Author Archives: Mike Queroz, Communication

Time to say goodbye

As I sat around a bonfire with my friends a few weeks ago, we talked about how it’s crazy that it feels like we just started college a few years ago – and now, we are preparing to graduate. I found myself getting a bit emotional – that’s when it hit me that I’m graduating and leaving UIC. Saying goodbye isn’t easy. Especially when you’re leaving a school that has been the biggest part of your life for the past four years.

When I decided to go to UIC, I knew that whatever I experienced at the college would leave an everlasting mark on me. And I have absolutely no regrets of attending UIC – the school has blessed me with so many opportunities, education, and skills that have prepared me to be the 22-year-old graduating senior I am today.

Let’s be honest – classes were not a summer breeze. I can recall many sleepless nights during my first two years where I would sit at a computer screen with piles of books, trying to figure out the best next sentence of a paper. I can recall the long school days where I felt like a zombie hyped up on coffee. Endless papers, tests, and projects were bountiful. I also recall getting a hang of task management during my last two years here. I felt like a college-pro, being able to manage everything and anything. Now when I reflect on all the readings I read, the papers I wrote, and the exams I studied for, I understand why I did all that stuff. It was to make me smart – to instill in me the world-class education that UIC promised. Whenever I am working on new assignments at school or at my internship, I find myself going back and memorizing the things I have learned in my classes. I received a world-class education from UIC.

UIC also gave me leadership skills and a better awareness of myself through my involvement in student organizations. In particular, the UIC Undergraduate Student Government had the most impact on my personal development. After joining my first week as an undergraduate in August 2010, I have been dedicated and passionate for the organization. I wanted to genuinely raise awareness about the group and provide the most effective student government possible for the undergraduate student body. I had many positions that entailed me learning how be a leader: Chair of the previous Internal Affairs Committee, Vice-President for two years, and the Chair of the Communications & Recruitment Committee. I was also able to attend three conferences in Washington, D.C., including the Clinton Global Initiative University conference. I was also able to meet face-to-face with university administrators to develop new, beneficial plans for students. I organized several major events, including my favorite, the Undie Run. Through all of my experiences in the organization, I developed a unique, passionate love for the university. One that will make a dedicated alumni.

I truly am going to miss being a student here. But as I welcome full-fledged adulthood, I will never forget the experiences UIC has given me. And I would like to thank every single one of my I AM UIC blog readers for welcoming me and listening to me for the past two years. I will miss you all!

Until next time…

Mike

Farewell!

Tying up loose ends

To say that this month has been, and the next two weeks are going to be, hectic is an understatement. The amount of stuff I have to do is absolutely crazy. With less than two weeks until graduation, it’s time to tie up loose ends and think about the transition to full adult life.
Honestly, the only caveat of being heavily involved on campus and off campus is the fact that you have very limited time to do homework and very little time to yourself. My average week typically consists of running class to class, doing loads of readings, going to my internship, and organizing activities and partaking in meetings for USG. Sounds like a little, but trust me — when you have many hats to juggle it could be challenging at times! However, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve found that being busy makes me happy, and I thoroughly enjoy every activity that I am involved in. I’ve found that the key to being successfully busy is enjoying what you are doing.
At the same time, I’m beginning to think about transition into adulthood. I feel like this moment is the biggest transition I will have in my life. Will it be hard to transition from going to school my whole to working for the rest of my life? This seems to be the biggest question I am asking myself. It’s just mind-blowing that I’m no longer going to be making school my life. In two weeks, no more USG, more UIC, no more homework all night long, no more having a spastic schedule – every aspect of my life will pretty much be different. It’s a bit scary. But more than that, it’s exciting.
So it’s time to just sit down, not worry, and get straight to work. Change is good and the light at the end of the tunnel is near. Time to wrap up the semester!

Get ready for this year’s RECESS

It’s back. It has been a longstanding UIC tradition. It’s time for RECESS!

For those who are not familiar with this event, RECESS is basically a time to unwind right before finals. It’s meant for students to be entertained. This year, the Student Activities Board (SAB) and UIC Undergraduate Student Government (USG) are partnering up to bring you this great event on April 30 from 3-6 p.m.

There is a spin to this year’s RECESS, though. This year, the event will be in the style of an obstacle course race in which 20 teams will compete against each other until one team gets the gold! The teams will consist of four students and if interested, they can register here. Registration is now open and will end on Sunday, April 27th. Only the first 20 teams will be able to participate so please get your submissions in soon!

The event will kick off with a 30 minute opening ceremony full of warm-ups and fun games for all students. Then at 3:30, the event will begin and run until 5:30. At 5:30, the closing ceremony will begin with a pyrotechnic show and close with the announcement of the teams that clock-out in first, second, and third place. The winning teams will receive gold, silver, or bronze medals for their success. Other teams will receive a complimentary prize for their participation.

SAB, the USG team, and I have all been working hard on getting this event together since the beginning of the semester. Get excited for this year’s RECESS!

Until next time…

Mike

Re-inspired to make a difference

Last week, I attended the Chancellor’s Student Service Leadership Awards. It was my fourth time attending this event and I still leave the ceremony even more proud of UIC and its students.
I had the honor to receive the Chancellor’s Student Service Award for the fourth year in a row, as well as being inducted into the Alumni Association Activities Honorary Society. I was very happy that I was being inducted into such a longstanding honors tradition at UIC, one that stems back from the days when UIC’s campus was at Navy Pier.

Activities Honorary Society induction

However, it wasn’t the fact that I received the awards that made me happiest. Instead, it was seeing the tremendous impact and leadership skills that the students bring not only to our university, but to the greater community as well. So many students at UIC, many of them the ones who sit next to you in class or that you see in the Inner Circle, are involved in on-campus extra-curriculars and external organizations that make a positive impact on society. As I sat in the ceremony, I never knew that the girl that I always see in my nutrition class has also served over 100 hours volunteering for a hospital. Or the guy that I ate near during the reception also spends countless hours assuring that homeless people have food and that the health needs are met for children. UIC has so many students that do so much to benefit those that need it. UIC is a prime example that many college students aren’t just party loving, nap taking, lazy young adults.
The event inspired me, and I’m sure countless others, to do even more for people in need – or even just the campus! It made me remember the importance of giving back and the great feeling that comes along with it. Perhaps, instead of watching a marathon of my favorite show on a Saturday morning, I can instead go out and find an outlet to give back. Or instead of napping on a Sunday afternoon, I can go out and help someone just for the great feeling that comes along with it.
The bottom line is, I feel like there is always more that I can do for the school and the larger community. It’s important to never get lazy and content – always strive to do better and give better.
How about you? What can you do to make a difference?
Until next time…
Mike

Award and me!

Awesome upcoming USG events

Every week I usually like to write about some of my personal stories in the hopes to provide any student insight for everyone, BUT this week I want to talk a little about some cool opportunities for students that are going on courtesy of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG). Check them out below!
Oxfam Hunger Banquet – Today (Tuesday, April 8) at from 5:30 – 7 p.m.; Illinois Room in Student Center East

The OXFAM Hunger Banquet invites students and faculty to experience the unequal distribution of global resources firsthand by taking part in an interactive experience that will likely change the way you think of poverty and hunger as a global issue.

Upon arriving to the Illinois Room in SCE, OXFAM Hunger Banquet guests will receive a ticket at random which will assign them to an income-level group. The ticket they receive will determine where they will sit and what they will be served.

It’s free for all students and it is intended to raise awareness on the implications of poverty through educational dialogue and a theatrical experience.

For more information, please visit here.

USG Water Bottle Giveaway 

The photo you have to like on USG's Facebook - Find me!

Trying to be eco-friendly? Need more UIC gear? Or just love free stuff? Then this is your invitation to receive a free UIC USG aluminum water bottle!

How? It’s simple, complete the following steps before April 16 at 5 p.m. :

  1. Like the USG Facebook page
  2. Like this photo
  3. Find out if you won a water bottle on April 16 (There are many available, so odds of you winning are high!
  4. Pick-up your free water bottle from the USG office

Rules:

  •  Must be a currently registered undergraduate at UIC
  • MUST like both our Facebook page and the photo – you will not be eligible if you only like one or the other
  • Must show valid iCard at water bottle pick-up

USG Scavenger Hunt

Get to know more about UIC and USG in the first ever USG Scavenger Hunt. Beginning today, register you and a partner to participate in this fun and adventurous competition.

How does it work? It’s simple:

During the week of April 21-25, registered teams of two undergraduate students will partake in a week-long scavenger hunt around the UIC campus. Teams will be given clues via email and will then partake in 10 tasks until one team comes out victorious. Tasks mainly consist of UIC or USG-related activities. The winning team of two will win one iPad mini each!

Qualifications:

  • Only teams of two are accepted
  • Team members must both be currently registered undergraduates at UIC
  • Team members must submit one registration form by April 18 at 5 p.m.
  • Teams must be ready to show valid iCards and other proof at scavenger hunt kick-off event on April 21
  • It is encouraged to have a smartphone or digital camera ready for certain tasks!

Fun stuff right? Which one are you going to partake in?

Until next time…

Mike

#WaddleItBe?: Making a media event for Shedd Aquarium

About a month ago, I received a new project at my internship for the Shedd Aquarium: Brainstorm for a media event/campaign to announce the gender of a recently hatched penguin chick and create awareness about penguin breeding season. I was beyond excited – who doesn’t love penguin chicks? Also, this was a chance for me to get great public relations experience and learn more while making this campaign. So right away, I started drafting up some ideas.

To give you a little background, Shedd’s adorable rockhopper penguin chick, pictured below, hatched in June 2013. Genders in rockhopper penguins are typically not easily distinguishable compared to us humans. It takes genetic testing to determine the gender of a penguin chick. After a recent check-up, Shedd vets were able to determine the gender of the chick.

Penguin Chick

Penguin chick Credit ©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

After doing some research, I presented my idea to Shedd’s public relations team and the agency it works with: Have Shedd host a gender reveal party-esque media event in which we have a grand reveal for the chick’s gender. I was able to work with the PR team to assist in planning all activities for this project. In addition to drafting media advisory’s and assuring that our penguin experts were available to help with this event, the team worked with More Cupcakes to make a special penguin cupcake that would be given to local media in support of the event.

This project really allowed me to put my UIC communication and management courses and previous internship skills to the test. I assisted the PR team with drafting a media advisory and a pitch targeted towards radio stations, using my writing skills I learn from my communication classes. I helped draft a project timeline, using my management skills from my business courses. I also was able to contact my former internship place, Clear Channel Media + Entertainment, to coordinate a cupcake drop-off for the morning show hosts. I have been truly grateful for the communication classes and previous internships I have had that helped me understand the public relations and media world better. It made this project much easier to draft considering the knowledge I have gained.

For a good month, the rest of Shedd’s public relations team and I continued to implement the project plans we drafted and assured that we had a really nice, entertaining, and news-worthy event. After much work, we certainly got it!

The morning of the event, Shedd’s public relation’s team dropped off our delicious penguin More Cupcakes to local news outlets. Also, I dropped them off at Clear Channel Media + Entertainment for the radio hosts to enjoy. Things were coming together!

On Monday, March 24 we held our #WaddleItBe gender reveal party media event in front of Shedd’s penguin habitat. NBC, Fox News, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the RedEye all came out to cover the event. We had our penguin caretakers talk about the current penguin breeding season, how to determine a gender in penguin chicks, and finally, reveal the gender of the chick. After cutting into a More Cupcakes penguin-decorated cake, the pink inner-filling revealed that the penguin chick is a girl! It was really nice to see all the media and Shedd guest onlookers get excited to hear the reveal and enjoy their penguin cupcakes. It was really the cherry on top of a great project to see that firsthand

Cutting the penguin cake! Credit ©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

To make this whole project even better, we have seen even more national and local media pick-up of the gender reveal party. It’s pretty crazy to think that something that started off as a small idea became so huge in the end. It has truly been an amazing experience to be part of my first big Shedd project and to see the team be so successful with our end results. This project not only made me feel successful and grateful for the knowledge and experiences I have had that led me to this, but also grateful for the current internship I have at Shedd Aquarium. I know that because of this experience I will be even better equipped for my current post-graduate job search.

Until next time…

Mike

Penguin More Cupcakes

Making Good Use of Spring Break

Like most students, every break I tend to sleep until noon and then start my short day after. Breaks certainly haven’t been the most productive times for me. But hey…after 10 long weeks of school, I deserve to sleep in and do nothing…right? Eh..maybe. But nevertheless, this break I simply cannot afford to “do nothing.” I have to get to work!

I’m really looking forward to break not because I’ll be on a beach or because I can forget all the worries of the world…but rather I can actually catch up on everything that I need to do right now. Catch up with family, school readings, student government work, personal errands, and etc. etc. I’m also trying to squeeze in some ME time too, perhaps hang in the city for a day, go out with friends, and read a book or two, and watch plenty of movies. SO much to do…so little time.

The other reason why I’m taking this spring break more serious with time is because theoretically, this could be my last break ever. I am hoping to land a job soon after I graduate. If I am lucky and able to do so, I’m not going to have much time to get all of my little things done once I am working full time. Once break is over, everything is going come at me fast and furiously. About a month countdown until graduation! Now is the time to get down to work.

Phew…I’m getting all excited just thinking about all of the stuff I need and want to do. But tell me – what do you plan on doing during spring break?

Until next time…

Mike

 

 

And the job hunt begins…

It’s crazy to think that I have a little less than two months until I graduate! After coming to the realization of the approaching date, I have now begun the job hunt.

I think that this is an ideal amount of time to begin looking for jobs. It’s not too early so that being a candidate for a job would impair me due to some jobs needing to hire ASAP., and it’s not too late that I will be off their radar. Now is the right time to get serious in looking for a place to start my post-graduate career.

Of course, it’s not going to be easy at all. I still have classes and homework, an internship, and student government to focus on, amongst other life activities. Finding the time to research the abundance of companies out there hiring will not be easy. Fortunately, I have a good idea about what I want to do – public relations, media marketing, or social media. Also, I have my resume all ready to go for applications. But if finding and applying for jobs is anything like applying for internships, then I’m in for a lengthy process!

I am grateful that UIC offers plenty of opportunities for graduates. The Office of Career Services offers so many great services for students: career fairs, resume reviews, moc-interviews, and plenty plenty more! I have participated in most of these and I can assure you they do help.

Despite being freaked out at first thought about job applications, I take a deep breath and think about all of my assets: plenty of internship experiences, great extra-curricular experiences, and a good academic standing. With all of this mind, I just have to focus, be confident, and rock the job hunt NOW!

Until next time…

Mike

Preparing for student elections

This past week, I have been beyond busy getting materials ready for the 2014-15 UIC Student Elections. As a Undergraduate Student Government (USG) member, I am dedicating myself to get the word out to all students about elections.
In case you never heard of UIC Student Elections, let me give you an overview. Each year, UIC administration opens up elections for the entire UIC student body to choose their representatives in a variety of areas. Included in this election is the Student Member of the Board of Trustees and the entire USG assembly.
The Student Trustee position sits on the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, representing the UIC student voice at the highest-level possible on campus for a full-year term. Furthermore, the USG President and Vice-President lead the undergraduate class in all decisions at the campus administrative level for a year-long term. The USG assembly members that run in the election are chosen to represent the undergraduate students in a variety of campus advocacy work for two full years.
This year, the Student Trustee and USG President elections are contested – two candidates are running against each other in the trustee elections and three in the presidential elections.
Elections will be held this year on March 12 and 13 at uicvote.uic.edu. PLEASE remember to vote! It is important that you have a say so in who represents YOU in all UIC administrative levels. To get to know more about the candidates, their platforms, to hear them speak, and when polls are open, please visit the USG website here.
Share your thoughts on the elections in the comment section – I’d love to see them!
Until next time…
Mike

Know Your Student Representatives

As some of you may know, I am an active member of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG). I have been with the organization since I first started at UIC as a freshman. I currently serve as the chairman of the communications & recruitment committee. Today, I wanted to talk a little about USG and what we do.
USG serves as the voice of the undergraduate student body – we are the connection between student and administration. We are a student organization that is funded by the university to work on student issues at UIC.  Through the various internal committees we have, we work on student issues regarding: physical space improvements, university infrastructure, administrative structures, student status concerns, governmental relations regarding financial aid, academics, and more. To learn more about our committees please visit here.
How does one become a member of USG? There are several ways! If you have about six free hours a week, you can become a full-fledged assembly or executive board member by running in the March Student Elections. Space permitting, you can become an interim-assembly member by visiting our membership page on our website. If you’re running low on time, you can become an associate member by attending an hour-long meeting once a week. If you just want to help out here and there, you can become a volunteer. For more information regarding membership, please visit this page.
USG has coordinated and partook in many different initiatives on campus. Many of these collaborations and projects are done with various administrative departments, since we meet with administration weekly. Some of these initiatives include: making sure WiFi is in every building, building a UIC mobile app, planning the UIC smoking ban, implementing the UIC “green” fee, lobbying in Springfield for university money and student financial aid, planning the annual “RECESS” event, organizing a student organization social, and much much more.
All students should be informed about USG and how we serve YOU. Keep up with us or reach out to us in the following ways below – we love hearing from you!
http://www.uic-usg.org
https://www.facebook.com/UICUSG
https://twitter.com/uicusg
usguic@gmail.com
Until next time…
Mike

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