Student Leadership Board | Why Apply

Student Leadership Board | Why Apply

Ah! SLB applications are open!

This is the first year of my college career that I won’t be applying for the Student Leadership Board–it feels weird. I’ve loved my position here, made some amazing friends and ridiculous memories alike, and hopefully done some good for the parents, students, and chapter advisers that swing by the blog.

In a perfect world, I’m back for year 3. But the world ain’t perfect–it’s incredibly busy, sometimes super stressful, and full of sacrifices. I’m incredibly blessed to attend a great college–but it’s very rigorous; incredibly blessed to have rewarding jobs in my prospective field for the future–but they demand the bulk of my time.

It would be cowardly and dishonest to not stand before you today and tell you I didn’t do nearly as good of a job this year in my position as the Publications Student Leader as I should have. I didn’t do nearly as good of a job on schoolwork, actual job work, going to the gym, reading for leisure, whatever. Life overwhelmed me.

I tell you this to offer a cautionary tale: if you’re going to do something, do it right. When you apply to the Student Leadership Board, it shouldn’t be primarily that you may throw it on your resume (though it certainly doesn’t hurt). It shouldn’t be because your friends are also applying for the Board (though they should and that’d be nice). It should be because you want to help Orthodox college students get through the briar patch–you want to, and you can as well.

Being on the OCF board is mission work. We forget that sometimes: it is mission work for the Church. We are spreading Christianity, not only to those in our communities who may be interested, but also to those who were raised in the Church. Whether we grew up in the Church or only recently joined it, we are always growing into the Church, growing through the Church. As we develop, so much our relationship with the Church–we encounter new things, experience and overcome new struggles by breaching new, previously undiscovered corners of our faith.

In short, college changes us: but the Church accompanies and even guides us through that change. OCF helps the Church do just that.

Being on the Student Leadership Board places the onus of helping the Church guide students through the college change squarely on your shoulders. This is your mission. When you work as a Regional Student Leader, you organize events for, reach out to, and coordinate with all of the OCFers in your area. When you work on the Programs side of things–Real Break, College Conferences–you spend all year forming the incredible, nationwide opportunities that only places like OCF can provide. When you work on my side of things–Media, Podcast, PR, Publications–you have a daily grind of linking OCF chapters from across the nation, and unifying us all through our common struggles and successes.

But you aren’t only the agent of the mission; you are also the subject. You are in college; you change. It is, I think, a fallacy to say “I am not strong in my faith, I’m struggling so much, I can’t be on the OCF board.” Rather, joining the board only gets you closer to the process, deeper into the restorative and strengthening powers of the Church and the faith. It is work, yes–but it is also respite, joy, and salvation. That is, inherently, what I think we all experience in our faith: work, trial, tribulation, struggle–but through these fires, we grow and experience Christ.

Apply for the Student Leadership Board. Serve the mission of the Church. Struggle, grow, and encounter Christ.

2018-2019 Student Leadership Board Applications Are Now Open!

2018-2019 Student Leadership Board Applications Are Now Open!

Applications for the 2018-2019 Student Leadership Board are now open!

Every year, OCF is led by a team of talented students who take on leadership positions in Orthodox campus ministry. The Student Leadership Board works with staff and clergy volunteers to plan and implement the programs of OCF, advise and inspire their peers on campuses, and develop new resources and programs for Orthodox college students. We are looking for applicants for all positions for the 2018-2019 Student Leadership Board.

As part of their training, SLB members will attend OCF’s Summer Leadership Institute free of charge! SLB members will also get priority registration for College Conference and Real Break. Answer the call to serve Jesus Christ, and apply to be part of this incredible team.

Applications are due MARCH 30, 2018.

My OCF Story | Vanessa Constantinidis

My OCF Story | Vanessa Constantinidis

In this series, “My OCF Story,” alumni share their experiences from their time in OCF and its impact on their transition and life in the post-grad real world.

Hello OCF community! My name is Vanessa Constantinidis and I am a former OCF Student Leadership Board member. I received both my undergraduate degree, in English & Italian, and my graduate degree, in Writing Studies, from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA. I currently work as the Associate Director of Admissions at Hellenic College Holy Cross School of Theology in Brookline, MA.

Perhaps my most memorable OCF experience was Real Break. My Real Break trip was not only a remarkable memory from OCF, but in life in general! In March 2014, I embarked on my Real Break journey to Romania where I had the opportunity to form relationships with other Real Break students, as well as, orphans, disabled children, elderly, and abused mothers of the Pro-Vita community. I recognized that this trip would impact me, however, I did not realize how my life would forever be changed due to the experiences I was given and the people I had the opportunity to meet.

Throughout our time with the Pro-Vita community, our group grew very close to one of the mothers. She had told us that she had not received communion in years because she was very scared of going to confession. The next day, after many of the Real Break students partook in the sacrament of confession—I saw her walk up to do the same. She later told us that we gave her the strength to go to confession and receive communion, and it was such a remarkable moment that I’ll never forget.

There are two places in the world where I’ve seen my Orthodox faith come to life in the purest form: my metropolis summer camp and in a remote little town in Romania called Valea Screzii. What do they have in common? In both environments, life is simple and Christ is in the center. Valea Screzii is a little piece of Heaven on Earth and all the love and faith in the community can truly move mountains.

I knew participating in OCF would enhance my spiritual life in college and give me the opportunity to connect with other Orthodox Christians—but I didn’t expect it to have as much of an impact as it has on my post-grad life. My involvement in Real Break and the Student Leadership Board, in particular, opened my eyes, not only to the spiritual and social benefits of OCF—but also the professional gains.

Fundraising for my Real Break trip just seemed like a means to an end at the time, but it equipped me with invaluable skills for my career in the non-profit world and in graduate school. Raising funds for my trip involved many speaking engagements, writing personalized letters to communities and donors, and building long-lasting relationships with people who believed in the mission of what I was doing. These skills allowed me to excel in grant writing courses in graduate school, and continue to assist within my role in admissions where I am regularly public speaking and building relationships with students. Additionally, serving as a member of the Student Leadership Board instilled team-building and leadership skills in me, and showed me that a group of young college students can come together and change the world.

It’s so important to join OCF in college because you never know where it may lead you! It’s crazy looking back at my first OCF meeting, where I joined simply because I wanted to have in-depth conversations with other Orthodox Christian students. Jumping forward to now—where my involvement with OCF has led me to working for the Church. I know that wherever my career leads me, I will always have OCF to thank for showing me how to live a balanced life with Christ in the center.

Get involved with OCF in any way you can and whatever way you feel comfortable (I would obviously suggest a Real Break trip or applying to be on the SLB). OCF has the power to shape your spiritual, personal, and professional growth—if you let it. Also, never stop praying.


Vanessa Constantinidis, a Philadelphia native, holds an undergraduate degree in English and Italian and a graduate degree in Writing Studies from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA. After several years of working in international education, and in admissions for her alma mater—her love for counseling students and her Greek Orthodox faith led her to Hellenic College Holy Cross in Brookline, MA, where she currently serves as the Associate Director of Admissions. When she has free time, she loves reading, writing, exploring different cities in the U.S., or planning her next international trip.

Nine Reasons to Apply to the SLB

Nine Reasons to Apply to the SLB

I’d like to take a moment to thank my sister, Emma Solak. She’s the current Chairwoman of the Student Leadership Board, and she has done such a job, one adjective could not possibly describe her wild success. Stellar and monumental come to mind. Ground-breaking, earth-shattering, awe-inspiring, and other hyphenated things.

But that’s just a biased brother’s opinion. More concretely, she held this position before me and really encouraged me to apply for it. Glory be to God for that. This position and this experience have been incredibly valuable for me, and without her, this opportunity may have passed me by.

That, I suppose, is my encouragement to you, OCF student. Don’t let the opportunity pass you by. Apply just in case. Apply if you’re unsure. Apply if you have even the slightest inkling that you may enjoy it. The last thing you want is to look back with regret.

In honor of the outgoing chairwoman, I’d like to compose a post in the spirit of her hallmark: really funny GIFs, all in a row. She could do a better job, most definitely. But here we go nonetheless.

9 Reasons To Apply To The SLB

1. You’ll be a great help to others

 

2. It will further your relationship with God

 

3. You’ll grow that ‘dox network

 

4. Christina, one of our directors, has really cute and funny kids that will occasionally pop into video calls

 

5. You may or may not get to hang out with me

 

6. Let’s be real: it won’t look bad on a resume

 

7. You’ll get to explain even more Orthodox stuff to your non-Orthodox friends

 

8. You’ll be (part of) the National (Student) Leader(ship Board) of a thing!

 

9. You’ll get to write this post next year

 

At the end of the day, there is no fence on which you should be. If you think there’s the tiniest chance you might want to, do it. Apply. It’s rad-tastic.

-B

 

My SLB Story | Service To The Body of Christ

My SLB Story | Service To The Body of Christ

Man, my SLB story.

I was a sophomore having just attended my second College Conference East. OCF had been a major part of my college experience up to that point–through my chapter, College Conference, and Real Break. I left CC East fulfilled and spiritually rejuvenated for the new year, having also made so many new friends from around the US and Canada, across jurisdictions.

I knew that College Conference was a program I loved, and as the Student Leadership Board applications came out, I began to see myself standing up on the stage making announcements about what was going to happen next, planning out different speakers to attend, creating a schedule.

So I applied.

I went through the interview process and finally in April I got a phone call telling me I had been selected to be the College Conference East 2016 Student Leader! Excitement and anxiety immediately came to my mind. I was excited for the opportunity to make important decisions and be the leader of an event which I believe is OCF at its best, but I was also anxious about the immense responsibility before me.

We began work right away in April and we worked throughout the summer, spending hours in conference calls trying to come to a consensus on workshop speakers and topics, recruiting for the CC East Leadership Team. Finally, in August came the Summer Leadership Institute where the Student Leadership Board spent time together in sessions with various speakers on important topics, and in fellowship developing friendships. SLI was a pivotal turning point for my experience on the SLB because I discovered a support system which assuaged the anxiety I had been experiencing over my position.

The SLB has provided me with a friend group that I couldn’t have imagined my junior year of college without. These are my fellow students who care deeply for this ministry and the spiritual lives of all college students. Growing up primarily involved with the Antiochian Church and her ministries, OCF has provided the opportunity to encounter and develop friendships with Orthodox Christians of other jurisdictions, both on the chapter level and on the national level. These are friendships which have been a source of great joy and comfort when trying to balance academic requirements with the work required to plan a conference, and I am so grateful to this group of people.

To every college student reading this, I task you to take a moment and consider applying to the SLB. Try, as I did, to envision yourself doing this work for the glory of God. If you can see yourself being a part of this great ministry on a leadership level, please apply for the SLB, and if you are accepted, I can guarantee you will experience a year of service to the Body of Christ which will transform your heart and give you lifelong friendships.

Apply for the SLB Today!


Mark Sultani is a junior at the University of Michigan — Ann Arbor studying Computer Science. He’s the President of his OCF chapter and served on the SLB as the College Conference East 2016 Student Leader. Some of Mark’s favorite activities include Arabic dancing, procrastinating, and laughing unnecessarily hard at marginally funny things.