Tag Archives: Serena Mizzoni

Why You Should Volunteer at 8 am On Your Day Off

By: Olivia Werenski, Public Relations‘17

This past week, I received an amazing opportunity, one that is consistent with the Champlain College way and how it gives their students every opportunity available. Currently, I am enrolled in the Non Profit and Social Marketing class, taught by the wonderful Serena Mizzoni of Ashoka Ireland. However, in years before, the course was taught by Lucy Masterson, the CEO of Fundraising Ireland. This week, I volunteered for the Rise Up! National Fundraising Conference 2016 and had my thought process about non profits changed for good.

I have to be honest, I wasn’t really wanting to go. After a stressful week of final papers, housing selection, class registration for senior year, a job interview, and throwing an event for my Creative Dublin class, I had low energy and motivation. Waking up at 6 am was tough, especially when I wasn’t getting a paycheck.

When I arrived with fellow volunteers in tow, I was amazed by the hotel where it was being hosted. It smelled like fresh chocolate chip cookies and there was free food everywhere. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad here! We met up with Hermon, a coordinator for the conference and she assigned us our places and gave us some free t-shirts (always a plus).  I ended up being assigned to room 6 for the day, where I would help the presenters with anything they needed and make the lectures a smooth experience for both the participants and the speakers.

Volunteers for Fundraising Ireland

Some of the Champlain College students volunteering at the annual conference for Fundraising Ireland. Photo credit: Lilly Johnsson

The speakers were from all over the world: Scotland, London, USA, Canada, Spain and more. I was impressed with both their talent and drive to get to be where they are in their careers today. Most were CEO’s, either for large companies or owned their own companies. Hearing them speak about the psychology behind decision making and ethics behind asking for money was both interesting and thought pondering. I had come into the conference almost hating fundraising and feeling awkward in situations where I had to ask for money. Now, I see the premise behind it. Not only is it necessary to have a sustainable business, but it doesn’t always have to be this uncomfortable and pushy thing that is always the elephant in the room. These speakers made me see things from a different angle, one that was based on evidence and research instead of personal bias. Plus, I received some fantastic LinkedIn connections that I wouldn’t have otherwise gotten.

Tammy Zonker

Tammy Zonker, Founder and CEO of Fundraising Transformed, during her talk at Fundraising Ireland’s conference. Photo credit: Lilly Johnsson

Fundraising Ireland's national conference

In between talks at Fundraising Ireland’s national conference. The venue was the Hilton by DoubleTree hotel in Dublin.

All in all, it was a wonderful learning experience and resume builder and it wouldn’t have never been possible without the help of Champlain Abroad Dublin. This experience reminded me to not judge a book by it’s cover and to always take a risk, no matter how early in the morning it is.

Catch up with me on Twitter: @OWerenski

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Because Dublin Isn't All Fun And Drinking

Olivia Werenski, Public Relations’17

This semester, like I have mentioned before, was one that I wasn’t sure I was prepared for. The hardest part (besides actually getting there), I assumed would be the classes. While school hasn’t ever been hard for me (well, except math), I feared that the combination of schoolwork mixed with being in another country would concoct the perfect potion of stress and anxiety.

Champlain College Dublin Building

It’s sometimes hard to study when your school building is so beautiful

When you apply to Champlain Abroad Dublin, you actually chose classes in the application. This made me very excited! The time spent flipping through the pages of the course catalog and imaging sitting learning about Irish art and literature made everything feel exciting and real and most importantly, raw. This was real, I was really going to go to school in another country and learn about their culture and history and ways of living first hand.

Now that I am here, classes are even better than I expected. I’m taking 5 classes: Creative Dublin, Dublin Literary Experience, Environmental Earth Science, Non Profit and Social Marketing, and Writing The City. Each course involves in class and out of class elements so students get a hands-on approach to their learning and really feel immersed in the culture of Dublin. This was a nice change of pace, as I’ve learned that I learn the best by doing and practicing, rather than listening to a lecture.

Recently, in Non Profit and Social Marketing class, my teacher Serena Mizzoni, took us on a field trip to Kilbarrack fire station and learned about Neil McCabe, the creator and chief executive officer of The GreenPlan©. Neil is an entrepreneur and fireman who turned his rundown and out of date building into a functioning, modern and cost effective “green” station where employee morale was at an all time high. It was really fantastic to see the concepts that we were learning in class applied to a real person and a real life situation. Neil impressed me not only with his wit and sense of humor but intelligence and passion for sustainability. You can read more about Neil and the GreenPlan in this recent article published in the Irish Times on February 22nd: https://www.irishtimes.com/sponsored/it-s-good-to-be-green-1.2541211

The teachers are amazing here as well. All of my teachers are Irish and know a lot about Dublin as a city and as a group of people. The culture and the history that I have experienced while here in my classes has been something I most likely would not have gotten if just on my own. The spirit of immersion and background knowledge they bring to the table has given me a fresh perspective on the Irish culture. Besides being great teachers, a few of them have even become friends of mine and are a good source of advice for traveling as well!

I wouldn’t change a thing about living and attending school here. While still being challenging at times, for the most part everything has been smooth sailing academically. I feel comfortable yet challenged in all my classes and have faith that I will be learning new skills that I can take home with me and re-purpose in other classes. It’s still the same Champlain dynamic I’ve always admired about the school. I urge everyone to find a place where you feel comfortable yet pushed at the same time to be the best version of yourself. I’m so glad I’ve found mine.
Until next time!

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