Active Citizens Conference at William and Mary

March 20, 2014

The Active Citizens Conference was a wonderful learning experience where I was encouraged to think critically about service and help diagnose some of the most pressing issue surrounding service and the community.  The theme of the conference was Educating, Uniting & Inspiring Active Citizens and I have to say they accomplished all of those goals. I attended several workshops educating me on the pros and cons of service and emphasizing the thoughtfulness required to serve effectively. If you march into a project with good intentions but do not make sure you are spending resources wisely and research the effects of what is happening good intentions turn bad very quickly.

The keynote speaker Gemma Bulos inspired me to strive for my goals no matter what adversity I faced. Her story of traveling the world with a song and a goal to create a million voices choir inspired me. The idea behind her million voices choir was that one person is just a drop in the water, but it only takes one drop to make a ripple. Her song became about getting clean water to all the dry and desperate areas of the world.  Even though this wasn’t her intention she continued to serve the purpose. She realized she had a real passion for helping others and put herself there to meet the needs of others. I was awestruck by her determination. When I spoke to her after her presentation about it she told me what kept her going was finding hope even in defeat even in desperation.  It was very refreshing to see someone who thrived off of seeing others happy and that is why she served.

I think that while analyzing service it is easy to forget about the reason we do it. Service is for others. That is such a simple reminder but I feel it is so important to be said. Service is help to the needy. When we see the impact of our service we should be rejoicing! It is important to look at service critically and make sure it is done correctly, but let us not lose our passion and our drive that keeps us going in doing so. The reason we analyze service and make it the best it can possible be with the smallest of resource is for others. We as a service community are united to helping others. We are united to making sure we help others in a sustainable way they want to be helped.

I have much hope for the future of service and it’s ability to solve many of the issues of today and the future. It is safe to say I was educated, inspired, and am on my way to becoming an active citizen.

-Michael Galfetti

Feb. 20th, 2014

Left to Right: Kalia Harris, Macey Garner, Patrick Finney, Patricia Mathison, and Michael Galfetti

Left to Right: Kalia Harris, Macey Garner, Patrick Finney, Patricia Mathison, and Michael Galfetti following their conference presentation of The Rose that Grew from Concrete


May 16, 2013

As the school year draws to a close, I have been thinking about all of the important lessons that I have learned.  Perhaps the most important lesson I learned from our LLC class this year is that there is no single definition of a leader.  A leader can be quiet or loud, soft spoken or talkative, it doesn’t matter as long as they inspire positive change.  Anyone can become a leader and contrary to popular belief, I don’t think one has to be overbearing to accomplish their leadership goals.  I think that leadership is about inspiring others and creating positive change.  I think the best leaders selflessly inspire others!  I am so grateful to have met so many wonderful leaders this year!

Bossy ?

April 30, 2013



So it isn’t my turn to blog but I thought this picture was really interesting and I was hoping I could spark some conversation! So what do you guess thing? How does this make you feel? Do you like it or believe it? Why or why no?

Saying Goodbye…for Now

April 29, 2013

I’m sort of weird. I kind of enjoy goodbyes. I can be a super emotional person and I appreciate the opportunity goodbyes give me to express how much I love and appreciate a person. People don’t always listen to my emotional “I love you”s until they understand how genuine I am…and goodbyes are that time when they listen, they understand. It’s a sweet time that isn’t always provided for in day-to-day life.
This year I’ve gotten super involved with the international community on campus…something that has truly made my experience at Mason thus far and blessed me beyond what I’d ever expected! Beginning my involvement with English Corner, however, I hadn’t really thought much about the fact that most international students are here for just a semester. Before I knew it, I’d become best friends with a guy from Taiwan who is leaving in less than two weeks. It’s a scary thing to realize that I might not see him again…this is one my hardest and sweetest goodbyes yet.
In these last 2 weeks, I am trying to enjoy every last moment, to cherish this time with my friends, to hold on to these memories that I never want to forget. Less sarcasm, more heart-to-heart conversations. Hanging out just for the sake of hanging out, not caring where we go or what we do, as long as we’re together. More pictures to help me cling to these memories forever…
My prayer is that these goodbyes will not be for forever, but if not I’m learning to have peace in the middle of this season of goodbyes.

Butter Dance

April 25, 2013

This is Melati Suryodarmo, an Indonesian artist who’s ideas are a little more than abstract. This video above is one of her many performances, ultimately designed to explore the relationship found between the human body in terms of the culture in which it belongs and the constellation in which it lives.

But why did I put this on a leadership blog?

I couldn’t help but feel a weird mix of emotions as I watched the video. Beginning with some simple curiosity, quickly escalated to laughter, but then I just couldn’t look away, no matter how many times she fell. I just didn’t understand. The only logic I could apply was that this is what she was passionate about. This is what she felt was the best thing she could do with her time.

I’m beginning to feel like our generation really discourages this kind of stuff. Sure, we’re all about the individual, but when it comes down to it, we’re really all still just trying to fit in somewhere. And as a result I think we lose our passion somewhere along the way. That’s a scary thought.

I find in myself that I’m often scared to express what I’m truly passionate about. Doesn’t make much sense does it? People all over campus are standing up and (literally) shouting about what they’re passionate about. I’m not saying we all need to stand in the middle of North Plaza on a soap box. But really, passion and purpose go hand in hand. Why wouldn’t we be pursuing what we’re passionate about every day of our lives?

So whether it’s dancing on butter or maybe just being the person you’ve always wanted to be. Go do it.

Teamwork Collage

April 21, 2013



The ideas connected to this collage is that you have to come together and work as a team in order to complete a task.  It is the main objective of every group.It is just like like walking. If all of the muscles didn’t work together then you would fall and not be able to get up. When your muscles work together amazing things can happen. Just like in real life…If you can’t work together at all then you will not be able to complete anything. Teamwork is truly the key to all success.

Not Cool Robert Frost

April 19, 2013

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference”

We’re at the point in our lives where we’re making more decisions now more than ever before. We’re faced with a million decisions a day ranging from whether or not we decide to get out of bed, go to class – which aren’t always the easiest –  to what we want to do for the rest of our lives. These choices, regardless of how easy or difficult some of them may be, are all dictating our future in one way or another. It’s hard to see 10 years down the road when we can hardly see past the end of the week.

But that’s probably enough discouragement for one blog post.

There’s two sides to every coin. The weight of each of these choices also gives us the ability to decide who we want to be. Never have we ever had so much independence to be exactly who we want to be. Why not go after it? Why not start right now? Why wouldn’t you be the person you’ve always wanted to be?

If Kid President wasn’t inspirational enough, I suggest you take a listen to this song.

“If you’re loved by someone you’re never rejected, decide what to be and go be it”

Challenge Accepted?

April 15, 2013


In my RA class we had to go to two cultural events that were OUT OF OUR COMFORT ZONE. When I speak going ‘out of your comfort zone’ then I mean it. Most people think that they are culturally tolerant, but they participate with different cultures that fits them or are similar and not too different for them to handle. However, my RA class encouraged us to find an organization or religious event that is the opposite of our culture or belief to participate in.

I chose to go to a club event for Young Life, which a Christian based youth group that would conflict with my Islamic faith. However, I LOVED IT! I am not going to lie that I didn’t feel weird for a second, but I encourage everyone to choose an opposite religion to understand another mindset. My roommate Cameron was so encouraging and welcomed my with her friends at Young Life. You would have thought that we are opposite in our faith, but we actually found things we shared.  Most of the time one can find similarities. Now that I have participated in Young Life ONCE, I have gained great friends that still want to remain in contact, even though I remain Muslim.

This experience gave me a new perspective. I can remain strong in my faith, but can stand in a church knowing that people still welcome me. The world just needs to be more tolerant of each other because I just see people argue how right they are and how they must prevail. Why not just let everyone be? Let everyone have their religion, culture, language, sexual orientation! The world would be a better place where everyone would work towards being part of each others’ cultures and lives rather than destroying it and distancing ourselves from one another.

Therefore I CHALLENGE you to do something WAY OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE and to tell me your experience (:

Comment if you have ever gone out of your way to understand something super different.

5 Characteristics of Being an Effective Leader

April 15, 2013


Obviously, there are more characteristics than five that contribute one to being an effective leader. However, I believe these characteristics are vital to being a leader that people would want to follow. Here they are:

1. Lead by Example

“Do what has to be done. Do it when it has to be done. Do it as well as you can. Do it this way all of the time.”

Follow the Golden Rule and don’t be a HYPOCRITE because no one will be lead by a person who does not lead by example. It is important to remain constant and reliable for one’s followers.

2. Learn from your Mistakes

“Success comes from good decisions. Good decisions come from experience. Experience comes from bad decisions.”

We are humans and make mistakes. No one is perfect, but out of our mistakes, something good has to come out of it. Turn it around and see what you can do better next time and maybe even use that to your advantage.

3. Put Others’ Needs First

“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Showing that you sincerely care makes all the difference! A leader arises when he or she believes that a group of people needs help and they are passionate about leading them to their goals and dreams. A leader with no passion or care might as well forget about people wanting to put their faith and trust in him or her. Also, corrupt leaders put their needs first, but that is not true leadership. Leadership is meant to serve others and not one self!

4. Have Confidence

“Don’t ever take a shot you aren’t confident you are going to make.”

Everything you do must be done with full confidence. If you doubt yourself, no one will believe in your capabilities.

5. Set a High Standard

“It is a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you often get it.”

If you have low standards, your outcome will be even lower. If you have high standards, your product will reach it closely or even go above and beyond of what one expected.

No matter what leadership position one takes, from being a basketball player, a politician to a manager at McDonald’s, it is important to possess these traits. Then and only then one can truly be a productive and effective leader that people would want to look up to and follow.

What other characteristics would you want to add?



Clicktivism: Effective or Not?

April 15, 2013




Being leaders of the 21st Century, there are so many ways for us to bring change. The world of technological advancement enables us to explore in so many ways to bring real change. Online petitions currently are a great hit with the youth and our generation. Many websites, such as,, and not to forget one of the most popular sites for students, have reached high numbers of online signatures over the past few years. The reason being is that it’s more accessible, quick and convenient for not only the younger generation, but also the older generation that wants to explore new ways of doing things.

However, some critics say that online petitions have no value and make no difference. They are just there and have no audience from the government. According to Andy Levy-Ajzenkopf on his blog (which can be found here: charity village), online petitions in Canada are not even seen by the government. They do not accept non-written petitions and must have hard copy documentations of all the signatures.

This can’t be said about the United States, where the web world has taken its great turn of impacting policies. Google and Wikpedia according to the Washington Post have aquired more than 4.5 MILLION online petitions, which one of them was signed even by me, to take a stand on the SOPA legislation that wanted to be passed to have internet censorship, which many felt violated their rights and freedom. This made a huge impact and resulted in 300,000 emails that were send to Congress men and women. The bill was fortunately pulled by Congress due to all the critics and online petitioning had its great impact.

Therefore, one has to ask what new ways the internet world can effect our policing world. However, one has to consider the big names, such as google and wikipedia, who have put the petition on their site, where thousands of people log on to daily or even hourly. Technology and the advancement of today never fails to amaze me.

What do you think?

Is it effective or not?

What can be done better?

Where can it be implemented or not?