Beans. Greens. Potatoes and Programs
Trill or Not Trill?

My favorite viral video right now is that of Gospel Artist and Pastor Shirley Ceaser’s sermon where she goes through the different types of food that she will be having at Thanksgiving. Specifically, “beans, greens, potatoes, tomatoes, lamb, rams, hogs, dogs, chicken, turkeys, rabbits.You name It” The video was posted six years ago but was recently remixed with a dope beat behind her sick verse. Now artists like Chris Brown and others have started the #UNameItChallenge which is basically people dancing over the remixed song.

It’s only a matter a time before someone uses it as a verse in their next hip hop hit. I’ll wait.

Shirley Caesar’s success did not come easy as she came up during Jim Crow laws and in many articles discusses the discrimination she faced. She also lived through poverty and hunger which she described as a “blessing in disguise”. It was her upbringing that lead her to a successful career as a Gospel Singer and Artist winning 11 Grammys in her lifetime thus far. Still today she is humble and thankful.

I’ll be honest being a new professional managing a budget, running events, supervising student staff, putting together presentations has been exhausting. Thanksgiving break has always been a good time where I got to finally slow down. I really need it this year. For some it’s about watching some good ol’ football and for others it’s about family traditions and shopping. However you decide to spend this long weekend it’s essential to not lose focus on your professional and personal goals.

Here are some great and positive-minded activities to facilitate with your RA’s, student or professional staff before a Turkey send-off.

What are you serving up?

Description: Show Shirley Caesar’s short video where she lists the different foods that she is serving for Thanksgiving.
Activity: Have participants write down and then discuss the positive qualities that they believe they are “serving” in their roles as student leaders or professionals.
Follow Ups:
– How have you made a difference this semester?
– Why do you think this/these straits are important in your life as a student/professional?
Learning Outcomes:
– Help individuals identify their own personal strengths
– Highlight and raise awareness to the positive traits that individuals bring to the team
– Increase personal confidence through self-reporting of qualities

There’s Always a Story

Description: Just as Shirley Caesar has a story of humble beginnings that helped lead to her viral video, participants will be asked to identify what has led to their success this semester.
Activity: Ask participants to write down people, situations and/or things that have helped them be successful this semester. Facilitate the conversation using the questions below.

For example: When I was having a bad day, my coworker asked me to go for a walk and talk about what was bothering to help me blow of steam. This helped me because it allowed me to vent and remove myself from the situation for perspective.
Follow Ups:
– How did those situations help you be successful?
– What did you learn about yourself from that moment?
– How can you use what you learned from those moments to better your daily life?
Learning Outcomes:
– Identify successful situations that were affected by an event, person or other
– Challenge audience to find and incorporate ways to be more efficient
– Grow appreciation for positive events and people that have helped

I accomplished….

Description: Many times when you are a go-getter you tend to lose track of all of the things you have done leading you to feel stressed about the things that are not. This is a great time to feel good about all of the goals that have been met thus far. Remind the group that sometimes it’s important to look back at the footsteps you left behind and see how far you’ve come.
Activity: On a piece of paper have everyone write down the things that they have accomplished so far this semester. It can be anything from hosting a successful event to reading 3 books or going to the gym.
Follow Ups:
– Were you surprised at how much you accomplished?
– Can you identify ONE thing on your list that you did not think was attainable?
– How do you feel seeing how much you have done?
Learning Outcomes:
– Create a space for audience to share what they have completed this semester
– Identify positive feelings of accomplishment

What do you have left to do?

Description: This last activity is ideally to be facilitated at the end as a way to help refocus and get them ready when they come back from break.
Activity: Participants are to write down 5-7 things that they need/want to accomplish by the end of the semester. These should be items that can be in part initiated on the Monday we return.
Follow Ups:
– Are all of the items attainable by the end of the semester?
– How do you feel about accomplish these tasks?
– Who can help you be successful at what you need to get done?
Learning Outcomes:
– Help participants identify people/resources that can help them achieve their tasks
– Examine what is a realistic task to complete in a timely manner
– Investigate and share feelings about upcoming “to do’s”



Antonio Talamo is a young higher education professional that has experience working in Student Activities and Advisement. He has brought his talents to Montclair State University where he will be the Coordinator for Commuter Students and Programs . He has grown from a go-to-class-go-home student to a professional who is passionate about giving students the best college experience at any level. He is a huge sports fan that loves the New York Giants and the Boston Red Sox and swears he is the reason the Red Sox broke the Bambino curse.
#GYLT #GetYourLifeTogether