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Get On Board

Brothers of Kappa Kappa Psi,

It is with great excitement that I declare my candidacy for a position on the Kappa Kappa Psi Board of Trustees for the 2017 – 2021 term. After carefully reviewing the duties and responsibilities of this position, I believe that that I possess the experience, professional ability, and enthusiasm to help drive the next phase of strong long-term planning for our organization.

My vision for my term on the Board of Trustees is centered on investing in the future of Kappa Kappa Psi. This means investing in our members by empowering our membership & investing in efforts that will foster a stronger spirit of giving within our organization.

I believe that Kappa Kappa Psi is made up of many remarkable individuals who bring a variety of talents and experience to our brotherhood. However, many of these brothers are underutilized when they could be called upon to truly push Kappa Kappa Psi to strive for the highest. Efforts are underway to start being more intentional with how we encourage and empower our membership, but we can always do more. Every member of Kappa Kappa Psi HAS the opportunity to strengthen our fraternity. We have an obligation to give them the tools necessary to do so. Investing in those who wish to do more through mentoring opportunities and providing more venues for our members to engage, present, and serve are the starting points to develop a stronger, intentional brotherhood.

On the topic of strength, it is great to know that Kappa Kappa Psi has a strong financial footing. However, I believe that in order to secure the future of Kappa Kappa Psi, we must be more engaging in terms of development. We must do more to promote a spirit of giving through the various development efforts currently in motion as well as through those new ideas that will come. We must engage in development efforts that will serve ALL members and draws on all levels of interest within our organization. Additionally, those who give should be more actively recognized for their philanthropy to our organization. Thoughtful, intentional, and impactful giving is what will ensure growth and success for years to come.

With these goals in mind, I believe that I am qualified and prepared to join the Board of Trustees and help guide Kappa Kappa Psi to the centennial anniversary and beyond. With a professional background largely centered in higher education – facilitating leadership programming and overseeing the operations of various student organizations – utilizing intentional & objective program planning. Additionally, I am proud to serve on the Board of Directors for the Bowling Green State University Band Alumni Society, where I help coordinate alumni programming, encourage alumni to engage with the University, and work closely with BGSU Bands to help secure funds for various campaigns. Finally, as a past National Headquarters staff member, I have experience with Fraternity policies & procedures as well as with development efforts, having worked on the All-Aboard Campaign and other program-specific giving efforts. 

Kappa Kappa Psi has thrived for nearly 100 years. As a member of our Board of Trustees, I will cultivate the skills of those who wish to serve and strengthen our development efforts. I firmly believe by doing so, we secure our success for the next 100 years and beyond.

It is with that optimism, sincerity, and a love for our organization that I seek your trust and support. I openly welcome and look forward to your comments, questions, and feedback. You can connect with me via email (presramsey@kkpsi.org), via social networks – such as Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram (presramsey for all accounts), and of course in person in Orlando.

Thank you for your consideration!

 

Fraternally Submitted,

Preston M. Ramsey
Life Member, Beta Kappa (Bowling Green State University)

Review: Spring ShokzBox

It feels as if it was just yesterday that I began participating in #bibchat – a weekly Twitter-based discussion group focused on running, hosted by the folks over at BibRave.com. Over the course of my interaction, I’ve had the opportunity to converse with some really awesome runners, learn about new running opportunities, and become aware of some amazing running gear I knew nothing about.

One particular piece of gear (er, brand) that had been popping up on accounts I’ve followed recently is something called AfterShokz. This company makes a different take on the wireless headphone, sitting the main sound output OUTSIDE of the ear – rather than in it – enabling the user to still hear what is going on around them. I got a chance to see a few pairs of these headphones in person a few weeks back when I ran into a few of the BibRave Pros (@daddydidyouwin and @mmaynard551) before the start of the Glass City Marathon in Toledo. Their positive take on these only helped fuel my curiosity.

Naturally, when it was announced that AfterShokz was going to put out their Spring ShokzBox, I was interested. This box is essentially a grouping of some very popular running gear at a very good price. So, I jumped at the opportunity and splurged on a box for myself.

It arrived about two weeks ago. Having now had an opportunity to put the items inside to use, here’s my review of the Spring ShokzBox.

Overall

The biggest and overarching big win of this box, without a doubt, is the value. Anyone who says that running is an inexpensive experience is a liar. Adding up the approximate retail prices of the products reviewed below, the total cost to buy these products individually (before any taxes & shipping) comes to right around $280. The Spring ShokzBox itself with all these items inside is $199.95 – with no shipping cost. Even someone who got an F in Algebra can figure out that the ShokzBox this is a great deal.

Products

AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Headphones (retail $129.95)

I genuinely cannot say enough good things about these headphones. After finally getting to see them in person in Toledo before the GCM, I was sold on the idea. They sit VERY comfortably over the ears and they stay in place – no bouncing, no movement of any kind.The sound output is fantastic and I really can hear everything going on around me. I run primarily outdoors, so being aware of what is going on around me is crucial. An added bonus with these headphones is that I don’t feel as I’m yelling when I still have them on – as is the case with most in-ear or over-ear configurations. If you don’t already have these, get them NOW.

AfterShokz Buff (retail ~$18)

This one I’ve been skeptical about for a while, but was also very eager to see what all the fuss is about. Turns out, it’s pretty darn handy. First off, it’s made from moisture-managing microfiber fabric – the closest thing I can compare it to would be a DriFit-esque type material – which means it is very lightweight and keeps you dry. It is also wind resistant which can keep you protected from windburns during your workouts. The big takeaway here is that it can be worn more than 12 different ways, making it very easy to create your own look while still being comfortable. I prefer the traditional headband look, but I’m sure that will evolve. The only downside to THIS particular Buff (if there actually is one at all) is that it is not available for individual purchase and is just part of this ShokzBox. However, there are PLENTY of traditional Buffs in a variety of designs over at Buff’s website.

BibRave Trucker Hat (retail $22.95)

I’m not one for hats on a daily basis, nor when I run, so this is actually the one thing in the box that I can honestly say I have not used when running. However, if I did wear it while running, I’m pretty sure that I’d comfortable. This trucker style hat boasts a wicking headband on the inside and generous mesh panels around the side and back, which would keep me both cool and shaded. If I’m being completely honest, I like it because it’s orange – sue me. Perhaps it’ll make it out on one of my runs in the future, just not yet.

Orange Mud Transition Seat Wrap (retail $39.95)

Since I drove to my running location today, I actually put this one to use (finally!). There really isn’t a whole lot of fanfare to this one besides the fact that it is multifunction – it can be used as a car seat cover, a towel, and/or as a cover/wrap for an impromptu wardrobe change. If you are using it for the latter, it does have a built-in “belt” of sorts to keep it in place. Comes in a variety of colors (mine is blue) and is fairly soft to the touch. Sure beats a regular beach towel for the driver’s seat and it fits better too.

Brilliant Reflective Safety Strips (retail $9.95)

No fanfare here. Simply put, these are removable and reusable reflective strips, designed to enhance visibility of the wearer in lower-light conditions. Incredibly smart idea and I wish EVERYONE who goes for a run/bike ride/etc after the sun goes down had these.

Knuckle Lights (retail $59.99)

On that same note about nighttime safety, carrying some kind of light source during a night run is essential. Using a traditional flashlight or even the light on a smartphone isn’t very efficient for one’s activity, as one would have to hold the light source at an uncomfortable angle. A headlamp is a great solution, but the down side is an often itchy or uncomfortable headband. Solution? Knuckle Lights. These handheld lights wrap around the base of the fingers with a flexible strap. This ultimately utilizes the natural way the hands close when we run to A) hold the lights and B) put the light exactly where it is needed. The lights themselves are INCREDIBLY bright and has three modes (high beam, low beam, and strobe). If you’re running at night and you don’t have these yet – GET THEM.

***

When looking at the items in this particular ShokzBox, I’m hit with a trifecta of themes: comfortable, convenient, and safe. Everything in this box has value and will absolutely have a place in my plethora of running gear (well, maybe not the hat right away, but it’s still cool). Thank you AfterShokz for putting together such a great deal!


Get your ShokzBox while they are still available over at AfterShokz.

#PresRunsCbus Training Update

Back on 26 May, I had posted that I had committed to running the 2015 Columbus Marathon this coming October. It definitely does NOT feel as if almost 2 months have passed. Today marks the end of training week #5 (of 18) and I thought it’d be a great time for an initial update as to how things are going.

First – a reminder of my goals for this endeavor:

  1. Run the entire Columbus Marathon (26.2 miles)
    • If I can’t run the whole thing, at least run as much as possible.
  2. Beat my previous marathon time (4:49:55)
  3. Raise $1000 for Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

As of today, I have run 84.06 miles (50.9 of those in July alone) with an average pace of 9:00 minutes per mile. The average elapsed time of my runs is right around 38 minutes. Longest run so far (without substantial walking) has been 9.11 miles, run in Tacoma, Washington one week ago on 11 July. If my training continues as it has so far, and I am able to keep my pace close to or under 9:00/mile, I should complete the Columbus Marathon in the neighborhood of 4 hours even – almost an hour faster than my time 11 years ago!

So, I would say that at this point – with 13 weeks of training to go – I feel that I am at least on pace to achieve goal #2 and beat my previous marathon time. As for running the entire distance (goal #1), the jury is still out, but I’m feeling very optimistic about the possibility!

As for #3, I have raised $360 of my $1000 goal for Nationwide Children’s Hospital thus far – but there is still much work to be done. Nationwide Children’s Hospital works day in and day out to cure, mend, comfort and save an estimated one million children who will walk through the hospital doors this year. Like so many others, I am seeking to raise money to help support the work of Nationwide Children’s Hospital and simply ask for your support as I work to meet that goal. If you would like to learn more about Nationwide Children’s Hospital and support me as a Children’s Champion, please click here — any amount you can give is helpful and appreciated!

Finally, THANK YOU to all those who have been so supportive – in person or online. It’s always great to get that cheering noise from the Nike+ app! In addition to tracking via Nike+, I also upload my progress to Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram after every run- usually with the standard “#dropNgimme20“. This serves two purposes: keeps me publicly accountable and allows me to reflect on what I’ve achieved so far.

Sidenote: If you need/want motivation to start running or to keep running, get on Instagram or Twitter and search for #nikeplus, #running, #training (just for a start). There is an amazing community of runners out there who are super supportive and willing to share their knowledge and experiences. You can follow MY running via Instagram and Twitter.

Honeymoon Chronicles: Traveling by Train

Just a few days ago – 1 August to be exact – our time in Germany had come to an end, which meant another travel day and two more train rides. I should note all of our travel since arriving in Europe has been made possible thanks to a variety of European trains. In this post, I’ll do what I can to highlight the experience.

First off, know that this is the first time that either one of us has utilized traveling by train as a primary transportation method, as we usually fly or drive. I’ll be honest – I had my apprehensions about traveling by train across Europe. What if we miss a train? What if we can’t figure out the time tables? What if we get separated? More “what if’s” than I care to list. To my pleasant surprise though, the whole process has been incredibly easy and SIGNIFICANTLY less stressful than air travel.

There isn’t really any secret to train travel. You show up, get on your train, and go. For the most part, and assuming you have your ticket/reservation in advance (which I’ll talk about in a moment), you can show up at the platform for your outgoing train pretty much as it’s rolling into the station. I would not recommend doing so, but you don’t have to show up 2 hours early like you would for a flight. On average, we’ve been 30-45 minutes early for each train. And security? With the exception of the high-speed train between London and Paris, there aren’t really any security checkpoints.

Earlier, I mentioned having a ticket AND a reservation. Think of it this way – for a flight, you have to buy a ticket which will also include your seat assignment. For European rail travel, a ticket gets you on the train – and that’s all. Having a reservation in addition to that ticket will get you your seat. Without a reservation, you can sit down, but you are not guaranteed that seat for the whole trip. With that said, if you’re sitting in a seat without a reservation and along I come with the reservation for that seat – I get the seat and you get to move.

The biggest part of traveling by train…or by any method really…is knowing your travel information. This is nothing new but I cannot stress this enough though. You need to know your train number, what coach you’re sitting in, what seat your reservation is for, and where your train is going and where you get off. Not knowing your train info could quickly become a costly error. For example, there was a couple a few rows up from us on our train from Paris to Amsterdam. The train manager had come around to check tickets to find that this couple did not have the correct tickets. The gentleman in the couple was quite sure (see: arrogant) that he was on the correct train, in the correct seats, and was sure the train manager was incorrect. The train manager then pointed out, quite plainly, that the passenger and his companion were to have boarded a different regional train, not the high-speed service between Paris and Amsterdam. The couple had two options: 1) get off the train at the next stop with no penalty OR 2) get charged the full fare for the trip, as if they had joined us in Paris. They got off the train. What can be learned here? Know your travel information and NEVER argue with the man who could boot you off the train.

I can say that Tammi and I have really enjoyed traveling via train during our honeymoon. Most of our trains have been of the high-speed variety or darn close, making our travel days go by much quicker. As a result, I’m actually looking forward to possibly utilizing Amtrak in the future for travel back at home.

Until next time…

90 Miles – 90 Days

This past weekend officially marked 3 months, or 90 days, until Tammi and I get married.

Holy crap. It feels like just yesterday we were in Cleveland getting engaged.

Don’t get me wrong though – it’s not the wedding planning logistics that has me concerned – we’re actually ahead of schedule in a lot of ways. It is, however, the personal wellness part of the equation on my part that has me feeling much more like Grumpy Cat. Early last fall, I had hit a fantastic milestone – I had dropped approximately 20 pounds and was back in a good place with my running and workout routine. That was then. Today, I’m back up those 20 pounds and pretty much lost all the progress I had made throughout 2013 on my running.

So, yesterday I decided to go for a run. While I was out I decided to set a short-term personal goal to make some positive change in my own wellness. That goal?

Complete (at least) 90 miles in 90 days. That’s it.

The plan is just to run – or as Tammi and I often say – “get dem miles”. I’ll use the  Nike+ (during runs) and RunKeeper apps to track my mileage, duration, and so on. While the primary objective is 90 in 90, I’ll also keep track of food intake via the LoseIt! app to track any changes in weight.

 

That’s my goal – what’s yours?

Update: As of today, I’m at 4 miles.

Angry Birds Revisted

Last February, I had the opportunity to travel with five student representatives of the UNC Pembroke Student Government Association to the Conference on Student Government Association, or COSGA, on the campus of Texas A&M University. The conference focused largely on the idea of “Moving from Passion to Action” – taking initial ideas and moving them to an end product, all the while maintaining enthusiasm for the project at hand. As the spring semester begins for many, I thought it appropriate to revisit this post. Note: you can view the presentation at the end of this post.

Having my first conference presentation accepted was a great feeling, even if it was for a smaller niche conference – a presentation is still a presentation. However, then reality set in. How could I make this proposal something palatable for fellow advisors?

The answer came simply and quickly – make it fun.

I think that’s real message behind this post and the presentation itself. In fact, it is something I strive for in everything I do. If it’s not fun to some degree, if you get no enjoyment out of it, then chances are neither will anyone else. Granted, there are times in the things we do when humor and excitement aren’t really smiled upon – and that’s okay.

Just enjoy what you do and have fun doing it.

One Word Resolution 2012: PUSH

As 2012 gets off to a fairly quick start, I find myself lacking in the resolution department. This really isn’t a huge surprise, nor is it a huge departure from the norm, but I’ve actually taken notice this time around. I have a few goals I’d like to reach, and am still digging a little deeper on a few (see a future post regarding SMART goals…), but no huge resolution. Well, that was the case until I returned from my vacation and began hearing about co-workers and other professionals choosing One Word Resolutions for the coming year. The idea, if you are unfamiliar, is to select a single word that will essentially sum up how you want to act, do, live or what you want to achieve before the end of the calendar year. After a few conversations with co-workers, I’ve decided to join the One Word movement and my word for 2012 is PUSH.

Over the last 12+ months, I have found myself pushed and pulled in every direction possible – some good, some bad – and I’m not sure that fits with who I want to be or what I want to accomplish. I want to push myself towards legitimately  accomplishing my set goals, push myself by motivating others, and push myself to strive for those things that make me truly happy – professionally, personally, socially. Pushing myself also includes pushing past my known limits, but not pushing myself over the edge.

Push, to me, is a positive word for 2012 and I’m going to own it, have fun with it, and learn from it.

2010 and 2011 pushed and pulled me in many ways – 2012 is when I push back!