After the positive response to our post last week of unattributed quotes to the New Orleans Real Break workers, we decided to do it again–this time, with our SLB members, encouraging you to apply to the SLB!
Quotes from: Markayla Stroubakis, Dan Bein, David Munkres, Emma Solak, Isabella Calpakis, Kathrine Sackllah, Mark Sultani, Nicole Petrow, Niko Wilk, Nora Haddad, Oana Grigoras, Peter Savas, Quinn Marquardt, Rachel Howanetz, Spiro Morris, Spyridoula Fotinis.
Question 1: How has being a member of the SLB affected your day-to-day life? What about your life overall?
“Hilarious group chat.”
“First, a GroupMe and a Snapchat group that never stops and kills my phone battery. Second, a GroupMe and Snapchat group that makes me literally laugh out loud, inspires me daily, and fills me with joy.”
“I now have 16 extra people that I pray for daily and look forward to hearing from in our GroupMe chat.”
“Honestly, the board has made me more motivated to keep my faith in the center of my life. Being in constant communication with people like Dan Bein, the Solaks, Niko Wilk, Nikky P, and literally everybody on the board makes me constantly see the benefits of living a Christ-centered life and it reminds me of how much I want that, and motivates me to do it.”
“My life overall has been affected in one of the most beautifully positive ways from being able to serve on the SLB. It is difficult to put words to the experience. I have been blessed with opportunities to meet and serve with other Orthodox Christian college students from all over North America. Many of which share my love and passion for the important ministry that is OCF. These people and opportunities are what continue to keep me working through the not-so-easy parts of college life, and ultimately has brought abundant amounts of laughs, smiles, and joy into my life.”
“Being a member of the SLB has, without a doubt, affected my day-to-day life. Growing up and even into my first year of college, I was very shy and introverted. I did not like being around people and talking to people was the worst! But I can honestly say, that being on the SLB has changed that. I feel more comfortable being around others and talking to people. I feel like being a member of the SLB has helped me to see what kind of person I am. It has showed me that I can be a leader and that I am able to just be myself without being shy and introverted. ”
Question 2: If you could assign one adjective to qualify what the SLB means to you, which would you choose and why?
“Well, I just had to Google what an adjective was…yikes! But my answer: There are definitely other adjectives to try to describe what the SLB means to me, but the word powerful hits it home for me. I joined the SLB not exactly sure what I was getting myself into. However, the moment I met my fellow SLBers, I felt like that was the place that I belonged. Being on the SLB has led to me coming out of my comfort zone and doing things I never imagined doing. I made friendships that I never thought would happen. I ran my own regional retreat which was very impactful. Being on the SLB has had a powerful influence on my life and has also changed my life for the better. ”
“Family. It’s not an adjective but it’s the truth. Although I’m not the best at keeping in touch, I still feel connected to each person on the board. I honestly can’t explain why, but having Christ at the root of not only a relationship, but an entire community (like the SLB and OCF as a whole).. idk, it’s awesome. It’s an unexplicable personal and communal connection and devotion to Christ. I feel this way while I’m in the altar or in my congregation at home, but this is different because it’s not restricted to the walls of the church. It’s clear across campuses, state lines, and jurisdictions… so, it’s really cool and feels like a family.”
“Thankful. I’m incredibly thankful to have served on the SLB for two years. It has given me more than I ever could have possibly dreamed of giving it. I am thankful for the best friends I have made, who have done awe-inspiring things for OCF; Christina and Donna who work so hard and offer sage life advice; every speaker I’ve ever heard at an OCF who taught me something new and strengthened my faith; every OCFer I’ve met who has filled me with the light of Christ that shines from within them. OCF has been the heart of my college experience and the SLB has been the heart of hearts.”
“Family – The SLB has become my Orthodox family in college. More meaningful than any friend group or club, the SLB is a family which has formed my faith life and personal culture during years where they may have suffered otherwise.”
“Being on the SLB is fulfilling. You are serving the students in your region out of love. If you serve out of love, then there will be no greater joy that OCF can offer. Working to plan retreats and events where students can find God is some of the most fulfilling work I have ever done. It has also led to a deeper relationship with Christ.”
“Real. Being on the Board is real for me. I produce real things, like videos and podcasts, interact with real people online, and participate in real projects with my other Board members. It’s not just theoretically talking about how to minister to my fellow college denizens, but it’s really ministry.”
“Adventurous…not only has being on the SLB allowed me to form new ideas and experiences, but I have also literally traveled thousands of miles to be with the SLB at retreats, conferences, and Real Break, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Question 3: Why would you recommend someone apply to the SLB?
“There’s absolutely no reason not to apply to the SLB. I hate the words “I can’t” (ask Oana, she’ll attest to this). Apply because you love OCF, want to help it grow, have awesome new ideas, see room for change, want to grow stronger in your faith, want to develop your leadership and life skills, want to use your time and talent to serve God, and want to meet and work with some of the most faithful, funny, uplifting, and humble people who you will be privileged to call you friends.”
“Chances are that you have unique gifts that God intended for you to share with others. What is a better way to do that, than to step outside of your comfort zone, apply to the SLB, and use these gifts to make OCF an unforgettable experience for college students. (Is this supposed to be a question mark and not a period? Help me Ben English isn’t my first language)”
“Each of us possess specific skills and traits that give us the ability to serve others. By applying to be on the SLB, you would have the chance to become a leader for the Orthodox Church in a position that would ignite your inner potential. The effort that you offer is an act of love that would help the lives of college students in the Faith and especially those seeking Christ.”
“The running joke is that the SLB gives you friends. Yes, but you get so much more out of it, too. I don’t know about you, but I am constantly hearing the message–use your talents and gifts for the glory of God. If you love the OCF ministry and want to learn more about what it means to serve others with your whole heart, apply to the SLB. It is a humbling experience to be able to serve Christ and the church through this ministry. I encourage you to think about your God-given talents, your priorities, and how you want to spend your college career. Could you see yourself serving on the SLB? If so, apply. :)”
“I would recommend someone to apply to the SLB because it’s a great opportunity not only to learn the faith, but to actively do faith. Just by being on the SLB, you think about God and your faith on a regular basis, which at college can be difficult. And! you get to do something so cool with an organization that is worthwhile. So, selfishly, it keeps me on track through gaining knowledge and serving others which is a really cool thing.”
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.
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.
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.
One of the strengths of my OCF chapter, a characteristic I have found often in chapters across the country, is diversity. Students from all backgrounds, majors, and campus affiliations come together in Christ’s love, and that unity is the powerful backbone that keeps OCF strong. Aside from a mutual passion for Orthodoxy, one of the most predominant characteristics that I have noticed in my conversations with OCF students is that we’re all too busy. As applications for the 2017-2018 Student Leadership Board open this week, seventeen college students from around the country are about to get a whole lot busier.
Every leadership position is a risk. It’s a risk that your free time might shrink and your to-do list might grow. It’s a risk that you may discover weaknesses you never knew you had. It’s also a risk that you may unlock passion within your soul and turn your heart toward a purpose greater than yourself. Serving on the Student Leadership Board has done all of this for me and in the best of ways.
The past two years as Midwest Regional Student Leader have been incredibly transformative, empowering, and inspiring. Like any good organization, the value of OCF lies in its people. I am consistently blown away by the talent, spirit, and genuine love my fellow board members pour into their work for this ministry. These people, whom I am lucky enough to call my friends, inspire me every day to be a better Orthodox Christian. I am never without comforting and hilarious conversation from Emma, a good book suggestion from Dan, invaluable life advice from Christina, and innumerable other daily blessings.
Like any good organization, the value of OCF lies in its people.
– Tweet this!
It is with confidence I assure you that the work of any SLB position, with the right disposition and attitude, will never have to feel like work. My OCF responsibilities are somehow the only work I get done throughout my day that makes the rest of my to-do list lighter. OCF leadership is more than a bullet point on a resume, but forever a mark on my heart. The Student Leadership Board has given me incredible experiences, lasting friendships, a GroupMe I would never dream of muting, and a strengthened faith in Christ our Lord. These are all blessings I would never change for the world, and I can’t wait to share them with the OCF community this coming year as the Chairwoman of the Student Leadership Board.
I will leave you with a favorite quote of mine by Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J.:
Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.
I encourage you to consider applying for the OCF Student Leadership Board, get a little busier, and to take the risk that will decide everything.
Student Leadership Board applications are open! Whoo! They can be found riiiiight here.
Nicole Petrow is the outgoing Midwest Student Leader and incoming Chairwoman of the Student Leadership Board. She is a currently a junior at Creighton University, majoring in Classical & Near Eastern Civilizations & Classical Languages. In her spare time, she lip sync battles semi-professionally.
Applications for the 2017-2018 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 2017-2018 Student Leadership Board.
As part of their positions, SLB members will attend the Summer Leadership Institute, the only leadership conference for Orthodox college students! 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 31, 2016.