Club Ed: Alisha in "Hawaiian Ensemble"

I’ve been listening to the all-holiday-music-all-the-time radio station lately (oh yes, I love holiday music!) and I heard the Hawaiian Christmas Song the other day. I call it that because I am sure to completely misspell the actual name of the song. But you know the one I am referring to, right? In any case, hearing that song reminded me that it is time to profile Communication Studies major Alisha Leong and her involvement with USF’s Hawaiian Ensemble in today’s “Club Ed.” I asked Alisha to tell us about the club:

COMS major and Hawaiian dancer Alisha!

“University of San Francisco’s Hawaiian Ensemble is a hula performance based organization. We focus on preserving and sharing the Hawaiian culture through community. We welcome and encourage all USF students to participate. Dance experience is not required, in fact, most members start off as non-dancers. Hawaiian Ensemble performs year round for events within the school community as well as events outside of campus.”

The USF Hawaiian Ensemble

One of the Hawaiian Ensemble’s main events is coming up this Thursday, December 1st: Taste of Hawaii! The event will be held in the UC 4th floor lounge from 6:00-9:00 pm. Tickets are $10 pre-sale and $12 at the door, and get you three hours of Hawaiian food and entertainment!

This event helps fundraise for the main event put on by the Hawaiian Ensemble: Ho’ike. This annual event is a showcase held once a year during the spring semester. All members of Hawaiian Ensemble participate in this two-hour performance. It showcases what the dancers have learned from the beginning of the school year. Dances range from the traditional hula, Tahitian, and Haka (performed by men). According to Alisha, “Ho’ike brings the community together as spectators and dancers share the aloha spirit!”

I asked Alisha to share why she became involved with the Hawaiian Ensemble: “I joined Hawaiian Ensemble last year (freshman year). When I moved to USF, I was thrilled to discover that there was a club like Hawaiian Ensemble because I had missed being able to dance. Hawaiian Ensemble gave me the opportunity to meet many new friends, learn more about the Hawaiian culture, and be involved in school activities. Everyone in the club is very welcoming and supportive- it feels like I have a second family.”

Dancers from a performance at Ho'ike

You can find out more about the Hawaiian Ensemble by e-mailing them at usfhawaiianensemble@gmail.com with the following information:

Name, Email Address, Cell #, Class Standing

You can also go to their dance class every Tuesday and Thursday from 7-8pm in UC 501.

Congratulations to Alisha and the rest of the Hawaiian Ensemble! I attended Ho’ike a few years ago and it was GREAT! The food is delicious and the dancers do an amazing job! I secretly have always wished I could be a hula dancer.

I’m waiting for everyone to stop laughing.

Still waiting.

In any case, seeing the Hawaiian Ensemble perform cemented in my mind that this will likely never happen for me, but it absolutely could for you! You don’t have to be a student from Hawaii or the Pacific Islands to join the Hawaiian Ensemble, so if you are interested, contact them for more information! Aloha!


Internship Ideas: Brittany at "SkinnyScoop"

I saw one of our Communication Studies majors looking through our internship binder in the main office this morning making plans for spring semester internships and I took it as a sign that it is time for another “Internship Ideas” post. Luckily Communication Studies major Brittany Dixon had already agreed to share her internship experience with us! Here we go…

Communication Studies major Brittany

Q: Where did you intern and what do they do?

Brittany: “This past summer I was an intern at a start-up website company called SkinnyScoop. SkinnyScoop is a forum site for women. It provides feedback on a range of different topics, including: parenting, cooking tips, product reviews, etc. They have dubbed themselves ‘the cheat sheet for everything.’”

Q: How did you find this internship?

Brittany: “A woman that I have known for a few years heard about this internship and referred me to her friend (and CEO of the company) as a good candidate for the position.”

Q: Why did you decide to intern there?

Brittany: “I really appreciated the general idea of the SkinnyScoop brand. Women take on over 80% of decisions made in each household and this site allows them easy access to tons of useful information. Also, the amount of social networking that SkinnyScoop is involved in really intrigued me. Like any other college student, social networking is a huge time-filler of my life, but I had never been exposed to it on a business level, prior to my internship.”

Q: What did you do on a regular basis at your internship?

Brittany: “As an intern, my main task was to expand SkinnyScoop’s blogger network. I did this through the use of twitter, tumblr, blog-rolls, and other blogging networks. I also spent time creating ‘lists’ for the site. My biggest and most successful list was my Guilt-Free Shopping List (http://www.skinnyscoop.com/list/brittany/guilt-free-shopping).

Q: What did you learn from this internship?

Brittany: “I’ve learned the importance of social networking and its usefulness for companies trying to get their name out there. Also, it was great to see how much effort goes into creating an effective and impressionable website and brand.”

Q: What advice do you have for other students looking for internships?

Brittany: “My advice for other students is to utilize all of the resources available to you. Friends, family, USF, etc. An internship is so important and very helpful in leading you to the type of work you are interested in, or leading you away from one you are not.”

Excellent advice, Brittany! I personally have benefitted from SkinnyScoop’s lists… well, one list in particular. The top Frozen Yogurt shops in San Francisco list that Brittany kindly passed on to me! (I have no idea how she knew this was one of my cravings… oh, maybe because there was a point in the semester where I mentioned frozen yogurt at least twice a day in class…).


Faculty Feats: Professor Ho's Week on a Food Stamp Budget

If you are like me, you are probably still feeling full from Thanksgiving leftovers… the turkey, stuffing, potatoes, pies, etc. Although this is a departure from our usual “Faculty Feats” (which involve feats of the academic variety), this is a feat by one of our faculty member’s nonetheless. Earlier this semester, Professor Ho engaged in an experiment, where she and her husband lived on a food stamp budget for one full week. It seems like an appropriate reminder that not everyone is able to indulge in big holiday dinners, and to be thankful for the gifts that we have this holiday season. I’ll let her tell you about it…

“October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Filipino American Heritage Month, apparently National Pork Month, and at St. John’s Presbyterian Church: Hunger Awareness Month. So as part of this month, my husband Mark and I decided to live for one week on a Food Stamp budget. That’s $4.72 per person per day for everything you ingest in one week. We had a total of $66.08 to spend. And we couldn’t accept free food from friends. See the whole challenge at: http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5420/p/salsa/web/common/public/content?content_item_KEY=9057

We were shocked by some of the statistics about hunger in our own communities. For example, did you know that 5.1 Californians (13.7%) are living below the poverty line ($22,350 for a family of four!). And in San Francisco, 197,000 people struggle to feed themselves every day. Read more at http://www.sffoodbank.org/about_hunger/

So we decided to do the hunger challenge from October 24-30 because it was the only week in October when we didn’t already have plans that involved eating! We planned and re-planned our menus and shopping list so that in the end we had three meals a day with at least some meat throughout the week and at least some vegetable/fruit every day. We couldn’t afford anything organic and made everything from scratch.

Day 1 was exciting! I had greek yogurt and honey for breakfast, peanut butter and honey sandwiches for lunch, and for dinner we had a very fancy (canned) clam + olive oil sauce pasta. Dessert was ½ an apple that I split with Mark! I felt full enough and was happy to put the rest of our pasta away for another dinner. The only drawback of our meals for today? Everything I ate was beige!

Day 4: I’m holding up well. Dinner tonight is homemade pizza and our splurge was mozzarella cheese (to go with mushrooms and onions – no meat). It’s been extremely time consuming to make everything from scratch but it is to eat home-cooking for every meal. I’m also mindful of how hard it is to work full-time and still have enough energy at the end of the day to cook. Both of us are missing things: Mark misses his post-dinner snacks and I’m missing drinks and fruit!

Day 7: Today is, thank goodness, our final day of the hunger challenge. Yesterday and today, our lunches and dinners were definitely the end of the rope. I’ve never seen our fridge so empty. For our final two days, we made chili for dinner, but portions were very small. This wasn’t helped by the fact that lunch consisted of a very brothy chicken noodle soup. Mark and I combined have lost 10 pounds and we’re both looking forward to eating more tomorrow.

This challenge may not have taught me anything I didn’t already know. However, it did remind me of some important things that I often forget or choose to ignore. It reminded me that on most days, I have a lot of options. I have the option to eat a second helping, I have the option to toss out a bruised banana, I have the option of eating junk food for a meal, I have the option of eating out when I’m tired, and I have the option to see friends ‘over coffee.’ I chose to be a little hungry this week, but I always knew that by the end of it, things would return to normal. That’s a luxury that fewer and fewer of our neighbors have – especially in this economy. I am thankful for that luxury and wish others had those same options.

When I was young and wouldn’t eat everything on my plate, my mom used to warn me, ‘There are starving people in X.’ In a fit of rage, I once yelled back, ‘Fine! So box up my food and send it to them!’ Of course, I knew you couldn’t. This week has been a good reminder though that I can box up the food – at least sort of. St. John’s has a weekly food bank in partnership with the SF Food Bank that serves the Inner Richmond and we’ll be boxing up some of our food budget to support those projects. If you’re bored with your regular eating habits, need some time for self-reflection, or up to the challenge, try the hunger challenge yourself! http://www.sffoodbank.org/about_hunger/

Congratulations to Professor Ho for her feat and for bringing this important issue to our attention. Here is a picture of her indulging in cookies and candy after her week on a food stamp budget:

I have no idea why this picture is sideways and why I can't fix it...


Dons' Doings: Lecture by Professor Michael Serazio, Tuesday 11/29

The Department of Communication Studies is sponsoring a public lecture by Professor Michael Serazio this coming Tuesday, November 29th, 11:40-12:40 in McLaren 250. He is coming to campus courtesy of our very own Professor DeLaure. Check out her description of the event:

“At the dawn of a new millennium, amidst upheavals in technology, economics, and culture, marketing strategies have multiplied – from product placement and out-of-home to word-of-mouth, viral, and Web 2.0 – as promotional messages creep into uncharted media spaces.  In Your Ad Here, Michael Serazio analyzes the rise of this ‘guerrilla marketing’ as a way of understanding a media environment of increasingly covert, interactive, and outsourced flows of commercial persuasion.  He draws upon archival research of trade press coverage, dozens of interviews with agency CEOs, creative directors, and brand managers, and a diverse set of campaign examples: from the America’s Army video game to Pabst Blue Ribbon’s hipster “hijack,” from buzz agent bloggers and tweeters to The Dark Knight’s “Why So Serious?” social labyrinth.  Reinvigorating the theories of Michel Foucault and Marshall McLuhan, Serazio argues that this new marketing govern-mentality adds up to a soft, subtle, and sophisticated orchestration of consumer conduct – and heralds a world of advertising that tries not to seem like advertising.

Michael Serazio, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at Fairfield University, studies popular culture, advertising, journalism, and new media.  His scholarly work has appeared in books and journals including Critical Studies in Media Communication and Communication, Culture & Critique; Serazio also won the 2011 National Communication Association dissertation award.  He holds a B.A. in Communication from the University of San Francisco, an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.  A Livingston Awards finalist as a staff writer for the Houston Press, Serazio has also written for The Atlantic about the rise of guerrilla marketing, the subject of his forthcoming book with NYU Press.”

How cool is it to have an alum come back to campus to address our current students and faculty? All Communication Studies are encouraged to attend this event. We hope to see you there!

This public lecture is sponsored by: Communication Studies, Advertising, Journalism, and the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good.


New Student Chronicles, Ch. 2: Emily Koh

We’re checking in again with new student blogger Emily Koh. This is what she has been up to during her first semester here at USF!

“So I promised you big calves, and big calves are what I got. Running in between classes, zumba, and all the extra-curricular activities I have eagerly joined, I discovered that freshman year is a self-discovery each and every day. I’ve learned my limits on procrastination and I’ve learned that crepes every night pack on the unwanted pounds.

Since the beginning of the year, I became a floor delegate for Residence Hall Council for Hayes Healy, got hired as a showroom host for prospective students, founded an online magazine called Her Campus (www.hercampus.com/usfca) at USF, and became a charter member of Kappa Alpha Theta. It’s quite a challenge juggling classes, extra-curricular activities, a social life, and my sanity.

Emily pledging Kappa Alpha Theta

A hefty list it is, I still have managed to explore the city of San Francisco. I no longer have ‘tourist’ printed on my forehead and I have become quite the expert at the Muni. While I am jotting down notes and keeping track of all the tricks to the city, I still have so much to learn. College has tested me not only in academics and responsibilities, but who I am as an individual. I’ve come to the realization that even though USF tries to provide all the tools to help me succeed in life, it’s really up to my own initiative to make things happen. For example, I was at a warehouse sale for American Apparel and by chance I interviewed Dov Charney, the owner of American Apparel, for my magazine. After some talk, I received a call later that day from American Apparel offering me some gift cards. I, of course, willingly agreed. A small action on my part ended me with some bragging rights and a self-indulging shopping spree.

Emily interviewing the owner of American Apparel for her online magazine

Every word you speak, every action you take, and every encounter ultimately determines whom you will be and whom you will associate with. So I want to tell you that freshman year is not only about self-discovery but taking advantage of everything that is offered to you and seizing every opportunity. Sure I’m just a freshman, but who says I can’t have a success story after one semester? Try everything and aspire for everything because if there is one time to do it, it’s now.”

Thanks Emily! I know I have said it before, but I am so impressed with how involved on campus and in the community our new students are! They have only been here a short time, but have already set up roots! I think all of our new student bloggers are setting excellent examples of how to become involved on campus. Congratulations!

We’ll check in with Victor, Sascha, Karissa, and Emily one more time after the end of this semester.


Happy Birthday To…

… the blog! Happy birthday to the blog! Happy birthday dear bloooo-ooog! Happy birthday to the blog!

Happy Birthday Blog!

That’s right! One year ago today I started writing this blog! To celebrate, I will be eating red velvet cake today. But just a cupcake. Not the Costco sized red velvet cake of a few weeks ago. Sigh… And also to celebrate, I thought I would give you a by-the-numbers account of what we have done on the blog in the past year.

In the past year, I have posted 182 entries on the blog! Including…

  • 19 Alumni Spotlights
  • 28 Student Shout-Outs
  • 19 Internship Ideas
  • 19 A Day in the Life
  • 19 Student Chronicles
  • 15 Dons’ Doings
  • 8 Academic Trivia
  • 8 Club Ed
  • 7 Red Alerts
  • 5 Faculty Feats
  • 4 Class Notes
  • 4 Plan As
  • 4 The Expert Files
  • 6 Miscellaneous Chatters
  • 17 94 Days of Summer
In the past year, we have gotten 205 comments on the blog. And about 1 trillion spam comments.

I’m still enjoying it just as much as I did when I started a year ago, and am continuing to come up with new ideas for it! After all, our students, alums, and faculty, are continuing to do great things! I hope that you will continue to read and we have many more birthdays in the future!  


Internship Ideas: Lisa at "Cycling Ireland" in Dublin

I’ve been getting a barrage of e-mails asking me “When are you going to post another ‘Internship Ideas’ on the blog?” Okay, so that is not true, but don’t you agree that it is time for another? I thought so.

Well, today’s was worth the wait. Why? Because we are for the first time ever in “Internship Ideas” featuring one of our students who interned in another country! That’s right, senior Communication Studies student Lisa Colasanti completed an internship in Dublin, Ireland, this past summer! I asked her to tell us about it.

Lisa at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland

Q: Where did you intern and what do they do?

Lisa: “I was an intern at Cycling Ireland in Dublin.  They are a government organization that regulates all the cycling in Ireland.  They manage cycling clubs, approve and support cycling events, provide insurance to all licensed riders (any one can get a license by just applying and paying a fee), and things of that nature.”

Q: How did you find this internship?

Lisa: “I did it through a program called Global Experiences.  My older sister had done an internship through them in London and loved it.”

Q: Why did you decide to intern there?

Lisa: “I’ve always wanted to study abroad and I decided it would be much easier to go during the summer and figured an international internship would really boost my resume.  I wanted to go to Ireland because I’m half Irish and have always felt really close to that part of my heritage.  I had never been there and its one place I’ve always wanted to go and living there for three months was the perfect solution.  Global Experiences placed me in my internship after looking over my resume and talking to me about what I wanted and what I felt about some of the options.”

Q: What did you do on a regular basis at your internship?

Lisa: “I had a few projects that I worked on through out my internship.  My first job was to set up social networking for them, they had a twitter but none of them really knew how to use it, so I would update it daily or every other day as news about cycling came in.  I was there for the Tour de France and there were a few Irishmen in it so that was a big thing to tweet about.  I also started their Facebook page.  Within a day we had 100 likes.  I would also keep that updated and taught them how to use it.  I put together a presentation for the CEO, Geoff, about advertising on Facebook, which to me was the most interesting part since I’m really interesting in advertising.  I also worked on a kind of yearbook that had all the current leisure cycling clubs in it.  They have a lot to inquires about leisure cycling and keep giving them the same information in terms of clubs so they wanted a yearbook that had all of them organized by province.  I designed the initial stages of it but it wasn’t completed by the time I left but I’m told it should be done by late January.  I also did some of the typical intern work, like logging mail, printing licenses, answering phones and checking emails.  I also able to go to a few events which was very exciting.”

Q: What did you learn from this internship?

Lisa: “I learned a lot during my internship.  Leaning how advertising works on Facebook was definitely the most interesting, it’s almost like an ebay system.  Working in a professional setting for the first time was a great experience.”

Q: What advice do you have for other students looking for an internship?

Lisa: “I think that getting an internship is one of the most important things you can do in college.  It’s pretty much a requirement if you want to get a job after college these days.  It can also be a very fun experience.  I still talk to the people from my office.  I also think that international internships are a great choice.  Not only do you get the work experience but also the experience of another culture. Ireland was a fantastic place.  I miss it every day.  The people are so nice and it is absolutely beautiful.  One of my friends (we were all from America working at different places) said that the US is like regular tv but Ireland was HD tv.  If you do go to Ireland, you HAVE to travel.  Dublin is a great city, but the true beauty of Ireland is the country.”

Thanks, Lisa! It sounds like an amazing experience! Fun fact: the place where Lisa is posing in her picture (the Cliffs of Moher) are actually the “Cliffs of Insanity” from the movie The Princess Bride! How cool is that? And, you’re welcome for getting movie lines stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Here are a few to get you started:

“As you wish.” or “Aaaassss yooooou wiiiiiiiiiiish!”


“You’re trying to kidnap what I’ve rightfully stolen.”

And of course…

“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”


New Student Chronicles, Ch. 2: Karissa Montania

We’re continuing our check-in with our new student bloggers! Up today is Karissa Montania…

“Hey, It’s Karissa Montania again! So far, my semester at USF is going really well! I decided to pledge for Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed service fraternity. I am also getting into routine of my classes, even though I’ve been walking up to Lone Mountain twice every other day!

Karissa and her friend in front of the GG

During my first few months here, I have gone down to Clement Street a couple of times with friends to get dim sum and have continued to explore the city. I also attended Treasure Island Music Festival and got to see bands such as Empire of The Sun, YACHT, and Cut Copy perform! I also went to the Legion of Honor museum, participated in the Breast Cancer walk in Golden Gate Park and surprised my friend for her birthday in her dorm room!

Happy Birthday!

The weather here is definitely different than expected, because I thought it would be cold and windy in San Francisco 24/7, but it surprise me when we would have the hot, sunny days where I could wear shorts!

My goals for the rest of the semester is to keep up with my studying in classes and find more places to eat in the city! I was introduced to Off the Grid, which is a food truck stop with a variety of choices for food such as Crème Brulee, macaroons, cupcakes, friend noodles, potstickers and much more!”

Off the Grid

Thanks Karissa! So glad to hear that your first semester here is going well!