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Hello, and thanks for stopping by our blog! My name is Drew Coveyou, and I'm a junior at the U of M from Ottawa, Illinois. I am majoring in Journalism, focusing on Strategic Communication and Advertising in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication in the College of Liberal Arts.

My path the University started when my older sister came to visit campus her junior year of high school. I was only a freshman but I got dragged along for the college visit with the rest of my family. Even though college wasn't something I was really thinking about, I fell in love with the Twin Cities campus right away and it was always on the top of the list of colleges I was considering.

During my senior year of high school I visited campus another two times and confirmed what I already knew - that the University of Minnesota was the place for me. I knew I wanted the traditional feel of a Big 10 campus, but at the same time I didn't want to give up attending school in a major metropolitan area; I knew that I wanted to have access to the arts/music scene and professional opportunities that a major city could offer me. The Twin Cities campus was the one place where I found both the Big 10 campus and the major metropolitan area.

I attended my first-year orientation session in the middle of June with my dad tagging along for a parent orientation session. There, I met some of my best friends to date. Looking back, orientation was the time when I really acknowledged that this place would be "Home" for the next four years, and I couldn't have been happier.

(Here's a video from my Welcome Week in Fall 2011!)

I lived in a Living and Learning Community my first year - the American Indian Cultural House. There, I met other American Indian students and was put into contact with many different resources on campus, including the Circle of Indigenous Nations, the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence (MCAE), and many students groups such as the American Indian Student Cultural Center (AISCC) and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES).

I got my first job on campus through these connections at one of the above student groups, the AISCC. I had such an awesome experience working with the group to run our Center and plan events that I ran for the governing board the next year. After two election wins, I am now entering my second term as the group's Treasurer. My responsibilities include creating a budget, applying for grants, and general accounting of finances for the group.

Although I live off campus now, the sense of community I built that first year hasn't left, and now I am getting even more involved in my academic program and other on-campus jobs. I'm sure I'll have more to share about my experiences and plans in future posts - thanks for reading!

Today I'd like to put the spotlight on a great opportunity for students who are interested in a career in advertising: the U of M's National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) team, Chariot. Chariot recently won first place at the NSAC District Competition on April 13th, which means the team will be representing the University of Minnesota at the national competition in Phoenix this year! Read on to learn more about NSAC and how you can get involved.

What is the National Student Advertising Competition?
Each year corporate sponsors give the same case study to NSAC teams around the nation. The case studies relate to the company's product or service and advertising situation. The corporate sponsors are often big name companies--past sponsors have included Coca Cola, JC Penney, State Farm, and Nissan. Within each school's team, students are then responsible for researching, developing, creating, and pitching an advertising campaign to a panel of judges at a district-level competition. 

District competitions are held each spring in 15 districts throughout the U.S. The winners of each district then get to move on to the national-level competition and pitch their advertising campaigns to judges and the executives of the sponsor company. We're wishing the best of luck to Chariot when they compete at Nationals in June. Way to represent the University of Minnesota!

Getting involved at the U of M
Joining a student group can be one of the best ways to make your college experience a great one. If you're interested in advertising, joining Chariot can help you make friends and connections with other advertising and marketing students, network with professionals, gain relevant advertising experience, and make a difference in the advertising strategies of real companies!

Chariot doesn't only limit its members to students majoring in advertising. The club currently has students interested in marketing and graphic design as well. If you think you'd be interested in joining Chariot, you should definitely check out their website at http://umnsac.com or email them at nsac@umn.edu.


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Guest blog written by Sara Straskowski, a current student in the Carlson School of Management

Students Today, Leaders Forever (STLF) is a student group that was started by four freshmen students at the University of Minnesota in 2003. With the mission to "reveal leadership through service, relationships, and action," STLF engages students from all over the country through its Pay It Forward Tours. A Pay It Forward Tour is a community service road trip that travels from city to city doing various service projects. For college students, "the Tour" is scheduled each year during spring break; there are also tours available for high school students at various times throughout the year.

This spring break, I participated in my third college Pay It Forward Tour. The experience never ceases to amaze me! My freshman year, I travelled to Memphis; my sophomore year I went to Dallas; this year, the destination city was Atlanta, Georgia. For the last two years, I was a participant on the Tour, but this year I took a leadership position in STLF, and planned the Tour along with four other students who soon became my best friends. 

We left from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities on March 15. Our first stop was Kansas City, Missouri, and our first service project was landscaping for the Gillis Center, a home for boys in the area that helps at-risk children and families. We even got to play a game of dodge ball with the boys who lived there! Next, we stopped in St. Louis, Missouri, where we were able to do some tourism at The Gateway Arch and the City Museum. We helped the St. Louis community by cleaning up the streets around the city and writing letters to soldiers overseas. The third city on our adventure was Bowling Green, Kentucky, where we volunteered at Community Action of Southern Kentucky (a nonprofit agency that provides a wide range of human services to the residents of the area). We made event decorations for them as well as cleaned up the office space they use every day. After Bowling Green, we stopped for tourism in Nashville, Tennessee. It has been my dream to visit the Music City forever, and I can't believe I was finally able to be there! Our next stop was in Merryville, Tennessee, where we painted and did gardening work at the Boys & Girls Club of Blount County, a non-profit organization dedicated to the development of boys and girls in a safe and caring environment. On our way to our last stop, we toured the city of Gatlinberg in the Smoky Mountains. The area was absolutely beautiful! Last but not least, we stopped in Charlotte, North Carolina to serve at Samaritan's Feet; we readied the shoes that will soon be sent across the U.S. and the world to those who can't afford to buy their own. After our service project, we went to the U.S. National Whitewater Center to go zip-lining and rock climbing--one of the most memorable highlights of our trip!

We finally made our way to Atlanta, where we met four other buses of students that had each had an amazing Tour as well. We did one final service project together; the 140 students served at the Mary Scott Nature Park doing a variety of jobs such as creating a children's "forest play" area and removing invasive species throughout the park. After the service project, we were able to do some tourism in Atlanta and see the city. I was sad that the trip was nearly over, but I had a fantastic time exploring Atlanta with my new friends!

The memories I made on this trip are unforgettable, and the 43 friends I made throughout the nine-day experience will be held close to my heart for years to come. Every single one of the participants on my bus amazed me more each day; they are the most compassionate people I know! I encourage you all to check out the great opportunities that are offered to you every day, such as the STLF Pay It Forward Tour. It changed my life forever, and I will always be proud of my decision to get involved at the U of M with Student's Today, Leaders Forever.


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Did you know that Forbes recently ranked Minneapolis as the #1 healthiest city in America? Here on campus, there are tons of different student organizations dedicated to encourage students to live active, healthy lifestyles in the healthiest city in the U.S. Today I'd like to put the spotlight on just one of them: the University Running Club.

The University Running Club's members are runners of all abilities who meet every week for distance runs. From students who want to try running for the first time, to those who competed at the state level in high school, all are welcome at the Running Club.

In addition to weekly distance runs, the University Running Club has a racing team that travels around the nation and competes at college Division 2 and 3 NCAA cross country and track meets. Because of the Running Club's affiliation with the National Intercollegiate Running Club Association (NIRCA), racers can also compete at regional and national meets with other college running clubs. Runners can choose whether or not they want to participate on the racing team.

For people who still want to race, but don't necessarily want to compete against varsity teams, the Running Club also runs 5K's, 10K's and other races both off and on campus.

It sounds like joining University of Minnesota Running Club is an excellent way to make new friends and stay in shape at the same time! Does this sound like a student group you'd like to be a part of in college?

Check out their official website at:
http://groupspaces.com/theuniversityrunningclub/

And their Facebook page at:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-University-Running-Club/6462499329


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