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The following was submitted by Brandon M. Chiwaya (Murphy Institute ’13):  

After graduating from SPS in June, I reached out to Tanya Fields for a bit of career advice. Tanya (who you may remember from my last blog post was the commencement speaker at the spring 2013 SPS graduation ceremony) is the executive director of The BLK ProjeK, a food justice and community development organization in the South Bronx. About a week or two after graduation I sat down with Tanya over a cup of coffee to talk about strategies for career planning. As the conversation gradually shifted toward The BLK ProjeK, Tanya mentioned she was extremely busy planning the upcoming launch of The South Bronx Mobile Market, her latest project. In fact the project was growing so fast she was looking to bring someone new onboard to help mitigate the workload. Tanya floated a proposal to me to come work with her, to which I quickly accepted.

Tanya Fields Mobile Market With Brandon

Since the beginning of the summer, the launching of the South Bronx Mobile Market (SBMM) has been the main focus of the organization. The SBMM is a former school bus, which has been repainted (in a cool paint scheme) and converted to run on used vegetable oil. When fully operational, the SBMM will supply the neighborhoods of the South Bronx with fresh, organic, and locally grown Hudson Valley produce.

New York state’s 16th congressional district, which encompasses the South Bronx, was ranked number one in the 2011-2012 Food Hardship Poll and is the poorest of the 436 congressional districts in the United States. Combined with an over abundance of fast food and take out establishments, area residents rank among the nation’s highest in health related problems due to poor food nutrition. This makes the work of The BLK ProjeK, and the SBMM all the more vital to the local community.

I hit the ground running on my first day at The BLK ProjeK. With the launch of the mobile market only a few weeks away, there was no time to waste. Creating a community needs assessment and survey to help understand the local attitudes toward healthy eating was my first assignment. Feeling a bit unsure where to start with such a task and halfway freaking out, I quickly reached out to a few of my former SPS professors for help. Professor Michael McNeil who teaches Research Methods and Professor Basil Smikle, Jr., who teaches Policy Analysis, were both willing to help out and give me some advice. Throughout this initial phase, it was incredible to know I was using skills and knowledge I’d acquired at SPS a few months ago in a practical application. In a matter of months I’d gone from sitting in Professor McNeil’s 6pm Thursday night class, wondering to myself, “when will I ever need to know about survey sets?” to creating my own. I’d gone from writing abstract policy papers in Professor Smikle’s class to drafting real research reports.

In addition to the mobile market, Tanya and The BLK ProjeK, have been working hard to turn a few vacant lots owned by New York City into urban gardens. Community organizing at this level presents its own share of obstacles. Canvassing neighborhoods, conducting bus tours, and holding community meetings requires an enormous amount of time and manpower. To help support the continued development of The BLK ProjeK, we will be hosting a fundraiser tonight, Thursday, September 5, at the Brook Park Community Garden. For more information about this event please visit: http://theblkprojek.ticketleap.com/an-evening-with-the-bus/.

Tanya Fields BLK ProjeK

To find out more about The BLK ProjeK or ways you can get involved and support our work, please contact us at info@theblkprojek.org or call us at 718.635.0951, and the next time you find yourself in the South Bronx be sure to keep a look out for the colorful school bus.

Brandon M. Chiwaya studied Public Administration and Public Policy at the Murphy Institute, and is a class of 2013 CUNY SPS graduate. While in school, he was a member of the 2013-2014 Technology Budget Fee Committee, and was awarded the CUNY Vice Chancellor’s Excellence in Leadership Award. He is currently a Research Analyst with The BLK-ProjeK

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The following message is posted on behalf of David Mordkofsky, SPS student in the Project Management (PROM 210) course.


Hello SPS Community!

We wanted to let you know that a group of SPS students will be taking part in a worthy event on Oct 21st, and we invite you to join us!

Team Busibodies, David Mordkofsky

As part of a class assignment for Project Management (PROM 210) CUNY School of Professional Studies, our team of 6 students (Ayanna Cassanova, Tenaya Randolph, Jennifer Pagaduan, Marco Vasquez, Debra Daniel-Sealey, and David Mordkofsky), have decided to participate in the 2012 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk/Run, in association with the American Cancer Society. The event will take place on Sunday, October 21st 2012 at 8:30AM in Central Park, NYC.

As part of the course curriculum, we needed to choose a project to manage. Our team decided to take part in a “real” fundraising project where we could help to make a difference in our community, and felt that Making Strides was the perfect choice. We call ourselves Team Busibodies!

Team Busibodies would like to invite you, (CUNY students and facility members) to join us on Oct 21stand walk with us! Friends and family members are also welcome! This is a great opportunity to help support a worthy cause, showing support for CUNY SPS and the American Cancer Society.

Team Busibodies, Ayanna Cassanova

I welcome everyone to visit our team’s home page on the Making Strides website. From here, anyone can view our mission, track our progress, read our personal stories, and make a donation.

There is no cost to walk with us, although we welcome donations, and encourage you to ask your friends and family members to help support you.

We will even provide free Busibodies t-shirts and water (while supplies last).

The Making Strides for Breast Cancer Walk/Run starts at 8:30am on Sunday, October 21, 2012.

Here is the detailed information:

1. Meet at 72nd Street and 5th Avenue at 7:30am (on the corner)

2. We will give out T-Shirts (while supplies last).

3. We will walk in together to the start (72nd Street Bandshell)

Directions – 6 train to 77th Street & Lexington Avenue. From there you would need to walk to 72nd & 5th Avenue. This is the closest train to the park entrance.

If you would like more information, please email David Mordkofsky.

Thank you!
Team Busibodies

Team Busibodies, Tenaya Randolph

Why We are Making Strides:

We are participating in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event because we, along with most people, have been touched or have been affected by breast cancer in some way. As a team, we know that we can, and will make a difference in the fight to end breast cancer.

This cause is personal to us. Some of us have lost loved ones–friends and/or family members–some having not even reached the age we are today.

We look forward to days of better treatments and lasting cures. As a team, we believe we can help get there. We aim to inspire hope, and to help raise awareness. The awareness we hope to bring about deals not only with how important fundraising efforts are in reaching a cure, but also relates to the importance of preventative measures, helping to stop this deadly disease in its tracks.

We are also walking to honor breast cancer survivors, and let them know we stand with them in their fight.

We thank you, and invite you to join us!

Who are We Making Strides For:

We walk for our sons and daughters, parents, grandparents, friends, and all loved ones we know who have been or might be affected by this deadly disease.

Team Busibodies, Jennifer Pagaduan

Why We Support the American Cancer Society:

Today 1 of every 2 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer reaches out to the American Cancer Society for help and support. The donations our team raises will enable investment in groundbreaking breast cancer research, free information and services for women diagnosed with the disease, and access to mammograms for women who need them. Our donations will help more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors celebrate another birthday this year!

Saving lives from breast cancer starts one team, one walker, and one dollar at a time. We know that the American Cancer Society is the leader in the fight to end breast cancer. We know that supporting them will ensure that if you need someone to talk to anytime of the day or night, they’ll be there. If your friend is losing her hair from chemo, your mother needs a ride to treatment or a loved one needs a place to stay when treatment is far from home, they will be there to help.

Please join us and together we will walk for a world without breast cancer.

Dear SPS Community,

As we inaugurate the 2012-13 academic year at the CUNY School of Professional Studies (SPS), in addition to celebrating new beginnings, we are also very proud to mark the 10th anniversary of SPS. As a member of the SPS community, you are vital to our growth and success, and I deeply appreciate your ongoing commitment to our School.

In the last year alone, we have continued our tradition of consistently enhancing the opportunities we offer our students by:

  • Graduating over 300 students in June 2012.
  • Launching three new degree programs: an online B.A. in Disability Studies, an online M.S. in Information Systems/Data Analysis, and an in-person M.A. in Urban Studies. Other programs are also in development.
  • Awarding scholarships from a third scholarship fund, The Stephen M. Rossen Scholarship Fund. This fund now joins the Founding Dean’s Scholarship and Bob Martin Scholarship, allowing more students to receive support they need.
  • Formally launching the SPS Foundation.
  • Beginning preparatory work on the future home of SPS at 119 W. 31st Street.
  • Updating the SPS website at sps.cuny.edu.

Your support is critical to our continued growth — your contribution will allow us to continue to develop new degree, certificate, and training programs; attract and support a diverse student body; recruit and retain world-class faculty; and, perhaps most importantly, expand the number of scholarships we award to students. We have already seen that number of scholarships grow in the past year.

To make a gift, please complete the enclosed form and return it via traditional mail. Contributions can also be made online by clicking here. While considering your contribution to SPS this year, please remember that every gift, regardless of size, matters.

On behalf of our School and our students, thank you in advance for your support.

Sincerely,

John Mogulescu
Dean, CUNY School of Professional Studies

John Mogulescu is the Senior University Dean for Academic Affairs and the Dean of the CUNY School of Professional Studies, and his responsibilities involve him in many different aspects of the University’s academic life. In addition to SPS, Dean Mogulescu has overseen collaborative programs between CUNY and the NYC Public Schools, CUNY Prep Transitional High School, the CUNY Language Immersion Program, CUNY Start, and the Adult Literacy and GED Preparation Programs. Dean Mogulescu also supervises the University’s Workforce Development Initiative, special training initiatives for City and State workers, and programs for welfare recipients, in addition to Adult and Continuing Education at CUNY and its non-credit programs, which serve over 250,000 students per year.

With the start of the Fall 2012 semester this week, those of us who took the summer off are quickly reminded of the juggling we will need to do in order to maintain our family responsibilities and jobs. Schedules need to be re-arranged, social outings declined or cancelled, and sometimes we have to ask others for help. I’ve already had to ask my brother to spend time with Athena, my daughter’s Chihuahua, because we are both keeping long days with work and school, and in my case, training for the marathon too.

Asking for help has become a new talent of mine. It is how I have been able to raise over $2,500 for the American Cancer Society and how reaching the goal of $3,500 is attainable. Since the CUNY School of Professional Studies has an opportunity to fundraise for Komen’s Race for the Cure, I thought it would be fun to share a few of my fundraising secrets that have made “asking for help” a lot easier than it sounds.

Social media has been my number one source for donations. Using Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Google+, LinkedIn and blogging, I make the opportunity available to many potential donors. I engage my audience of friends, family and colleagues by making meaningful posts about my progress, set-backs, victories and challenges. I invite others to comment, share, and get involved. I offer opportunities to support me with either financial support, moral support—or both.

One of the most engaging tools I’ve used is MapMyRun. While running, it tracks me and my friends can watch me live on the app. (Feel free to add me if you use MapMyRun, user name: xahndra.) One of the coolest features with MapMyRun is that when my run is complete, it posts a map and a custom message with my mapped run. I set the program so that it will automatically post to Facebook and Twitter after my run with a link to my fundraising page. My online community sees that I am doing the work and that their funds mean something to me. (It also socially holds me responsible to stick with my program and training days… Win Win!)

I try to think of gimmicks and mini-goals. For example, the hashtag on Twitter, #FF stands for FollowFriday. Many Twitter users actually search for that hashtag to see what fun people to follow on Fridays. Also, people pay attention to the #FF in their Twitter feed. So, I made #FF stand for something else. FUNDRAISING FRIDAY!

Fundraising Friday works best when you have some sort of mini-goal associated with it. For example, a few Frundraising Friday’s ago, I was very close to the 50% mark. I needed just a hundred dollars or so. By the time #FF Fundraising Friday was almost over, I needed just $19.25 to hit 50%. I sent out a tweet and status update requesting that amount and instead I received two more $25 donations pushing me well over 50% of my goal. It’s fun because now some of my teammates are using #FF Fundraising Friday and having success as well. Try using #FF this Friday as a member of the CUNY SPS team for Komen’s Race for the Cure. Let me know if it worked for you too!

In all my tweets and updates through social media, I try to engage others. If I can get a well known handle to retweet me or donate their status update for me, it’s a good day for my awareness. I always tag organizations on Facebook and Twitter. I’ve actually been retweeted by authors, sporting good stores, and the American Cancer Society. When this happens, it’s a great day for my awareness campaign! I’ve even asked for a status updates and tweet donations from my friends and followers. It’s really helped me reach the friends of my friends. In the last 3 months, I’ve actually doubled my number of Twitter followers. This will really help me for the next time around.

Outside of social media, I write bi-monthly email updates to all my contributors, family, friends and colleagues. This keeps them engaged and aware of the huge impact they’ve made in my life and reminds them of the good cause they have contributed to. I write updates to the blog on my fundraising page regularly, reporting my progress and milestones. I’ve held two happy hour fundraisers with friends and colleagues and I plan on doing a bake sale in the office. There really are so many little things that a #CharityRunner could do to raise big money without costing too much time.

So, here’s my personal challenge to the CUNY SPS community. As a team, let’s try to raise some serious cash for the Susan G. Komen #RaceForTheCure! So far we have 17 team members. If each of us raised $100, we would be making a huge impact with $1,700 raised as a team. That’s almost half of what I am raising on my own for the American Cancer Society. Can we do it? I think we can! To join our team and efforts, please visit http://bit.ly/CUNYSPS.

Alexandra Hertel is an Ohioan living in Brooklyn, New York. She attends CUNY’s School of Professional Studies and works full-time in the events industry.

Wow! The last few weeks have flown by, and I’m happy to say that I’ve kept up my training schedule for the Run for the Wild, despite the fact that it feels like we’ve traded NYC for Seattle. For those keeping track with me, I’m now in my fourth week, and have one more run for this week. So far, I’m feeling pretty good, though I’ve definitely noticed my right leg seems especially prone to shin splints when I don’t stretch out.

Lucky for me, I happen to work with colleagues who are more seasoned runners, so the other day I picked their brains about what I might do to ease my discomfort. Rachel Smith, an alum who is also a member of the Marketing team here at SPS, offered a particularly peculiar answer. “Use a rolling pin,” she said. “I know it sounds crazy, but roll it down the front of your shin and the back of your calf before and after you run, and you’ll feel better.”  I’ll admit, I was skeptical, but I looked online and saw that this was actually a pretty common recommendation among runners.

Sure enough, I went home that night, tried the rolling pin trick, and by the next morning, I was pleasantly surprised at how much better my shins felt. Now, two days after the fact and with another run under my belt, I’m feeling no pain whatsoever.  Guess there’s nothing like homegrown remedies!

I’m off to do another run tonight, and am using these guys as my inspiration at the end of a long day. If you’re training along with me, drop a line or two in the comments section at the top of the post, and let me know how you’re doing!

With one month to go, I’m feeling pretty good about the run. If you want to join the SPS team, visit www.wcsrunforthewild.org and sign up today! In addition to the run, you’ll also get free admission for the day to the New York Aquarium, two free rides at Luna Park, and lots of other entertainment! Be sure to use the RFTWCUNY discount code for $5 off registration!

Heather Zeman is the Events Manager at the CUNY School of Professional Studies, where she coordinates a wide variety of recruitment and special events. She’s currently planning a gorilla trek, to take place in Summer 2012.

Music is a big part of my life and I’ve found that listening to music when I work out really helps me to push myself when I’m tired or just don’t feel like doing anything.  That said, it’s sometimes tough to listen to the same music over and over again. Below are some of the songs that I’m enjoying training to these days (in no particular order).

Some of these have great rhythm for running, some are great for a cool down and a few just make me laugh with how over the top fun they are (I’m looking at you, Paul Stanley!).  Regardless of the tune, though, the overall incorporation of music helps me to finish my workout with a smile on my face.

Do you listen to music when you work out? What are some of the best tunes you’ve found?

Heather Zeman is the Events Manager at the CUNY School of Professional Studies, where she coordinates a wide variety of recruitment and special events. She’s currently planning a gorilla trek, to take place in Summer 2012.

First things first, and in the interest of full disclosure, I want to be clear about this… I’m not a runner.

Don’t get me wrong, I used to enjoy running when I was in shape to run…you know, back in high school.  Now that I’m no longer, shall we say, conditioned, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a bit nervous about this Run for the Wild.

I’ve had a couple of friends train for runs like this, though, and to a person, they’ve all raved about the Couch to 5K training program outlined on CoolRunning.com.  The program is an interval-based training schedule that allows you to build up your stamina and running ability over the course of 9 weeks. That gives just enough time to finish this training by October 6th, and have a few days to rest before the run on October 9th.

After a little bit of research, I found that there’s also an inexpensive ($2.99 on iTunes) Couch to 5K app that can be synced to my iPod so that I can train with my own music. There are also lots of free podcasts that can be downloaded with pre-programmed training cues and music; just Google “Couch to 5K podcast” and you’ll likely find something to match your tastes!

If you prefer to walk, you can also use similar training programs to build up to walking a 5K. A quick Google search found a host of options, including this plan from About.com, which also includes helpful tips at each stage and an event-day checklist.

I’m heading out for my first run tonight after work, on what I’m renaming my “Desk Chair to 5K” plan, and hope that some of you will be too!

Heather Zeman is the Events Manager at the CUNY School of Professional Studies, where she coordinates a wide variety of recruitment and special events. She’s currently planning a gorilla trek, to take place in Summer 2012.

By now, you may have heard that SPS is a sponsor for the upcoming WCS Run for the Wild, to be held on Sunday, October 9th, 2011 at the New York Aquarium in Coney Island, Brooklyn.  We’re hoping to build a good-sized team of students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends of SPS to participate in this 5K event, and build some great SPS spirit!

Participants can choose to run or walk at this event, which makes it accessible to a pretty wide audience, plus all participants get free admission the day of the event to the New York Aquarium.  If you’re interested in joining the SPS team, either as a runner or a walker, you can sign up at www.wcsrunforthewild.org. Make sure you join the CUNY School of Professional Studies team, and use the promo code RFTWCUNY to get $5 off your registration.

I’m choosing to run at this event, and will be blogging over the next few weeks about what I’m doing to prepare and how our team is shaping up as well as sharing behind the scenes details about the event itself.  I hope you’ll follow along and join us on October 9th for a fantastic day at the New York Aquarium!

Heather Zeman is the Events Manager at the CUNY School of Professional Studies, where she coordinates a wide variety of recruitment and special events. She’s currently planning a gorilla trek, to take place in Summer 2012.