Getting ready…

The Ice Bucket Challenge

Thank you Mr. Crouch for nominating me for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Prior to actually partaking in the challenge I had seen many videos documenting the experiences of other nominees and I loved watching each one.

Here it comes...

Here it comes…

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a wonderful way of raising awareness and funds for the ALS foundation. I can only hope that one day a cure will exist for all those with the neurodegenerative disease.

Brrrrrrrrr!

Brrrrrrrrr!

I received news of Mr. Crouch’s nomination the day before I was scheduled to move into the University of Michigan. My day was filled with last minute errands with my family.

Very brrrrrrrrrr!

Very brrrrrrrrrr!

It wasn’t until 9:30pm that evening, that I remembered I needed to partake in the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Ready for the first week of university now!

Ready for the first week of university now!

My mom was more than willing to fill a bucket with ice and water and, together, we recorded the event. I also donated $20 to the ALS Foundation!

Good luck starting university Brittany – let us know how you get on and how many amazing people you meet and inspire.

The Transition into University

Brittany on graduation day

Brittany on graduation day

Contributed by Brittany Tang

After taking the IB exams and graduating from high school, I was left with a lot of valuable time on my hands. This past summer has really given me the opportunity to reflect on the past few years, on my accomplishments and my failures and has also given me the insight needed to create a trajectory for my future.

What a great idea for university - a quilt made of all your old t-shirts!

What a great idea for university – a quilt made of all your old t-shirts!

I will be attending the University of Michigan this fall and will be studying at the college of Literature, Arts and Sciences. To keep with my childhood dream of becoming a doctor, I applied to be part of the Health Science Scholars (HSSP) living and learning community. To me, attending the University of Michigan is a huge change from attending other smaller international schools in the past. I am prepared to be outgoing, confident and diligent in my studies. I will be participating in psychology research as part of the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP). In addition to this, my classes consist of organic chemistry, calculus, 2nd year French and a health science seminar. I think that it is really important to get involved in extracurricular activities as well as seek out leadership positions during your first year of university. For me, keeping my mind busy with school work, service and intramural sports is integral in making a smooth transition into university.

I am very excited to start class, to be a part of open discussion sessions and to take detailed notes during lectures. Although the rigor of the school work is intimidating, I do believe that persistence and commitment can help one achieve ambitious goals!

Thanks for your post Brittany and good luck at university, we look forward to hearing all about it.  To see more posts by Brittany please click here.

Baking for global citizenship

Contributed by Brittany Tang

       

I think that any educator would agree that students need a ‘release’ activity, such as: playing a sport, creating art, writing a story, and in my case, baking. With any of these activities there is potential to incorporate Global Citizenship (playing sports for  a cause, creating persuasive art, writing about positive change, ect.). I spent much of my free time leisurely baking for my local community but, over time, my passion for baking helped me to fund-raise for deserving causes (The Make-A-Wish Foundation, Women With A Mission, ect.), show support for community endeavors and ultimately spread happiness. To me, baking is a science. When I bake I concentrate on adding the right proportions of ingredients, heating the oven to the right temperature and giving my food the right duration of time to properly cook. However, I also think of baking as a social science, a way of bringing a community together through the love of great food. One of the most rewarding parts of my ‘release’ activity is sharing a smile with others as they enjoy the baked goods I make. In this way, baking for Global Citizenship is an interesting phenomenon. Depending on the situation, my community purchases my baked goods to raise money for deserving charities and, at the same time,  the treats I bake are a physical manifestation of the happiness I endeavor to spread.

Brittany’s Global Ambassador Award and CAS blog

Congratulations to Brittany Tang on achieving the Global Ambassador Award

Learn to know, Learn to do, Learn to be, Learn to live together

To see Brittany’s portfolio of targets and reflections for the Global Ambassador Award please follow: www.casbrittanytang.wordpress.com

Social Entrepreneur and Global Ambassador

Social Entrepreneur and Global Ambassador

Comment from Brittany:

To fulfill the, learn to speak more than 1 language component, I dedicated 4 years to learning French throughout high school and used this skill to communicate with French speakers in my home town.

Brittany was also awarded the King Constantine Medal for her commitment and contributions to the IDEALS of Round Square when living and studying in Thailand.  She also helped establish the Brittany Tang Award for Outstanding Global Citizenship which annually recognises the achievements of one young person as a global citizen and awards them a bursary to support a project or partnership related to their personal Global Citizenship Award.

Congratulations Brittany on being an amazing Global Citizen.  We look forward to hearing about your progress and achievements in becoming a Global Mentor.