Yesterday, as part of the "Welcome back to campus" week, more than 85 student groups participated in a student activities fair on the campus mall. This is a wonderful opportunity for new students to find other students with similar interests, and to get engaged with new hobbies and clubs. I enjoyed walking among all the tables to see what groups were out there. I think I was able to meet with almost half of the groups, so I cannot represent you all. But a few groups that stand out in my mind:
The Saddle Club is an organization for students interested in horses. UMM has a resident horse barn on our premises where students can house their horses. Saddle Club brought two horses to the student activities fair, and I got to pet both of them. My wife is a huge fan of horses - and, by extension, so am I.
E-Quality is a support organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and intersex students and allies. As a member of the Queer Issues Committee on campus, I am a strong supporter of E-Quality.
Bad Movie Club is dedicated to lesser examples of movies. I sometimes like to lose myself in a really bad movie, so I promised myself to visit a showing from Bad Movie Club later this year.
University Register is the campus student newspaper. I had a great conversation with the editor-in-chief about how Computing Services can lend a hand with hosting their website.
Ground Quidditch organizes the intense sport event from the Harry Potter books and films. Teams "fly" around the field on broomsticks, scoring points using a quaffle, while dodging bludgers (think dodgeball on broomsticks).
Morris Campus Student Association is the student group that represents students at Morris.
"Finer Things" Club helps students prepare for life after university. I volunteered to help with resume, cover letter, and interview coaching later this year.
My Little Pony Club is for fans of the cartoon of the same name.
I've used this last one as a leadership lesson when looking at lessons from unusual sources, and I mentioned this to the members at the table. And it occurred to me while visiting with this group that My Little Pony also provides a great example of a liberal arts education.
So let me have some fun in this post, and further explore that.
One benefit to a liberal arts education is that your education can cross boundaries, allowing you to leverage different disciplines to see the world differently. In that respect, My Little Pony is a great example. There are several areas that you can explore through the lens of this show:
Learn the elements of a good cheer in French, Spanish, Chinese, and Russian:
Use this clip to exercise the basic equations of motion: acceleration, velocity, and position.
With the information provided in the video, and assuming Rarity was rescued at "inches" from the ground, you can now calculate: Rarity's initial altitude and the altitude of the stadium. If Rainbow Dash's tiny wings give her a constant acceleration a, making her net downward acceleration a + g, you can also work out Rainbow Dash's initial altitude and minimum acceleration a as she flew downward to create her sonic boom.
As I mentioned in my other post, you can learn a lot about leadership from the episode Winter Wrap Up. The ponies of Ponyville participate in an annual event to bring Spring to Equestria. It's an important tradition, and an involved musical number by composer Daniel Ingram concisely summarizes the Wrap Up events:
The mayor provides the vision, and lets everypony choose the tasks that are best suited to their individual strengths and interest. But without coordination, activities begin and end at different times, leading to confusion about following dependent tasks, and things quickly fall apart. Twilight Sparkle learns to leverage her organization as a strength, and the Wrap Up is saved. Thus, we learn a few lessons:
- Explaining your "end state" vision is an important start, but you must coordinate if your vision will be executed by several groups.
- Use delegation wisely. Know when to get involved if things don't go well.
- Take advantage of coaching opportunities to help others find their strengths.
- Be mindful of lead-manage-do. A leader cannot be effective at the high level vision if she is too "hands on" (or "hoofs on", in this case.)
- Identify "stretch" opportunities to develop new leaders.
Yes, we even can learn something about how to make cupcakes, although I suspect that isn't the correct recipe: