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UDR RECOGNITION PRIZE WINNERS NOVEMBER 2014

We were impressed with all our applications for our first UDR Recognition Prize and have selected two winners:

Teresa Fong, East Asian Studies

In preparation for Fall Preview Day on October 12 from 12:15pm to 3:00pm, Teresa worked with the Japanese Department, which sponsored yukatas for students to wear. Two Japanese instructors arrived early to dress three students, including Teresa, in yukatas for prospective students to see and “experience” Japanese culture. The process of wearing a yukata requires a license in Japan, meaning it requires training, time and concentration. After approximately an hour of preparation, the students walked out with the professors in colorful, bright yukatas that matched the fall colors. The yukatas were a terrific way to quickly attract and inform prospective students, their parents, fellow students, and alumni about our department. The traditional clothing also gave the audience easy entre to conversations about the East Asian Studies program and its curriculum.

Teresa worked with the same team to host Japanese students from Chuo University on October 8 from 11:00am to 5:30pm. Students come to Brandeis from Chuo University annually to present on a topic related to Japan. This year, due to Teresa’s efforts to advertise the event, an unusually large number of Brandeis students (approximately 40) attended the presentation on Japanese collectivism and individualism. Before the Chuo students arrived, Teresa also met for two hours with the staff and faculty involved to ensure that the tour schedules, lunch schedules, room reservation, and advertisement were set. That weekend, Teresa created the advertisement for this event and continued preparations for the Chuo students’ campus tour in Japanese!

From 11:00am to 12:30pm, Teresa and other Brandeis tour leaders showed the Japanese students the highlights of our Brandeis campus.  To promote friendship, Japanese and English were spoken and often mixed to facilitate conversation. Approximately 50 students attended the lunch following the tour, and the conversations continued.  After lunch, Teresa led the Chuo and Brandeis students on a smaller, informal tour of Brandeis.  At 3:30pm, the Chuo students presented, and the day ended at 5:30pm when Teresa walked the visiting students back to the commuter rail to return to Boston.

In addition to playing a key role in these two events, Teresa has also innovated by inviting potential student leaders and retired student leaders to events for the East Asian Studies program to create a “circle of knowledge” to be passed down. For example, for Fall Preview Day, Teresa invited a sophomore who is currently in the Japanese Student Association (JSA) and a senior who was in the Japanese Student Association. This sophomore is the treasurer of JSA and the senior was the past president of JSA. As Teresa was also on the Finance Board for two years, she could mentor the new JSA Treasurer.  Teresa is also a Study Abroad Ambassador; and as the same student is currently applying to study in Japan, Teresa is also able to mentor her about her travel plans.  Teresa especially enjoys the discovery that East Asian Studies and other Brandeis programs are not isolated but connected, and she sees her UDR role as a way to connect people to each other.  She encourages all students to seek out potential leaders and offer to mentor them to become leaders in various roles at Brandeis.

Flora Wang, HSSP

Flora (Yuan) Wang organized a Sophomore Majors Fair in the Castle Commons on September 3rd from 7-9pm.  She invited the support of the Community Advisors (CAs) of sophomore residence halls, as well as Castle, Rosenthal and professional staff from the Department of Community Living. UDRs were also invited to support this event. All involved helped to advertise the Sophomore Majors Fair in all sophomore residence halls with traditional flyers and emails directed to sophomores. Approximately 30 different UDRs from many majors and minors came to speak with students. Over 100 students attended. Whether the sophomores stayed for five minutes or 50, they gained crucial information and commented on how attractive it was to have such valuable academic resources available in their living space. They also enjoyed the wonderfully relaxed atmosphere.

Flora is convinced that the two keys to the success of the Sophomore Majors Fair were first, the huge variety of resources made available and second, that the event took place in a convenient and comfortable space. The event met the needs of sophomores who frequently wish to explore a variety of majors and to talk to multiple people in person without having to contact them all through email. Another unique aspect of the event is that it specifically targeted sophomores. First year students get a lot of academic support but many crucial decisions, such as major declaration and class selection, are made at the start of sophomore year when the Majors Fair took place.