ELSB keeps students involved amidst the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, Nov 12 2020 

By Katie Volpentesta–

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on every organization on U of L’s campus, but the Engage Lead Serve Board (ELSB) has worked hard to ensure that they can hold safe meetings and events as often as possible.

Before the pandemic, ELSB relied heavily on in-person operations for meetings, events, and service opportunities. “Helping committees and programs plan and execute events was a challenge at first because we were all trying to find our footing in a foundation no one was grounded in,” said programming director Nada Kaissieh via email.

“The key as leaders was finding a way to pull them back in, to maintain that strong connection with them in a way that will help them feel supported during this critical time.”

ELSB is split into six committees: Animal Welfare, Mental and Physical Health, Community Peace, Green Initiatives, Equality and Justice, and Human Prosperity. They also have several programs dedicated to service, leadership, freshman involvement, and promoting civic engagement. ELSB’s top four, which acts as their executive board, oversees their committee and programs.

Similar to UofL’s class structure, ELSB has incorporated a hybrid option to keep students on campus as involved as possible. They have partnered with outside speakers at their virtual meetings and events, as well as allowed for students to pick up care packages and packaged materials that they can take home and use during meetings and events (i.e. origami, materials to make blankets, etc.).

The Green Initiatives committee planned a socially distanced scavenger hunt around campus called Sustainable Gems where they made students aware of the sustainable features around campus. ELSB encourages and enforces the university’s COVID-19 guidelines at all in-person operation. “ELSB involvement is very diverse, and we encourage students to connect with our programs and committees in a way that is as safe and comfortable for them,” said Kaissieh.

Animal Welfare committee co-chair Emma Jones has seen a variety of benefits and drawbacks of meeting virtually via Microsoft Teams. “While having in-person events have many advantages, I love how accessible virtual meetings are, and I’d love to keep it as an option for my meetings and events,” said Jones.

“However, since my committee likes to pair an activity with each meeting, we struggle with finding creativity for virtual activities, or suggesting activities that members can do with common items around their living space.” Jones also acknowledges the difficulty of staying focused and actively engaged by having to stare at a screen for an hour.

Personally, Kaissieh has found her position changing throughout the pandemic. “In a world where the only constant is change, we have to be present with the current situation we are living in and continually asking ourselves how we can be better, connect better, and program more intentionally to better the lives of those around us,” said Kaissieh.

She has found herself to value being more intentional and accessible with her position by attending committee meetings more frequently and recording her reports so committee leaders can watch her give them instead of reading them.

“Trying to balance so much change at once can be difficult, but in ELSB we try to create and nurture a supportive environment where it doesn’t feel as though you are handling anything alone because we are all going through this period of adjustment and grieving… grieving a life we thought we would have this semester,” said Kaissieh.

Kaissieh, Jones, and other committee members and leaders look forward to their final event of the semester, Eco-Hop. “My committee is collaborating with many committees/programs on ELSB for our final event of the semester,” said Jones. “GreenInitiatives, Animal Welfare, Community Peace, Mental and Physical Health, Alternative Service Break, and the UofL Study Abroad Program are coming together to discuss sustainable, ethical, and safe traveling around the world.”

Eco-Hop takes place on November 19 at 5 p.m. via Microsoft Teams. More information can be found on ELSB’s Instagram page. For more information about ELSB and its committees and programs, follow @uoflelsb, @uoflve, and @uoflccfp on Instagram.

ELSB also promotes outside collaborations, so if you are an organization that is wanting to partner with ELSB and our mission, make sure to fill out the collaboration form on Engage or reach out to programming@uoflelsb.org.

Photo Courtesy of ELSB

The post ELSB keeps students involved amidst the COVID-19 pandemic appeared first on The Louisville Cardinal.

There’s plenty of ways to get involved in campus life Wednesday, Apr 22 2020 

By Zoe Watkins — 

Even after Orientation and Welcome Week, the campus stays vibrant as ever almost every single day. There is no rest to campus life as there are many different things that a student can do to get involved with campus life and take part in the fun.

There’s plenty of social organizations for everyone’s interest

U of L offers many ways for students to be more social from Greek life to Recognized Student Organizations (RSO).

Even though she didn’t like the idea of joining a sorority at first, Junior Akanksha Gupta joined Kappa Delta (KD)after some her older friends pushed her to go through recruitment.

“Looking back, it was definitely the best decision I’ve made in college. I met so many of my best friends and have made connections that I never could’ve made before,” Gupta said.

She said a freshman should join a sorority or fraternity as it helps make them become a better person. KD shaped her into the person she is today as well as helped her grow. Gupta also said she gained life-long friends that have helped her make it through college.

If someone wishes to join a sorority or fraternity, Gupta said registration opens up on May 1.

Besides Greek life, the variety of RSOs offers students a chance to find new interests. Besides new interests, it is also a way to find people who share the same likes which was the case for junior Nicole Anderson when she joined the Tabletop Gaming Club for D&D.

Anderson says joining an RSO is a healthy way to fill downtime.

“You get to relax, share passions, make friends, and you get to learn about new stuff related to your passion,” she said.

Have a voice in our campus government

Make some change to campus through the Student Government Association (SGA), or even bring voice to a specific college since each branch of SGA has their own student council as well freshman council.

Sophomore Alexa Meza joined the Arts & Science Student council her freshman year as she needed a place where she could be herself and do the things that she loved.

“Through SGA, I’ve found some of my best friends and discovered the thing I’m really passionate about improving on campus,” Meza said.

She says what she loves the most about U of L’s student government is how it empowers students to improve areas in campus services or academic polices, solve problems, voice concerns and make change happen.

“The purpose of student government here at U of L, to me, is about improving the quality of life for students that are already here and making sure we give them the opportunity, the resources, and the desire to come back each year until they graduate,” she said.

Give back to the cardinal family

If the two options above aren’t interesting, there is still lots of ways to get involved with campus life especially with volunteering. This part of campus is heavily integrated into the cardinal community as there are plenty of days of service and even the Engage Lead Serve Board (ELSB) which offers service opportunities.

According louisville.edu, some things that students can do to volunteer is do a day of service such as MLK Day of Service, be a classroom note taker to help students with disabilities, become a Resident Assistant (RA) for campus housing or apply to be a Campus Tour Guide.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

The post There’s plenty of ways to get involved in campus life appeared first on The Louisville Cardinal.

Students help the community at the MLK Day of Service Tuesday, Jan 28 2020 

By Zoe Watkins–

This past Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. day, and while many people spent it as a three-day weekend, many others spent it celebrating the dream of the leader of the civil rights movement.

The Engage Lead Serve Board (ELSB) held their annual MLK Day of Service in Schneider Hall. Seniors Alex Elias and Alisha Deshmukh, directors of Training and Leadership, organized the event.

The event has been around since 1994 where students come together to give back to the community through the organizations that attended the event.

“Today is a service event for Martin Luther King Day. A lot of time, people just take it as a day off and just added to it, but we believe it should be a day on because his legacy speaks towards helping others and service. We want to encourage that in our students,” Deshmukh said.

Even though the MLK Day of Service has not been around for long, the event has drastically changed over the decades.

“I think over the years it has gotten bigger. We’ve just been adding more and more service sites and more opportunities. I’d say its kind of grown and its impact has spread. We’ve had members of the community coming out,” Deshmukh said.

There was also free food and t-shirts provided to volunteers along with guest speaker Adria Johnson, from the Metro United Way, who held a speech before students and community members boarded the buses to go to their respective sites.

Even with the day being cold and snowy, it didn’t stop students from volunteering that day.

SGA Services Vice President Lydia Burns has attended the event all throughout her college career and decided to help at the Cardinal Cupboard this year.

“I think that the MLK Day of Service is a great way to get out of your dorm, normally on a cold Monday, but just a way to celebrate the spirit of MLK. Thinking about how we get this day off, but it’s not necessarily for ourselves. It’s to celebrate MLK and all the awesome things he did, and I think there’s not better way to do that than to serve our community,” Burns said.

In the past, Burns, now a senior, has volunteered at La Cacina and the Garden Commons.

“I think that it is awesome that U of L has these opportunities for the community to come together and work for a common purpose and accomplish something that’s really good for the community not only for U of L,” Burns said. “Obviously it’s helpful to U of L to have this free labor, but it’s also for the community to see that U of L students care about their nonprofit organizations and they care about the work they do and they want to show their support.”

As for this year, there were many service sites including; Harbor House, U of L composting, the Food Literacy Project, and Americana Word Community Center where students who attended the event could sign up to help. With many students joining in and volunteering, there was an equal amount of service sites for them to choose from.

One such site was the Louisville Dream Factory whose site leader is graduate student Samantha Lamar. The organization helps dreams become reality for kids who are chronically or critically ill and help them out with dealing with their illness in anyway possible.

Even though this was their first year at the MLK Day of Service, Lamar and the Louisville Dream Factory attended SOUL which was another volunteering event held by the ELSB last year in early August.

“Everyone’s been really excited to be here and it’s snowing outside, but people are still showing up to do service which I think is really awesome. I haven’t done MLK Day here, but I did do SOUL and U of L students are awesome and really like to do service, so I think it’s going really well,” Lamar said.

There are still many opportunities for students to serve around the community which can be found under the “Get Involved” webpage on the U of L website, or another event coming up like MLK Day of Service will be SOUL that will be happening next fall semester during welcoming week.

Photo by Anthony Riley//THE LOUISVILLE CARDINAL

The post Students help the community at the MLK Day of Service appeared first on The Louisville Cardinal.

High voter engagement earns U of L a gold seal Friday, Nov 29 2019 

By Matthew Keck —

The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge awarded the University of Louisville a gold seal for its voter engagement. U of L increased its student voter rating to 49 percent in 2018, a 9.7 percent increase since 2014.

“We are excited to honor University of Louisville with an ALL IN Challenge gold seal in recognition of their intentional efforts to increase democratic engagement and full voter participation,” said Jennifer Domagal-Goldman, executive director of the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. “More institutions like U of L are changing the culture on campus by institutionalizing nonpartisan democratic engagement efforts that are resulting in the incredible student voter turnout rates that we’ve seen across the country.”

The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge is a national program which awards universities for increasing their student voter turnout. For universities to participate, they must assemble a diverse committee of faculty and staff and implement a plan of action.

U of L won a silver award last year, having 60 to 69 percent of students vote in the 2016 presidential election. They earned a gold seal for having 40 to 49 percent of students vote in the 2018 midterm elections.

“This is a great recognition, but it also shows us that there is still room to improve, since campuses with 50% or high voter participation receive a Platinum Seal,” said lead ambassador for Vote Everywhere, Wyn Garfinkle Plymesser. “This recognition is great because it validates all of the hard work that is put in to engaging voters on our campus, and it inspires us to continue our work and reach 50% or more voter participation.”

One of the reasons U of L achieved this gold seal was due to the Engage Lead Serve Board program, “Vote Everywhere,” which is a voting resource on campus. “The ELSB Program, Vote Everywhere, focused on being a resource to register and update registration, and also educate voters and answer any questions they may have,” said Plymesser. “U of L also has a large absentee voter population, so Vote Everywhere, in collaboration with SGA, hosted an absentee ballot Mail-In Party to allow students to send in their absentee ballots for free.”

Plymesser said that with the collaboration between administrators and student-led groups, U of L can increase its voter engagement efforts. “If we can continue registering voters at campus-wide events, we will be able to make sure everyone is informed about the election,” she said.

U of L was one of three universities in the state to receive a gold seal this year. The other two universities were Midway College and Northern Kentucky University.

The post High voter engagement earns U of L a gold seal appeared first on The Louisville Cardinal.

Porter Scholars accept donations for homeless at Thanksgiving dinner Monday, Nov 25 2019 

By Jordan Geisler —

The University of Louisville’s Porter Scholars group gathered Nov. 21 to throw their seventh annual Thanksgiving dinner. The group collected winter accessories for the homeless community in Louisville as part of the event.

The Engage Lead Serve Board (ELSB) partnered with the Porter Scholars to serve dinner for a multitude of students both within and outside of the Porter Scholars organization. Leondra Gully, the advisor for the Porter Scholars, has been a part of their annual Thanksgiving dinner since its fruition in 2013, and she’s seen it serve a wide array of people in the community while also having an impact on students.

Gully said, “We can still come together, have fun, and have a social piece, but also incorporate some sort of service in giving back to the community. You don’t have to be rich, you don’t have to be of a certain status, and you don’t have to look a certain way; anybody can benefit from giving back.”

Gully said a big part of starting the Thanksgiving dinner was not only so that people could get together before leaving campus for the holidays, but also so people who weren’t able to travel home for Thanksgiving would have a place to go for a good dinner.

“Some people don’t get to go home for Thanksgiving,” said Jalena Slaton, the vice president of the Porter Scholars. “So this is as close to family as they get, whether it be with the Porter community or just the campus community as a whole.”

Taris Smith, the president of the Porter Scholars and board member of ELSB, worked to get the sock company Bombas to donate 2,000 pairs of socks to help give out to the homeless community. They also received donations from U of L’s School of Dentistry such as toothbrushes and toothpastes to put in care boxes. “Our goal is at least 100 care packages. Every year we try to accommodate more people and do a bigger service aspect,” Smith said.

As far as the dinner itself goes, local restaurants like Boss Hog’s BBQ and Lucretia’s Kitchen served food that included turkey, chicken, dressing, green beans and stuffing.

Donations for the winter accessories drive will continue through December. Goods such as scarves and mittens can be dropped off in bins dispersed around campus.

Photo by Jordan Geisler // The Louisville Cardinal 

The post Porter Scholars accept donations for homeless at Thanksgiving dinner appeared first on The Louisville Cardinal.

ELSB helps students adopt their four-legged study buddy Friday, Oct 4 2019 

By Cassidy Craig — 

The University of Louisville’s Engage Lead Serve Board (ELSB) hosted an informative tabling event on animal colleagues in college on Sept. 26.

The event brought in numerous organizations that offered various resources ranging from learning about the adoption process from Fat Heads Rescue to university classes offered about the loyal companions by Professor Dave Simpson.

While there are many benefits of having a furry friend in college, there are also responsibilities that come with pets to consider.

When it comes to adopting, time is a major thing to consider, according to Catie Hofmeister, the ELSB animal welfare director.

Every student has a different and likely busy schedule, so students must be ready for the time commitment with heavy consideration of their personal schedule.

This makes having any pet like a dog or a cat very difficult to have while living in the dorms.

But when one is able to adopt, there are many benefits.

“The constant companionship. There have been so many times where I needed love and support, and I wished that I had my family with me, but my dog has sort of taken their place,” said Molly Holt, a second-year education major.

In addition, just petting a dog can lower blood pressure and help alleviate depression, according to a study done by the University of South Carolina.

Louisville has many organizations to aide in the adoption process like Fat Heads Rescue, Animal House Adoption Center and Louisville Metro Animal Services.

Graphic by Alexis Simon / The Louisville Cardinal 

The post ELSB helps students adopt their four-legged study buddy appeared first on The Louisville Cardinal.

Students learn the cost of a vote is different for everyone Wednesday, Sep 25 2019 

By Madelynn Bland —

The Women’s Center hosted an educational event in the Red Barn to both celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and to educate on the women’s suffrage movement.
Jamieca Jones, a Program Coordinator with the U of L Women’s Center talked about how there are still difficulties voting today.
“There are still people to this very day who are facing barriers to voting. We will talk a bit about the suffrage history here in Louisville and nationally but I really wanted to branch out and say ‘Hey, what is the cost of a vote to you’ because sometimes it costs more for others,” she said.
Representatives of many cultures and groups that still have barriers when it comes to election day educated the audience about their struggles.
Former professor Shameka Parrish-Wright said Kentucky has the most incarcerated women in the United States and yet has some of the hardest processes to get people voting again once they’re out of the system.
They also spoke on the many issues Latinx people face when voting like language barriers and a lack of translators and their ID’s being rejected.
Finn Depriest, a work study student for the Women’s Center, said the seminar’s purpose was to broaden people’s understanding that the 19th amendment doesn’t encompass all women. On such a diverse campus, it is especially important for all students to realize the large amount of groups that still struggle to vote.
The Engage Lead Serve Board will be hosting more events through September with the hope that more women, and students in general, will understand the power of their vote and will make their voices heard loud and clear in the upcoming elections.

Graphic by Alexis Simon / The Louisville Cardinal

The post Students learn the cost of a vote is different for everyone appeared first on The Louisville Cardinal.