Monday, March 28, 2011

New Student Groups Always Forming!

As the weather begins to warm back up, I believe its the time of the year where everything else begins to pick up too. Classes will get tougher as finals approach making it even more difficult to sit through those hour and a half lectures while the sun beams into your lecture hall. But at the end of my crazy days as my second-eight-weeks Statistics class lets out at 8:30 p.m., I find comfort knowing that I have a meeting or lecture or activity to look forward to.

A couple friends of mine in the Informatics Department have started one of several new clubs I've heard about on campus. They just had their call-out meeting, and a notable IU alum, Mark Hill, came as the speaker for the event. Hill got his Master's from the Kelley School of Business, and has since become an entrepreneurial tycoon, investing in new businesses across Indiana and developing the Midwest into a tech hub.

The Informatics, Technology, Entrepreneurship, and Computing Club in the School of Informatics and Computing focuses on bringing in speakers who have had success as entrepreneurs in the technology world, and encouraging students to do the same. I think this is one of the cool things about IU, where even though its March, later in the year, and we are amid midterms, students are still inspired to take action and create new organizations, bring new speakers to campus or attempt to improve something.

For more information on ITECC at IU, click here.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Roma! Firenze! Italia!

This semester, I have been taking an international public relations course that has studied integrated marketing campaigns, using Italian tourism as a case study. Much like the Media in Latin America course I took last spring, this IU School of Journalism course has a required travel component that takes students abroad for a week-long intensive experience that combines culture and journalism for a full week of fun and meetings with real-life professionals.

There are 600 churches in Rome alone, and 4 major basilicas. We visited the largest, St. Peter’s, on our third day in Rome. For nearly four hours we walked through the Vatican Museum where literally hundreds of thousands of pieces of art are housed from Ancient Egypt to modern Rome. The Museum includes collections of the papal tapestries that show the outreach of the Catholic Church, and no surface has gone un-painted, sculpted or mosaicked. I truly could have stayed there all day.

We traveled into the Sistine Chapel and for twenty minutes I sat on a bench on the side of the room and just looked up. The floors are mosaicked; the lower portions of the side walls are painted to look like the papal tapestries that are hung in the adjacent hallway; the upper portions of the side walls have 12 panels depicting scenes from the Bible; the wall at the front where the alter and cross sit houses a fresco by Michelangelo that shows from floor to ceiling more than 200 characters from the Bible; and the famous ceiling has more than 300 individuals depicted from the apostles to the story of the creation of man.

The Chapel itself is just a large room off a hallway of a part of one wing of the main building of the Vatican. I don’t know if I had expected a stand-alone building like Westminster Abbey or Notre Dame, but it was like so many other things, a pleasant mixture of ornate art in an unassuming location. Even the most inconspicuous looking churches have turned out to have the most incredible art on the inside and it was where I spent most of my sight-seeing time.

Built in only ten years, apparently what remains of the Colleseum is only one third of what originally existed. Unfortunately we did not have the benefit of having our tour with the building’s original canopy and were soaked and freezing from the constant less-than-downpour-more-than-drizzle rain and wind with random strong gusts. Our tour guide took us back through much of the rest of Ancient and downtown Rome and explained many of the things we had seen which provided a nice mix of education and understanding to the fantastic wandering we had done.

By the time we left Rome and traveled on to Florence, I knew I was in love with the culture, the people and, of course, the food. If your department has travel abroad opportunities like the School of Journalism, I highly suggest taking it. Mine have only been week-long travel experiences but I can promise, even that short of an amount of time gives you great insight into other cultures that will open your mind and give you a new outlook.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Are You on the SmartEdge?

Since November, I've been on a case study competition team working on improving the financial literacy of students on the IU Bloomington campus. We've chosen to focus on students who work at least part-time, students who live on campus and international students. Through research we have determined that these groups of students have the greatest need for financial education.

So we've hosted financial literacy courses on-campus at the Northwest neighborhood RA training, Foster's Global Village, and two events at the new Union Street complex. Students have told us that these sessions we've hosted have not only increased their knowledge but made them more aware of just how much they need to learn before they graduate and are responsible for managing their own finances. For more information managing your credit, learning about your credit score and how it all impacts you, visit AnnualCreditReport. Remember, you're the only one who can actually improve your credit!