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Student Life Newsletter


spring 2014 ISSUE 2

DAY OF SERVICE Coretta Duplessis’ BrighterPage Side2

Photo: Liliana Cadavid


Students Organizations: The Saudi Approach......... 3 A Note from the Editor .......................................................... 4 Events Calendar ...................................................................... 4 A publication of the Student Life Office • Editor: Andrew Reitberger • Design: Liliana Cadavid • Contributors: Sabiha Mahmood and Liliana Cadavid


Photo: Jeremy Mejia

IT IS ALL ABOUT SERVING: Coretta Duplessis along with other UHCL students volunteering at a local food bank during last year’s Day of Service.

UHCL’s Day of Service is a great opportunity to give back to others in the community and an exceptional place to start volunteering and getting involved in on-campus activities.


By Liliana Cadavid eing around Coreen Duplessis or “Coretta,” as most of the people know her, has been a gratifying and moving experience. She is such an energetic and vigorous yet a very soft and gentle woman. She is the type of human being that has the power to invigorate others to do stuff, good stuff. It is not a coincidence that this story is about her and her qualities as an academic leader, a multi-tasking volunteer, and a


community devotee and servant. She is a 43-year-old graduate student in her last semester of the general psychology program at University of Houston-Clear Lake, who has really enjoyed and actively lived her college experience. Jennifer Clark, assistant director of student life and director of Student Leadership, Involvement & Community Engagement, has witnessed Coretta’s constant and active participation in on-campus activities. “Coretta has a passion and a true heart for service. When I met her a couple years ago, our first conversation was about giving back to the community,” said Clark. “She has emerged on campus as one of our most positive and influential student leaders.” Proof of that, according to Clark, is that she always takes students by the hand and literally walks them into the Student Life Office

and tells them they need to get involved. “I have seen how the love and enthusiasm she brings to her involvement inspires and impacts others.” Currently Coretta is the president of the Black Student Association, the founder and copresident of the Health and Wellness Club, the Student Government Representative for the National Society of Leadership and Success, and the vice-president of the Multicultural Education and Social Student Organization. She loves being involved in all of these oncampus activities, but certainly what she loves the most is participating in the Day of Service event that happens during the spring semester at UHCL. The Day of Service is UHCL’s annual event in which students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members give back to the community through service.

Serving others in the community is not only a passion for Coretta, but is a legacy that she and her four siblings received from her grandmother when she was a little girl and was living in her native island of St. Lucia, West Indies. “When I was little my grandmother always said that though we don’t have a lot of money, we always have time and that the best way to serve others is to give our time. She always encouraged us to help people in our community and that’s how I developed my passion for serving,” said Coretta.

Student Organizations:

THE SAUDI APPROACH 80 was the lucky number! The Saudi Student Organization is being featured in the Issue 2 of the SLO Spring Newsletter because they were the 80th student organization to be created at University of Houston-Clear Lake in 2014.

When you’re volunteering your focus is not on yourself or your problems; you realize that you are in a better place than most of the people that you’re helping. Ever since then Coretta likes to motivate people to volunteer, to serve others. She thinks that volunteering reduces stress because individuals who do community service focus more on others and less on themselves. “When you’re volunteering your focus is not on yourself or your problems, you realize that you are in a better place than most of the people that you’re helping,” she explained. From the perspective of Andrew Reitberger, associate director of student life, the Day of Service is an opportunity to learn more about oneself. “I always think that when you give your time to do community service, you find out a little more about yourself. What you value. What kind of person you are.” Coretta highly encourages students to participate in on-campus activities because that will make a big difference in their lives, not only in terms of improving their grades, but also in boosting their confidence and enriching their academic experience. “One of the things I would tell students is if you don’t know where to start, the Day of Service is a good place to start because you will meet other students that are involved and they will encourage you to participate or ask you to join whatever organization they are part of.” Watch her testimonial video on UHCLStudent Life channel in You Tube.

Photos: Sabiha Sahar Mahmood

By Sabiha Sahar Mahmood


bdullah Algamdi, a 33-year-old student from Saudi Arabia in the computer information system program at UHCL, looks absolutely confident and well-composed when you approach him. But he was not always like that, especially when it refers to his first experience in the United States. Before he was accepted to UHCL he came to Seattle and that first encounter with American culture was a shock for him. He recalled that even something as simple as riding a bus would make him stress out. “I did not know what the wire was so I spent the day in the bus,” he said. Building up the self-assurance and assertiveness that he reflects now cost him a lot, because he did not have the support that he needed as a new-comer to the United States. Abdullah is the founder and president of the Saudi Student Organization that embraces students from Saudi Arabia and offers them the

support system he did not find back in Seattle. He started the recognition process over a year ago and SSO was finally recognized in January 2014. When Abdullah started the recognition process in the spring 2013, along came Azhr Sigh, a 26-year-old English literature student from Saudi Arabia as well. They met through Abdullah’s sister. She helped him complete the requirements to establish the organization and therefore she is now the vice-president of the SSO. SSO is a fairly new organization and their main goal is to help students acclimate to American culture. So far SSO has a total of 16 UHCL students. They participated at Student Life’s Student Organizations Expo, and outreach to the students at UHCL English Language Services program. Their plan is to host more events, and maybe collaborate with the Muslim Students Association. “Our hope is continue to grow and flourish,” says Azhr.

CAN’T FIND AN ORGANIZATION THAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU? Creating your own student organization is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

1. Gather five interested members enrolled at UHCL including yourself. 2. Stop by the Student Life Office and pick up a Student Organization Recognition Packet. 3. Attend the mandatory Student Organization Recognition Workshop. Contact the Student Life Office to schedule a workshop.



EDITOR By: Andrew Reitberger

Associate Director of Student Life Death to the newsletter! Long live the newsletter! The Student Life Office has made many different newsletters over the last couple of decades. With the advent and rise of electronic communications, we stopped producing the traditional paper newsletter. They seemed obsolete. We focused more on emails, websites and social media to advertise our programs and services. Now, we find ourselves “reintroducing” a Student Life Newsletter. A newer version that is styled and more technologically adept for current times. We are no longer just relaying dates and services. We are telling the stories of our student leaders or they are telling the stories themselves in video. The publication is available in a limited number of print copies but we hope to be able to reach more people through digital copies. We are also utilizing the knowledge and skills our students are learning in the classroom. A small team of students contribute to the writing, photographing, video and graphic design of the Student Life Newsletter. We are proud to make the connections and experiences and delighted with the beautiful product. We hope you will enjoy our newsletter in print and online.

For questions regarding the Student Life Office Newsletter, please send an email to




ACTIVITIES 25TH CHILI COOK-OFF / The 80’s Edition Date: Saturday, April 5, 12 - 4 p.m. Location: SSCB North Lawn Deadline to submit the Team Entry packet along with the application fee is set for Monday, March 3, at 12 noon.

CULTURAL ARTS VIVALDI EXTRAVAGANZA Date: Thursday, April 3, 8 p.m. Location: Bayou Theater Presale: $10 Gen. Adm./ $6 with UHCL ID At the door: $12 Gen. Adm. / $8 with UHCL ID

BEETHOVEN 6 & 7 Date: Thursday, May 1, 8 p.m. Location: Bayou Theater Presale: $12 Gen. Adm./ $8 with UHCL ID At the door: $15 Gen. Adm. / $10 with UHCL ID For more information contact

FILM & SPEAKER FROZEN Date: Saturday, March 1, 3 p.m. & 6 p.m. Location: Bayou 2512 $3.75 or Free with a UHCL Student ID / Rated PG

AFTER TILLER Date: Saturday, March 22, 7 p.m. Location: SSCB Lecture Hall Speaker: TBA $3.75 or Free with a UHCL Student ID / Rated PG-13

THE GREAT GATSBY Date: Saturday, April 26, 7 p.m. Location: SSCB Lecture Hall Speaker: John Gorman, PhD $3.75 or Free with a UHCL Student ID / Rated PG-13 For more information go to or contact

LEADERSHIP UHCL DAY OF SERVICE Kick-Off Speaker and Day of Service Orientation Date: Friday, February 28, 6 - 8 p.m. Location: SSCB 1100 (Lecture Hall) Guest Speaker: Twila Lindblade

Free food, service journals and t-shirts for registered Day of Service volunteers. T-shirts and journals will be available at the Kick-Off event only. Supplies limited.

Project Day Date: Saturday, March 1 Time and Location: TBA Open to the public. Free. Register on or before Tuesday, February 25. Pre-Register Online:

SLICE - LEADERSHIP WORKSHOPS Conflict Resolution Among Peers Presenter: Mike McMullen, PhD Date: Thursday, February 27, 5 - 7 p.m. Location: SSCB 2310 What is Your Leadership Style? (Myers-Briggs) Presenter: Aubrey DeCarlo Date: Friday, March 7, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. Location: SSCB 2310 Open to the public. Free. Preregistration recommended. Contact: Jennifer Clark, 281-283-2611

STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS S.O.L.D - STUDENT ORGANIZATION LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT / WORKSHOP SERIES Join Our Organization: Effectively Recruiting New Members Dates: Tuesday, February 25, 1 - 2 p.m. Thursday, March 6, 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. Motivating and Mentoring New Members and Officers Dates: Thursday, February 27, 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. Tuesday, March 4, 2 - 3 p.m. All workshops will be held in the Students Organizations Room 1.202.07. For more information contact Patrick Cardenas at


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