Monday, April 3, 2017

La Republica Dominicana: MOVE's Service Trip to the Dominican Republic

Over Spring Break I had the opportunity to lead MOVE's Service Trip to the Dominican Republic or La República Dominicana. Every Spring Break MOVE sends a group of students and faculty down to the Dominican Republic to work with an organization called ADESJO in one of the many villages that they work with in the province of San Jose de Ocoa.
The whole St. Mike's crew with the members of ADESJO
This year we went to the small mountainous village of Los Corozos to help build a house for a family in the community. Luckily for me, this was the same village that I went to last year with MOVE so I was able to to see all of the wonderful people from last year. Los Corozos is a small farming village about 2 hours outside of the city of San Jose de Ocoa. These people mainly make a living off of farming and raising livestock but unfortunately times are tough down there thanks to a drought that the Dominican people have faced over the past few years.
One of the many farms in Los Corozos
The group that we brought down this year is the largest group, 13 students including myself, that we have ever brought down to the DR. The only other guys on the trip happened to be some of my teammates from the St. Mike's soccer team. Unlike the domestic service trips through MOVE, our group met every week from November until the week we left for the DR. During these meetings we would cover everything from basic Spanish phrases to what life is like in the Dominican.

Originally we were all supposed to fly out of Burlington together on Saturday March 11th but due to weather we had to split the group up into two groups, one flying out of Albany on Saturday and the next flying from Albany on Sunday the 12th. Our faculty leader Allison Cleary would take the first group on Saturday and I would take the second group on Sunday. This meant that I had to bring everyone through Customs and all that by myself.

Finally we met with ADESJO in the Santo Domingo airport before heading up to San Jose de Ocoa. The next day, my group work up, ate breakfast and jumped in the back of an ADESJO van and headed up to Los Corozos. Once we met up with the rest of our group we got settled in and then went off to the work site to get started on the house. Our first job was to dig out the foundation with pick axes and shovels. Unfortunately for me I am still suffering from my back injury so I was unable to do a lot of the hard work. There were days that I would go from house to house and help shell guandules beans with the families.
This is the village leader in Los Corozos Rafael 

Hanging out with the kids while waiting for a delivery of supplies

The "bromigos"hanging out on the worksite

Some of the group enjoying the view that our house for the week had to offer

When we weren't working we were playing with the kids of the village and then at night we would go and dance with everyone. The kids loved to play volleyball and a few times they set up a big net for us to play with. They also loved to play baseball and make bracelets so there was no shortage of things to do.

It was awesome to have the opportunity to go back to Los Corozos again this year. The relationships that I have formed with all of these people are some that I will always hold dear to me.
Aaron and I were able to enjoy a fresh coconut while enjoying the view in Santo Domingo before catching our flight back to the US.
I hope you enjoyed learning about my trip to the DR. If you want to hear more about my trip feel free to hit me up through email or one of my social media accounts. You can also get more information about the service trips in general does by checking MOVE out.

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A Typical Day in the Life of Chris Williamson

How I Live My Life: Spring 2017

Are you guys interested in seeing how a Business major and Media Studies, Digital Arts and Journalism minor lives there life???

Wake Up Call!!
I will usually get up between 8:30 and 9:30 each morning depending what day it is and if I have any homework left to do. Today I decided to get up around 9:30 so that I would have time to shower, get dressed and watch a little tv before class. During this time I decided to continue my research into programs and organizations that would allow me to work and travel in another part of the world after graduation. Some days I will go to Alliot for breakfast but more times than not I will just grab some fruit or a Cliff Bar at my house.

Class Time
Luckily for me, during my time in here at St. Mike's I somewhat intentionally set myself up so that I would be able to take only 3 classes this semester instead of the normal 4. What I did was I came into St. Mike's with a few credits thanks to a Dual Enrollment program that my high school had as well as taking a class or two over the summer through the Accelerated Summer Program that St. Mike's offers. You can either stay up on campus for for 6 weeks while taking classes or do a hybrid or online course, which is what I have done. The hybrid courses allow students to take these classes online with a few in class periods on campus to start the program.

This semester I have Business Finance on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 12:15 to 1:20. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I have my Intro to Philosophy class from 1:15 to 2:50 and then Global Communication from 3:00 until 4:30.

From the end of class until dinner
I use the time between my last class and dinner I will usually meet with a professor if I need help or I will go back to my house to hang out with my roommates or do a little homework. I will also use this time to go to different meetings for ShredMC, Senior Class Gift Committee or my DR trip with MOVE. Today I used this time to take my yearbook picture, fold laundry and watch the Mets Opening Day. Today was one of the first nice days in awhile so I also spent a little bit of time outside with my friends.

I will usually eat around 6:30 or 7:00 depending on when I get hungry. For the most part I will end up cooking something at my house but some nights I will go to Alliot for dinner with a bunch of friends.

From 7:30 until bed
I spend most of my time after dinner just relaxing with friends. I'll either go to a friends house or people will stop by here. If the Mets or the Rangers are playing you can almost always catch me watching those games in my room while finishing up some homework.

For the most part I will try to go to bed around 11:30 or 12 so I will just go to my room to watch some Netflix before falling asleep.

I hope you guys enjoyed listening about my typical day. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or check out my Instagram or SnapChat to get more of an inside look!

Instragram: chriswilliamson95
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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

My Academic Study Trip to Cuba

Over the break I was given the opportunity to travel down to Cuba for 11 days with 2 St. Mike's professors, 1 St. Mike's alumni (who is currently in grad school for Marine Biology) and 14 other students from St. Mike's. While we were down there we did researched on many of the coral reefs in the area with the help from marine biologists at the University of Havana and the university's Center for Marine Research, CIM.

Our first day was a little chaotic. We had problems checking in at the airport and then our flight to Toronto was delayed after we boarded the plane due to ice. We finally took off and ended up landing in Toronto 10 minutes before our flight to Havana was supposed to depart. Luckily for us that flight was also delayed but we made it. Everything seemed to get better once we were on the plane to Havana.
Che Guevara is still very popular down in Cuba and there were paintings of him or shirts and hats with his face on it everywhere you looked.

Drying out all of our gear between dives at one of our dive sites

While Cuba, we spent the first 3 days in Havana seeing some sights, meeting with the crew from CIM and then a quick dive to help get re-acclimated with the dive gear. After that, we went down to a little town called Playa Larga in the Bay of Pigs. We spent the rest of our time diving at different locations in the Bay of Pigs.

We found a litter of puppies that were once a few weeks old at one of our dive sights.
Some of the fishing boats in the Bay of Pigs. Fishing and motorboats are illegal in the bay so all these boats need to be paddled outside of the bay.
One of the sunrises over the Bay of Pigs that we got up early to see one morning.

After the 6 days in Playa Larga we went back to Havana for the last 2 days of our trip before heading back to the US.

This is one of the many old Chevy's that we saw on this trip.

The people down in Cuba are some of the nicest people that I have ever met and I can't wait for a chance to get back down there!

A group picture of the whole St. Mike's crew that I took on our last morning in Playa Larga when we all got up to watch the sunrise.

Me with our professor Patricia and our dive master Ivan
Some of the artwork that I saw in the market at Havana
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Monday, December 12, 2016

JibFest: One of the Best Nights on Campus

About two weeks ago on a nice and chilly Friday night, ShredMC (St. Mike's Ski and Snowboard Club) held their annual rail jam on campus called JibFest in the 300's Field. As the President of ShredMC this is was night that I was looking forward to for awhile. Countless hours were spent by not just the officers but also Grace Kelly, Mark Litchfield, Paul Olsen and other members of the Student Association, to make sure that this night went off without a hitch. The whole setup of the structure and all of the ramps are done by members of ShredMC.

Bringing the ramps down to Main Campus
Fortunately, we had perfect weather for JibFest, it wasn't too cold or too warm and it wasn't raining or snowing. Close to 400 or 500 people showed up to support their fellow classmates and the competition kicked off around 7:30. We had a DJ constantly playing music, people on the grills handing out free food and hot chocolate, and local businesses and school clubs and organizations handing out free promotional items.

Photo by David Sproul

It was one of the best nights I've had on campus this year and I am stoked that everyone who competed and came to watch enjoyed themselves.

The setup. Big thanks to Jay Peak for providing the rails

Keep scrolling down if you want to check out some more pictures from JibFest!

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for whats to come next!

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Taking everything apart

Deconstruction of the ramps the next morning

Unloading one of the many truckloads of snow from the local ice rinks

ShredMC Officer Cormac Hurley putting some finishing touches on the ramps.
Photo by Rachel Proctor

Senior Aeddan Flaherty sending it down the ramp.
Photo by Rachel Proctor

Senior Caleb Mann hitting one of the many rails.
Photo by Rachel Proctor

Senior Mik Horne was one of two women competitors this year.
Photo by Rachel Proctor

Shredmc Treasurer and the Men's Ski Champion Mitch Yahna hits the rail.
Photo by Rachel Proctor

Photo by Rachel Proctor

ShredMC Officer and Junior Joey Luca hits the rail.
Photo by Rachel Proctor

Photo by Ross Henry

Ski Champion Mitch Yahna is surrounded by friends after the competition.
Photo by Ross Henry

A few of the ShredMC officers surround a painting by Seamus Cahalane to honor the late Jerry Collins, Class of 2017
Photo by Ross Henry

Photo by Ross Henry

ShredMC Officer Billy Farrell walks up to the podium to receive his award for best fall.
Photo by Ross Henry

The sunset over the JibFest setup