ODK - The Leader - Fall 2020

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MESSAGE FROM THE CIRCLE COORDINATOR Hello ODK Depending on your age or your musical interests, you might remember the Grateful Dead song, “What A Long Strange Trip It’s Been.” When I look around campus and realize it is mid-November, I can hardly believe it. I returned to my office for the first time last month. I had to flip my calendar from March all the way to October - seven months of the past year erased. What a long strange year 2020 has been! About half of our freshmen chose to live on campus this fall - we have only 3,500 of 10,000 residential students in our residence halls. All rooms are singles, and many students elected to live at home and do all of their coursework online. 85-90% of all classes are completely online. Zoom rooms are the new classrooms, and “You forgot to unmute!” is the most common expression. Students who live on or near campus can grab and go with their meals - there is limited seated dining in the dining halls. Students can go to Eppley and Stamp with reservations only. The Mall is mostly deserted. Student activities and programs are all virtual. There are some students studying in hammocks or playing safe, physically distant frisbee. It is a strange way to be on a bustling, busy college campus. We have been working mightily since March on our COVID response. We have conducted 55,000 COVID tests on campus since June. We have coordinated quarantine and isolation housing in Leonardtown apartments. We have distributed thousands of Terrapin Strong face coverings. We have conducted early contact identification and hired COVID student ambassadors. There are 4 Maryland signs posted everywhere - including a huge banner covering the old “M”. Our efforts have been significant, and our student behavior has kept our COVID numbers low and our campus open. We have come together as a community to keep each other as healthy as we can. The additional crises of racial unrest, political drama, and economic suffering have made this a very difficult year for so many. We remain steadfast in our commitment to help students have the best educational experience they can. We have distributed $1.3 million to over 2,500 students through the Student Crisis Fund since March. We welcomed President Darryll Pines and look forward to his passionate leadership and easy connection with students. We are committed to making this a good year for our students, including our ODKers. Amid all of this, we have tried to keep ODK moving forward. We had our first ever virtual induction ceremony in the spring and a virtual selection meeting this fall. Our tapping is being done by video. Our December induction will also be virtual. We can hope for a more “normal” experience this spring, but only time will tell. I expect the long, strange trip to continue for a few more months at least. I hope you and your families are safe and well, and that we can see each other in person again soon. Brooke L. Supple ODK Circle Coordinator You may be wondering what it means when you see a name highlighted in BOLD & BLUE. When a person’s name appears in text for the first time in the magazine, we’ll highlight them so you know that they’re a member of ODK.

THE LEADER ODK Sigma Circle | 2

MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT Hello ODK! My name is David Rekhtman and I am honored to serve as the President of the Sigma Circle for this academic year. I am a senior studying Biochemistry and hoping to pursue a career in medicine. On-campus, I am a teaching assistant in the Biology and Chemistry departments, a research assistant in the Kinesiology Department and am also involved in the University Student Judiciary, Honors Ambassadors, and a variety of advisory boards. With the help of an incredible executive board and general body, ODK has been very busy. Through multiple different initiatives, we have worked to strengthen and improve the ODK community both with current members as well as the wonderful alumni; we have revamped the LinkedIn Group to facilitate discussion, ODKonnections, and potential future professional relationships. We are also taking a critical look at the current application process to ensure we are selecting a qualified, diverse, and exceptional group of leaders. Earlier this fall, we completed our semesterly selections process and after a very rigorous and competitive process, we virtually tapped 38 undergraduate students, 1 graduate student, and 4 honorary inductees into the Sigma Circle. Each invited member is impressive and I am excited to welcome them into the ODK community. Looking ahead, the executive board is working to provide the same experience and opportunities to members in a virtual setting. My hope is to continue to foster personal, as well as community, growth and development. It is a privilege to serve as the President and work with a passionate executive board to lead the Sigma Circle. Best, David Rekhtman ODK Sigma Circle President

Fall 2020 Executive Officers

David Polefrone Events & Lectures Chair

Kaylee Towey Digital Communications Chair

David Rekhtman President

Emily Berry Alumni & Member Engagement Chair

Radhika Gholap Historian

Jacqueline Ford Vice President Emily Brothman Philanthropy & Community Service Chair

Sasha Marquez Public Relations Chair Megan Berry Membership & Induction Chair

Dr. Brooke Supple Circle Coordinator Dr. Dean Chang Faculty Advisor

Hello! My name is Jacqueline Ford and I am serving as the Vice President of the ODK Sigma Circle this 2020-2021 academic year. I am a BA/M.P.P. student, who recently graduated in May 2020 (virtually), Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Public Policy, a concentration in health policy, and my Honors College and Federal Fellows citations. Throughout undergrad, I held leadership roles in various communities across UMD’s campus -- a student manager for both the UMD baseball and football teams, a standards council member for Sigma Kappa, a School of Public Policy representative in the University Senate, the Vice President of the Public Policy Student Government Association (PSGA), a member of the Undergraduate School of Public Policy Dean’s Student Advisory Council (DSAC), and the founder and former two-term president of Kappa Omega Alpha (KOA), the University of Maryland’s Premier Public Policy professional fraternity. Throughout this fifth year, I am continuing my Pathways internship with the Department of State for the Bureau of Consular Affairs, and I am also a Graduate Assistant for the International Student and Scholar Services office at the University of Maryland. I am planning to graduate in May 2021 (hopefully in person this time!) with my Master of Public Policy, specializing in leadership and management. Outside of being a student, I can be found hiking on the trails with my Dad, binge-watching Parks and Rec (Leslie Knope is my spirit animal!), or trying the latest Peloton workout coached by Jess Simms. Go Terps! Hi! My name is Emily Berry and I am serving as the Alumni & Member Engagement Chair of ODK this year. I am a senior Government and Politics major who is also in the five-year BA/Master of Public Policy program. I was born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland, and all of my siblings have attended UMD! During the past three years, I have gotten very involved with student governance. I currently serve as the second-term President of the Residence Hall Association, which is a student governing body that represents students who live on campus. I am also a BSOS Senator, on the Senate Executive Committee, and I serve on Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Patty Perillo’s Student Advisory Council. I have been honored to have been involved with Omicron Delta Kappa since Fall 2018, and am excited to have a chance to serve on the executive board. Outside of these organizations, I currently serve as a third-year Resident Assistant and have just started my first semester as a Student Advocate in the Student Legal Aid Office. In the past, I have also been a staff member in the Student Organization Resource Center in Stamp Student Union. My other current or past involvements include the Student Alumni Leadership Council (SALC), Student Government Association, and the National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH). I am very passionate about government and law, so I currently serve as an undergraduate TA in the GVPT department and have interned in the past with the Maryland General Assembly. When I graduate from my MPP Program, I hope to attend law school to study constitutional law! 3 | ODK Sigma Circle THE LEADER

The 2020-2021 academic year is shaping up to be one of the most unusual on record. With a global pandemic, hybrid learning, civil unrest, and a national election disrupting “business as usual” on campus, our executive board has a whole new world to navigate while juggling their leadership roles on campus. Read on to learn a little more about our board. My name is Megan Berry and I am serving as the Membership & Induction Chair for ODK this year. I am a Senior pursuing a B.S. in Neurobiology and Human Physiology with a minor in Public Leadership, on the pre-med track. On-campus, I have had the pleasure of being involved in College Park Scholars as a student, peer mentor, and ambassador as well as various student organizations including the Residence Hall Association, National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH), Student Alumni Leadership Council (SALC), and Beta Psi Omega Professional Biology Fraternity. I am also currently serving in my second year as a Resident Assistant on campus and absolutely love serving as a resource for freshmen and sophomores within the College Park Scholars living and learning community. I also work as an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant in the Biological Sciences department and as a student employee at TerpZone. After I graduate in the Spring, I will be taking a gap year and applying to medical school. I hope to attend medical school starting in Fall 2022 with the end goal of becoming a Pediatrician. In the meantime, I have been volunteering locally with a non-profit, community-based women’s health clinic out of College Park, participating in a virtual shadowing program, and finding new ways to engage with my courses virtually.

My name is Emily Brothman and I am currently serving as the Philanthropy & Community Service Chair of the Sigma Circle for the 2020-2021 academic year. I am a senior Elementary Education major with a minor in Public Leadership from Atlanta, Georgia. Throughout my time on campus, I have been involved in a variety of leadership roles. I started my time as a Maryland Terrapin in the College Park Scholars Public Leadership program, where I served as both an ambassador and a mentor to incoming first-year students. I am involved in various campus organizations, such as Maryland Images Tour Guides, UMD Hillel, and Terps Against Hunger, where I currently serve as the co-president. I am also involved in the Office of New Student Orientation. I have worked in the Orientation Office for the past two years, first as an Orientation Advisor, and later as one of the Student Coordinators. This year, I am currently a student teacher in the fifth grade at Beltsville Academy. I am working on completing my teacher certification and I am excited to begin my career as an educator! I plan to stay in the College Park/D.C. Metro area upon graduation to teach elementary school for a few years before applying to graduate school. My goal is to pursue a career in education policy. In the meantime, I have been enjoying my time in College Park by taking walks around our beautiful campus and walking trails. I have also been trying new vegetarian recipes and cooking with my roommates! THE LEADER ODK Sigma Circle | 4

Hi! My name is David Polefrone and I’m a senior pursuing a dual degree in Chemistry and Economics, serving as the Events & Lectures Chair for ODK this year. Academically, I am also a member of the Gemstone Honors College (Team TOXIC, “Understanding Computational Toxicology”), and the QUEST Honors Program. Outside of the classroom, I conduct research in computational organic chemistry in the group of Dr. Osvaldo Gutierrez. Throughout my four years, I have made extracurricular involvement a priority. Among other organizations, I have previously held roles in the Residence Hall Association, Maryland Discourse, the Maryland Parliamentary Debate Society, and Maryland College Democrats. Currently, my primary involvement (aside from ODK!) is the Student Government Association, where I serve as Chief of Staff. After graduating, I will likely go on to a doctoral program in computational chemistry, and I hope to work in biopharmaceutical research & development. In my free time, I can often be found reading longform journalism, playing 8-ball pool, and listening to electronic music. Hello! My name is Alexandra Marquez, but most people call me Sasha! I’m proud to serve as the Public Relations Chair on the ODK Executive Board this year with an amazing and inspiring group of campus leaders! I currently serve as the Student Co-Chair of the TerpsVote Coalition, a group of students, staff, and faculty committed to increasing civic participation on campus. We were incredibly busy this year preparing for a monumental election. In addition to our regular voter registration efforts, we focused on educating student voters to make informed decisions up and down the ballot and helped them to get to know the intricacies of every position on their ballot, including how those positions affect the lives of students. For the first time, the Xfinity Center served as a polling place for early voting and Election Day for all registered voters in Prince George’s County. We even helped the Athletics Department recruit volunteers from across campus to assist voters from across our community to perform their civic duty. I also serve as the Director of Civic Engagement for the Student Government Association, where the Civic and Governmental Affairs Committee worked to combat election disinformation and to ensure there were support services available on campus after the election for students who needed them. It’s been amazing to watch our campus community come together this fall to Get Out The Vote and work together to ensure student’s voices are heard at the ballot box. From the administration, to the Athletics Department, to student groups engaged in dozens of other areas, our community was united I was tapped by ODK alums Ian Moritz and Adrienne Baer at homecoming in October 2016. Later, I was gifted an opportunity by Dr. Brooke Supple to get to know and work more closely with the students on the ODK executive board, and I became the faculty advisor for ODK in January 2018. I’m usually at the Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (innovation.umd.edu) where we help students and professionals creatively solve really tough problems with design thinking, lean startup, and team-based experiential learning. What I love most about being at UMD is finding ways for diverse people to come together to work on an area of need and to learn a lot from each other and build relationships in the process. That’s why I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with the amazing ODK leadership teams each year. In my free time, I like to torment my wife and kids with lots of bad Dad jokes and regularly play pickup basketball and ultimate frisbee. I’ve also done 5 RV camping trips in 3 different countries and think it’s something everyone should try at least once! 5 | ODK Sigma Circle THE LEADER

Hi! My name is Kaylee Towey, and I am the Digital Communications Chair for ODK this year. I am a senior pursuing a dual degree in Finance and Communication. I am also in the Information Systems Masters program, so I’ll be earning another degree at Maryland after I graduate this semester! My most impactful involvement on campus has been with the University Student Judiciary. In roles as a Presiding Officer and the Selections and Recruitment chair, I get to participate on both sides of fostering a community of ethically and integrity-motivated leaders, while also ensuring equity and due process to all the students who go through the conduct process. I’m also involved with the Academic Procedures and Standards Senate Committee, and I was previously in Public Leadership Scholars, a member on the Sexual Misconduct Standing Review Committee, and a conference facilitator for Maryland Leadership Education and Development. After graduation, I hope to combine my passions for communications and data to help companies make strategic communication and business decisions. I am excited to apply what I have learned about being a leader so that I can best help others efficiently and effectively accomplish goals.

Hello! My name is Radhika Gholap, and I am a Senior Physiology & Neurobiology major pursuing double minors in Statistics and Spanish on the pre-medical path. I’m proud to serve as the ODK Sigma Circle’s Historian this year alongside some amazing and talented leaders. On-campus, I am Co-President of the American Medical Student Association, the largest pre-medical club on campus. It’s been rewarding to grow the community within this organization while also making tangible contributions to systemic issues like food insecurity, educational inequity, mental health stigmatization, and the opioid epidemic. We are currently working with the Health Professions Advising Office and the Office of Diversity & Inclusion to put together Cultural Competency workshops to discuss cultural sensitivity, innate biases, microaggressions, and general allyship in the medical field. Additionally, as Community Partner Coordinator for Terps for Change, I volunteer at CASA: Mi Espacio, a mentorship and enrichment program for Latino youth, and lead weekly dialogues centered on service-learning and systemic inequalities. As Development Coordinator for Camp Kesem, a national nonprofit that supports children through and beyond their parent’s cancer, I am currently busy planning Kesem’s Giving Tuesday fundraisers! I also serve as the Vice-President of Nu Rho Psi Neuroscience Honor Society, Vice-President of Banneker-Key Community Council, Integrated Life Sciences Representative on the Honors College Student Advisory Board, Teaching Assistant for BSCI 440, and the Executive Student Coordinator for Honors Ambassadors. After graduation, I hope to attend medical school. As such, I am a Medical Scribe with a primary care provider and Research Associate with the Prince George’s Emergency Medicine Department. I am also a Crisis Counselor with the national nonprofit, Crisis Text Line. In my free time, I enjoy cooking and running.

THE LEADER ODK Sigma Circle | 6

“Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep” goes the alarm as I frantically jump to turn it off. Today is yet another day full of online classes and to be honest, everyday feels like the movie, Groundhog Day. Each day is now a constant routine; I wakeup, get “Zoom-ready” (smart casual on top and shorts on the bottom), log on to my computer, and “commute” to my class, which is only a few steps away from my bed. Meanwhile my teacher starts their online greeting, desperately hoping that one of my classmates signals that they’re alive and present for class on the other side of the dark, Zoom abyss. Does this ring a bell for anyone? I am sure it does. It’s crazy to think that in just a few short months moving to online school so abruptly in March felt like such complete and utter chaos, whereas now, it’s become somewhat regular.

Being a full-time student at home experiencing virtual school is strange, and what makes it more weird is the fact that I know I am not the only one experiencing what students call these days, “Zoom University.” This “new normal” virtual learning environment is impacting students of all levels across the globe. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 93% of households with school aged children are reporting some version of distance learning occurring at home this 20202021 academic school year. Because these are such abnormal, and unprecedented (arguably the most used word of 2020) times, now more than ever it is crucial that students have access to the resources, tips and tools to make the best of their online learning experience. Here are some tips and tricks that I have used to help make the Zoom University experience more tolerable:

Jacqueline Ford and her siblings find ways to stay engaged socially while juggling virtual school from home.

By Jacqueline Ford


I have set a time to wake up and start my day throughout the week to mimic what I would have done in pre-COVID times on campus. I have found that setting a consistent lunch break throughout the week with your work-from-home co-workers, or even just by yourself, is a good way to feel “on track.”


This may be an unpopular opinion, but I have missed my walks in between classes or club meetings. To mimic this natural break and recharge, I have taken up going for a short walk around my block for about 15 minutes while listening to music or my favorite podcasts. Even if my neighbors see me at the same time everyday, I know I am getting my steps in while giving myself a break.


Just as you would use your Google Calendar to keep track of your Zoom classes and meetings, do the same with your friends! Coordinate online chats or socially distanced hangouts with your friends throughout the week. It’s easy to get glued to your computer, so scheduling will hold you accountable and also help you safely socialize during this strange and scary time.


Zoom fatigue is a real thing! Sitting, staring at a computer all day can be draining and tiring. I have found that taking some time to read a chapter from my book, or just meditate for a few minutes is a good way to rest my eyes and rejuvenate my (last three) brain cells.


This is probably the most important lesson I’ve learned during this pandemic. At one time or another, we’ve all experienced a Zoom call gone wrong or just overall frustration with virtual school. Whether it’s talking while muted, a frozen screen, or random drop off from a call, we’ve all had our moments. What’s important is that you realize everyone is going through it, and at the end of the day, it’s okay. So take a second to make light of this abnormal, yet historical, time period and have a laugh! Virtual school is difficult and a challenge that we are all being faced with. Just do your best, find what works for you, and try to remember that we are living while history is being written-- even if it’s from the comfort of our own homes.

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Leadership Tips for Engaging Members in the Virtual Environment By Megan Berry

Now more than ever, leaders have to be creative in their approach to engaging members or employees with programs, initiatives, and more! During this pandemic, the opportunities to engage participants have to be adapted to a mostly virtual setting which comes with certain disadvantages including, but not limited to, Zoom fatigue, more distractions, less interpersonal connections, and miscommunication. In an effort to help you all to approach virtual meetings with your peers, we have broken down what we have found to be the most helpful tips to keep your time together interactive, efficient, and engaging. These should also help to ease any worries of losing the benefits of being in person by finding new creative solutions to best replicate the advantages of face-to-face interaction until we are able to safely conduct in-person or large scale meetings. We are confident that you all have the skills and the resources needed to keep events or meetings organized, engaging, and effective even in the virtual environment and we encourage your autonomy as you choose how to execute these tips to best suit the needs of your members! My 8 best tips for using your virtual spaces effectively and keeping members involved: 1. Try to humanize the experience by checking in on emotions of members and providing some time to socialize at the beginning and end of your virtual meeting. 2. Connect with different types of learners through visual, auditory, or kinesthetic aids. For example, ask your members to get up, take a stretch break, chat with peers in break out rooms, or communicate using the chat feature of most virtual platforms. 3. Mixing video and live presenters enhances the attendees’ learning experience and breaks up the time together. Variety keeps engagement high! 4. Designating a virtual DJ to play music during breaks replicates the in-person experience 9 | ODK Sigma Circle THE LEADER

and clearly signals when a session starts and stops. 5. Break up your agenda into digestible chunks. Some state that the average human attention span is approximately 5 minutes; others state that most healthy teenagers and adults are unable to sustain attention on one thing for more than about 20 minutes at a time, although they can choose repeatedly to re-focus on the same thing. 6. Use polling or check-ins to gauge non-verbal feedback at various points throughout your meeting or event to allow facilitators to quickly gauge who is paying attention and who may have lost interest. 7. Upgrade from your typical virtual ice breaker. Maybe incorporate the use of virtual backgrounds to get to know something new about your members or the participants in the meeting or event. 8. Feedback. Feedback. Feedback. This is a time for growing and adapting so frequent opportunities for feedback whether it be verbal or through an online submission can provide members with the space to comment on the types of events or spaces they are seeking and what might help them stay engaged in the virtual environment. I have had my fair share of what I like to call Zoom fails, where I have left a meeting feeling unfulfilled and like I just spent the hour talking to myself. I am sure you all can relate to this feeling in some way or another throughout the last few months. None of us are perfect leaders and it is okay to provide yourself the space and the mercy to try and fail in your approach to virtual meetings or events. You need to give yourself the time to adapt to what works best for your organization and the goals you have set for yourself and members for this year! Here are some resources to help you get started! • • • •

The Academy Virtual Playground Online and Interactive Polling Best Tips and Tricks for Zoom Etiquette Sharing a Whiteboard on Zoom



Members of the ODK Sigma Circle sat down to have a chat with Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Patty Perillo, a member of ODK herself, about leadership. Click on the player below to launch the online video interview.

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Spotlight on Campus: Remaining Strong Through the Pandemic By David Polefrone

“Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” - Fred Rogers Every generation of ODKers has their own stories about their campus experiences, but perhaps the most abrupt shifts have come recently due to COVID-19. To provide a window into these experiences, we thought to highlight some of the people, places, and things which are engaged in impactful work to reduce the burden of the pandemic. After an uncertain summer, students have returned to College Park after all. Most classes have become Zoom calls (if not recordings), with some labs and lectures in person with appropriate distance. Despite the circumstances, the Maryland community is making the most of its hybrid setup, bolstered by the “Terrapin Strong” campaign which adorns not only masks across campus, but also McKeldin Library. The Mall is dotted with lawn chairs to allow for distanced study, and even as the chapel bells ring on the hour, there are almost never busy walking paths.

also assist with the provision of personal protective equipment. Campus residence halls have shifted almost exclusively to single-occupancy spaces, so the Ambassadors program has allowed for greater support of both ongoing health initiatives and student leaders. From survey-based inquiries to publications on the underlying biology of the virus, it’s no surprise that Maryland faculty and researchers are at the forefront of efforts to combat the ongoing pandemic. Notably, work in the Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics from Professor Jonathan Dinman has explored the mechanisms of coronaviruses dating back to 2004 - long before they became a household concern. Additionally, epidemiological work carried out by Lei Zhang with the Maryland Transportation Institute led to the creation of an interactive platform through which the impact of the COVID-19 virus can be explored. While the race for a vaccine takes the lion’s share of the news, basic research which originated here in College Park will continue to light a way forward. And indeed, our neighbor to the north at the University of Maryland School of Medicine received a grant of $200 million from NIAID/NIH to develop a universal vaccine for the flu. No matter the backdrop, the Maryland community has remained robust through its culture of innovation and discovery - giving new meaning to the words “Terrapin Strong”.

Dr. Sacared Bodison has proven to be a campus leader during the COVID pandemic, making calls . . .

Led by Dr. Sacared Bodison, who was inducted in the spring of 2020, the Health Center has been central to keeping students well. Another central part of the campus health experience is the newly created 4 Maryland Ambassadors program: students who no longer hold positions as Resident Assistants help ensure that testing at Maryland Stadium is being run efficiently, and 11 | ODK Sigma Circle THE LEADER

. . . and working with staff at UMD testing sites. Photos courtesy of Maryland Today.

stay socially distanced, you have probably been spending a lot of time at your desk or in your bed. It is important to remember to get up and move around, even if you can’t go anywhere. Take a walk or go on a run outside, do some yoga in your room, or get creative with a home gym. By Kaylee Towey Mental and physical health is more important than ever, as students are adapting to virtual learning, social distancing, and stress from extreme uncertainties. According to the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors, students today suffer from high rates of psychiatric conditions, including anxiety, stress, and depression. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these mental health challenges. The combination of loneliness, stress, and anxiety has resulted in an increased depression rate among college students. In an Active Minds survey, 80% of students reported that the pandemic negatively impacted their mental health. This challenge extends beyond psychiatric concerns, with 73% struggling to get enough physical activity, 76% having trouble maintaining a routine, and 63% finding it challenging to stay connected with others. To combat these ills, here are some top tips for student leaders. Hide Zoom Self View Zoom Fatigue is real, but it is also the new norm for the foreseeable future. Give yourself a visual break and allow your brain to refocus by hiding your self-view. This way, you can keep your camera on but avoid being hyper-aware of how you look. The whole group can also discuss turning cameras off, reducing the information processing necessary for everyone. Minimizing the overstimulation of your brain can improve productivity, self-esteem, and energy levels. Exercise! If you are taking all online classes, isolating or quarantining, or even just doing your part to

Increasing your blood flow improves brain health, reduces stress, and increases energy and creativity. Taking the time to move around also provides an excellent mental and technology break during the day. Get Involved and Socialize Even while we are socially distancing, we must experience social interactions. Work to replace canceled events with virtual ones to allow for social interaction. Socialization is necessary for good health and longevity. Social interactions have several significant benefits, including increasing happiness, reducing stress, and positively influencing habits. Here are some fun ways to be virtually involved: • • • • • •

Join a new club on campus Attend online workshops and seminars Join a book club Play online trivia or board games Set up a Zoom lunch date Use Netflix Party to have a viewing party with friends

As leaders, there are also things you should be considering to ensure and promote the health and wellness of your peers. The Healthy Minds Network found that 60% of students found it more difficult to access mental health resources during the pandemic. Make sure you are sharing resources and reminding your peers to take care of themselves. Additionally, be conscious of the responsibilities and expectations you are placing on others, and be flexible and supportive of difficult circumstances. It is vital to invest in health and well-being to foster an environment of happiness and success.

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By Emily Berry and Jacqueline Ford The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges. One that has drastically affected the world of student and professional leadership specifically has been our collective ability to network with one another in person. We used to be able to grab coffee with someone to catch up, head to an office to work together around a table, and hold in-person networking events that allow for spontaneous connections. Now, we all have been thrown into a virtual world where making legitimate connections has not been easy. However, with the normalization of virtual communication, we also have a unique opportunity to connect with people that we wouldn’t normally get the chance to meet. Since the expectation of in-person connections is gone, at least temporarily, leaders can more easily plan successful virtual events, phone calls, and Zoom chats with professionals in their field--all from the comfort of their own living space, and let’s be honest, in our PJs, too. As one of the ODK Sigma Circle executive board initiatives this year, we are working on creating opportunities to connect current ODK members with past alumni using virtual spaces. Part of this initiative has been bringing these members together in our LinkedIn group. We are proud to have such an accomplished alumni network, as well as an outstanding group of current UMD leaders that have distinguished themselves on campus both personally and professionally.

It is our hope that we can use this platform this year, and the unique opportunity that we have in a new primarily-virtual world, to connect alumni and current members in new ways. Many students are looking for opportunities to make connections with alumni to gain career advice, leadership guidance, and other professional development skills and opportunities. By bringing members together in a virtual LinkedIn group, students will be able to explore the profiles of our alumni and reach out for informational interviews, while alumni can share their advice and any opportunities they want ODK members to be able to learn from and take advantage of. As members of ODK, we all share a unique passion for leadership and have extensive experience. We’ve all gone through times where we questioned our ability to lead, were forced to quickly adapt to changing circumstances, and had to make quick decisions that may or may not have been the right ones. In a time where leaders are going through obstacles that are--to use the favorite word of the day--unprecedented, it is incredibly important that we support each other and create new ways to build the relationships that get us through our leadership journeys. So, stay on the lookout for some upcoming posts and events occurring in our LinkedIn group, and let’s come together and connect!

Join us in the ODK LinkedIn group to reconnect with alumni and to build bridges with a new class of ODKers.

In Memoriam Dr. Kathy McAdams passed away on September 29th at the age of 70. She previously served as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and an Associate Professor Emerita at Merrill College. Throughout the 20 years that Dr. McAdams spent at the University of Maryland, she served in a variety of leadership roles including the executive director of College Park Scholars from 1997 to 2002 and as associate dean of undergraduate studies from 2005 to 2010. Her work directly impacted students, faculty, and staff on this campus, and for her incredible work, she was inducted into the Sigma Circle of ODK in 1989. To read more about her incredible contributions please visit merrill.umd.edu.


Your support of Omicron Delta Kappa will not only help offset the cost of honoring the University’s best and brightest students, but will support the educational and leadership development programs that ODK sponsors, including the ODK Lecture Series, ODK Scholarships, and awards, like the annual Col. Logan Schutz Leader of the Year award. Click here to give to the ODK Discretionary Fund or send a check, made payable to the University of Maryland, College Park Foundation, to: Brooke Lecky Supple Circle Coordinator Omicron Delta Kappa Sigma Circle 7999 Regents Drive 2108 Clarence Mitchell Building College Park, MD 20742

Consider Supporting the ODK Sigma Circle with a Corporate Sponsorship!

Sponsorship benefits include the opportunity to network with ODK members and alumni, speaking opportunities, recognition at ceremonies and receptions, tabling at signature UMD events, brand awareness in our online media, and invitations to our programs. Please contact us for more information: Lydia Nicholson, Associate Director for Development & External Relations 301-314-1336 | lydian@umd.edu

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