LGBT Movement and #Sochi2014 – follow the conversation

sochiprideby Jess Samuels

You have to be living in a cave to not know that the Sochi Olympics are coming up in just a few weeks. Commercials, ads, and news programs are all creating buzz around the important international sporting event.  As much in the spotlight as the sports themselves has been the comments of conservative Russian leader Vladimir Putin and the strict anti-gay laws enacted by the government.

Traditional media channels are only one way to stay up to date with the protests of Russia’s anti-gay legislation. Social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter are ‘going for the gold’ with coverage of the politics around the games and their activist activity.  LGBT organizers are using social media to not only protest the treatment of gay athletes, Russians, and visitors, but calling out major sponsors of the Olympic games. One amazing example is the social media take over of #CheersToSochi on Twitter.  As reported by GLAAD, the hashtag was originated by Olympic sponsor McDonald’s, to create positive chatter about the games.  Instead, LGBT advocates have taken over the hashtag to report on Russia’s anti “gay-propaganda” laws and the culture of LGBT-target violence created by Russia’s stance. Similarly, LGBT advocates have recreated a 1970’s Coke ad intertwining images from the original video “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing”, with images of Russian government protests.  This video adds to the strong online criticism of Coca-Cola for sponsoring the Sochi Olympics.     

This shows once again that no one controls social media, and that well organized activists can create a movement with the many free tech tools available to them.

Want to stay up to date with what is happening regarding LGBT advocacy at #Sochi2014? Check out the following twitter hashtags, handles, and websites, then join the conversation!  


#uprisingoflove @uprisingoflove

It Gets Better Project & Uprising of Love are teaming up with a number of leading LGBTI organizations to host a series of online Google hangouts during an Olympics inspired LGBTI Rights week. These hangouts will engage the larger community in discussion about the importance of acceptance in sports while also discussing LGBTI rights generally.

#p6, @allout

Principle 6, a campaign inspired by the values of the Olympic charter, is a way for athletes, spectators and global supporters to celebrate the Olympic principle of non-discrimination and call for an end to Russia’s anti-gay laws before the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.


The It Gets Better Project (IGB), just last month launched a powerful campaign called “You Are Beautiful” to connect with and support young gay people in Russia.  As Mashable reported, It Gets Better is asking ordinary people from around the world to submit videos and written messages of support to Russia’s gay teen community: “To the LGBT youth of Russia, you are beautiful inside and out.”


Outsports, is a leader in gay sports news, commentary, photos and videos. Their goal  is making sure that being a gay athlete or gay sports fan is not an oxymoron.


The Gay Games are an international sporting and cultural event held every four years. Launched in 1982, the Games invite participation from all athletes—regardless of sexual orientation, race, gender, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, political beliefs, athletic or artistic ability, age, physical challenge or health status.

LGBT Movement and #Sochi2014 – follow the conversation

10 Females to Follow on YouTube

By Josie Ahlquist

Recently an article from the called How YouTube is Failing Women, reported that only 17 of the top 100 YouTube channels were presented by women.  Currently, the highest-ranking woman on YouTube is Rihanna at #7, followed directly behind her by Jenna Marbles at #8.  But from there few female YouTubers are anywhere to be found in the top subscriber tiers.

Today, I am choosing to feature a number of YouTubers who are women.  Their channels showcase many vantage points including pure entertainment, lifestyle, gaming, how-to’s, sketch comedy, music, education and more.  While a couple of them are very popular, they all create quality content and deserve many more subscribers.

YouTube is a relevant choice for both personal and professional development in the Student Affairs profession.  It’s not just for cat videos or rap battles!  From inspirational speeches, to how-to tutorials, this video platform has something for everyone.  Videos are quickly digestible, sharable, and usually lead viewers to other related content.

There are a number of very successful channels (83 in fact in the top 100) on YouTube that are created/fronted by men.  These channels work extremely hard and I applaud them.  But the fact remains, more of these need to be women.

So, as promised I offer you 10 female fronted YouTube channels to follow.  There are many more I would love to include, but I tried to offer a comprehensive and diverse collection of women who entertain, empower, educate and/or all the above.  In no particular order, I’ve included their YouTube link, as well as their ‘about’ information which is their brief bio written by each YouTuber herself.  I also gave you a sentence or two of my take on their channel so you can get an idea of what they are like.

Happy Subscribing!!  

1.  MaryDoodles

“Just drawing stuff. And Things.”

Mary makes time-lapse art videos of her whimsical watercolor paintings. The videos are set to music and often finished off with a word from Mary herself showcasing her strong, quirky personality. I love watching her videos when I’m just looking to relax and take a break from writing.  She also is a great example of a woman being her authentic self, pursuing what she loves to do.

2.  Michelle Phan 

“Just another old soul dreamer with childlike faith. Teaching and inspiring everyone to become their own best makeup artist 🙂 So sit back, enjoy and let’s play with makeup!”

With over 5 million subscribers, Michelle has proven her relevancy online.  Her approach covers how-to beauty and lifestyle videos, applicable for all ages.  I appreciate her angle of education, using fashion and make-up to teach others to ‘feel fabulous in their own skin.’

3.  Grace Helbig 

“Yes. You’re right.” 

Formally known as Daily Grace, Grace Helbig uploads videos nearly every day.  As her former name suggests, this channel showcases the hilarious daily life, opinions and reflections of the one and only Grace.  Viewers are drawn in masses to her straightforward humor and continual insight into her very own life.  In March she will be starring in a featured film called Camp Takota.

4.  Emily Graslie 

“I’m Emily, the Chief Curiosity Correspondent of The Field Museum in Chicago, former volunteer of the University of Montana Zoological Museum, and I’d like to share some of the amazing things we have in the collection with the Internet!”

Like a professor of YouTube, Emily provides educational related videos mostly about animals.  You will not only be educated by her videos, but also entertained and fall in love with her witty personality.  I appreciate the type of content she produces, serving as a fabulous role model for young girls looking to go into sciences.  While she has only been on YouTube one year, she is gaining subscribers and views at a cheetah-like pace.

5.  Lindsey Stirling

“I love to play the violin, dance, write music, edit videos, play dress up, and perform.  So, I combined it all together and this is what happened.” 

Lindsey is a prime example of how YouTube can help get you discovered.  She began in 2007, choreographing and performing violin performances of cover songs.  It is unlike anything you have seen.  Not only are the videos captivating to watch, but also you will want to purchase her original music to rock out even when afk. (away from the keyboard).

6.  Lizzie Bennet Diaries 

“My year long video diary of my sisters, my best friend Charlotte, and eventually a guy named Darcy.”

Technically Lizzie Bennet is a fictional character on YouTube, just like the web series she stars in, adapted from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice story.  In the form of vlogs, Lizzie and a cast of characters are set to have you entertained. Student Affairs professionals may also find it interesting that Lizzie is a Communication Graduate Student.

7.  Christina Grimmie 

“As you can probably tell I love singing, writing songs, writing music and I play piano and a little drums & guitar!”

Her voice will have you hooked.  Young, extremely talented and sticking to her values, Christina is on her way to world tours and gold albums.  Popularized by cover songs, she is making her own now with solid original music.  She reminds me of the musically talented students I have worked with over the years, providing a positive example of how hard work will pays off over time.

8.  Brittani Louise Taylor 

“My name is Brittani, and I am an actress/artist/super nerd!”

The quirky, hilarious and all out there Brittani Louise Taylor is pure fun.  If you can keep up with her quick humor, you’ll quickly forget about the worries of the day.  I find that she is extremely connected with her subscribers, building a community of engaged fans.  She openly talks about how she was bullied growing up and works to empower her viewers.

9.  Katilette 

“Please keep the video comments clean or I will block you….Thanks” 

Colette Butler, commenly known by her YouTube persona Katilette, is the wife of popular YouTuber Shaycarl.  Their family composed of five children are part of a daily vlogging series called ‘Shaytards’.  While Colette uses another name online, who she is both in person and online are extremely congruent.  She is genuinely caring, authentic and inspiring.  Just like her channel description reads, she challenges viewers to be appropriate and positive community members.  She is a wonderful example for both young girls, as well as moms.

10. Louise Watson

“Aloha! I love beauty, babies (particularly mine) and shopping. Come on in, the water’s fine!”

Get ready for some serious sparkle; Louise calls her subscribers ‘Sprinklerinos’!  Who says lifestyle and beauty vlogs can’t come with a pack of personality?  Even further, Louise delves into deep topics like self-harm, body issues and self-esteem.  I recently sought out this channel after meeting Louise at a YouTube event, she is just as lovely in person as seen online.

Interested in an entire collection of female content on one channel?  Check out these two:

What other female YouTube channels are on your must-subscribe list?  Please include them in the comments below!

10 Females to Follow on YouTube

Learning to Let Others Lead

By Kathryn Magura

My campus has seen a lot of changes over the last year, and my department in particular has seen a lot of seasoned staff leave. The result has been some restructuring of positions (all good, from my perspective), and new leadership at all levels. As someone who has been a part of the department for over a decade, it’s been refreshing to see new staff come in with new ideas on how to serve our students.

As my role within the department evolves, I have had the opportunity to take on supervision of more professional staff. When you move from supervising students to professionals, the change in needs and structure is vastly different. I think both groups can take a lot of your time, but the needs are different from that time. Please don’t take that to be whining – I love spending time with all my staff. 🙂

A unique perspective I’ve had recently is bringing in new professional staff to take over roles I used to perform. You would think there would be a lot of ego involved in ensuring the tasks happen exactly the way I want them to (you know, the way I used to do it. Also known as the right way.), but I have been pleasantly surprised with myself that this simply hasn’t been the case. I’ve been reflecting about why this is, and it occurred to me that one of the biggest tenants of leadership is learning to let others lead.

It’s not about making sure the tasks get done the way I would do them, it’s about ensuring the staff have the training and skills to get the work done the way they want to. I make myself available to answer questions, and let my staff know that if they want my opinion I will share it, but I let them determine when they need my help, versus assuming they need my knowledge to thrive. Allowing them the autonomy to do it their own way allows them to take ownership of the work and experience for students and staff they serve.

As we continue to bring in new staff, I hope to continue refining my skills in learning to let others lead, so they feel true ownership for the work they are doing. I’m not saying I’ve perfected this skill by any means, but I am saying I appreciate the benefits of humility in leading others.

So what do you think? What does it mean to you to let others lead?

Learning to Let Others Lead

Apps for your soul

By Valerie Heruska

Some of us like to start our day with a cup of coffee. Some of us like to start our day with reading books and newspapers. I like to start my workday with quotes and I have some great apps for you to get to feed your soul with words of inspiration. On most of these apps, you can set the time you receive the quote (I get mine at 8:00AM, so it is the first thing I read in the office) and you can also post them to both Twitter and Facebook.

For the runner: Mile Post

Mile post brings the best quotes from runners. If you feel like you need that little boost of inspiration to run, get this app full of good quotes. Here’s one:

” Some seek the comfort of their therapists’s office, other head to the corner pub and dive into a pint, but I chose running as my therapy” – Dean Karnazes

For the Daily Quote:  Daily Quote of the Day

For the Yoga person in your life: Yoga Quote of the Day

For those who need inspiration: Inspire Me Today

Do you have any other apps that you use to feed your soul? Let me know!

Apps for your soul

#SAsubCon: Dissonance at Work

By Niki Messmore

There’s a stigma surrounding conferences. Sure, everyone loves the chance to meet up with old friends, have a drink, and learn new practices/research, but there’s this tendency for an eye-roll to surface at the mention. Critiques state that the format is too scripted and there’s not enough engagement. This resulted in the movement of the ‘unconference’. And now it appears that academia may be moving into a new phase, initiated by MLA graduate students organized over Skype, called a ‘subconference’.

I can’t help but wonder if Student Affairs is ready for this new type of conference that discusses issues within the profession [spoiler alert: I think we are].

“An unconference is a highly informal conference” (THATCamp) with several main characteristics. 1) The agenda is set at the beginning of the meeting instead of beforehand; 2) Everyone is expected to participate and there are no formal presenters; 3) The cost is inexpensive or even free.

Or as THATCamp explains it, “An unconference is to a conference what a seminar is to a lecture; going to an unconference is like being a member of an improv troupe where going to a conference is (mostly) like being a member of an audience”. Lisa Endersby wrote up a great reflection of her experience at #SATechTO if you want an insider’s perspective.

There are some unconferences already making an impact in Student Affairs, such #SATech Unconference, Boston University’s Confab, and grad-sponsored events. And now this year at ACPA’s Convention they are implementing PechaKucha sessions, which are a form of unconference facilitation.

So what is this new version of a conference? It’s similar to the format of traditional conferences. The MLA Subconference program features panels, presentations, meals, and socials. But the subject matter is not your average conference.

The organization states that “Our aim is to take a recognizable and traditional form and produce a necessarily urgent call for conversation, information sharing, and, ultimately, action. This is a Call for Papers that doesn’t stop at Papers, but only starts there”. The topics presented included key issues in higher education, such as student debt, organized labor, and adjunct issues.

Does Student Affairs Need a Subconference?
Disclaimer: I’ll be up front with you. I began in a student affairs/nonprofit hybrid position and recently transitioned out of education-based nonprofit administration to graduate school in a student affairs program; set to graduate in May. I’ve only attended ACPA 2013. So while I’ve been reading The Chronicle for the last 7 years, I’m unable to wholly understand SA conferences and interests at the level of someone with different experiences.

Do we discuss higher education issues at places like ACPA, NASPA, ACUI, etc? Sure. It’s kind of our thing, after all. But I think, based on reviewing past programs, we (as a field) are much more comfortable with discussing how to work with our students then we are with each other or the field itself.

Not saying it doesn’t happen – there are a good number of presentations, panels, and roundtables that address different needs within our community. But it is never the focus.

So then we have to ask, do we need a subconference? Do we need to address issues within the profession and the system of higher education? Should we?

We do and we should.

There’s great conversations happening about the profession in pockets around the country, on Twitter, in blogs, and in literature. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to get people into a room? To really get down and dirty, talk these issues out, and start setting action plans?

(I know the rebuttal – SA folks are always too busy and there’s an issue with people taking ideas from a conference and actually working on them. I’m an idealist but I’m not foolish. But with the right people, the right energy, and the right level of plan making…well, I think we could make things happen. Call me an optimist).

What Issues Would Be Discussed at a Subconference?
Creating dissonance is what we do best – we just have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable during these discussions!

  • Graduate School Curriculum – this is a hot topic among the #sachat crowd. Are knowledge areas like technology being incorporated? Or how about the research going on right now by folks like Dr. Lori Patton Davis and Dr. Shaun Harper exploring how issues of diversity are inserted into the curriculum? We collectively need to improve drastically in both of these areas, especially the latter.
  • Discrimination in Student Affairs – we live in a society that issues privilege to certain identities and oppresses others. It is difficult to unlearn these toxic teachings. So how are we addressing issues that face professionals who identify as people of color, women,  transgender*, low SES, LGBT, international, ability; etc within our own field? We can’t avoid the fact that the majority of SA administrators are white men.
  • Politics & Student Affairs – our colleagues in k-12 and other areas of higher education are active in unions and politics. I’m not proposing a union, but I do think there needs to be an discussion of why/how student affairs should be more involved in politics. After all, if legislatures are deciding issues that directly impact us and our students, like financial aid and state funding, shouldn’t we be encouraging active citizenship?

There are other ideas I see commonly discussed…the schism that can develop between researchers and practitioners; student affairs v. faculty; the future of student affairs; student loan debt; higher education funding; how we use our funds; social justice; and so on. What would you want to discuss if the #SAsubCon become a thing? Let me know in the comments or via Twitter at @NikiMessmore.

And Finally…

Two years ago Eric Stoller asked “Where are all the Radical Practitioners?” Let’s hope they (and frankly everyone, even those who would never identify with the term ‘radical’) meet up one day soon at a #SAsubCon.

#SAsubCon: Dissonance at Work

What’s in a name? Changing your online identity after marriage

by @JessMSamuels (formerly @JessFaulk)

 “What’s in a name? That which we call Jess Faulk by any other name would be as sweet.”  Changing your online identity after marriage.

I have a confession to make.  I have been married for over 3 months and I have yet to complete my online identity transition.  I’ll be completely honest, the whole idea intimidates me.  Not the name change itself.  I changed to Jess Samuels without much concern. Even though I consider myself a feminist, and can appreciate anyone who chooses to keep their own name, I liked the idea of having a family name, being a recognizable unit, and Faulk hyphenated with anything is just too much of a mouthful.  I can also appreciate my friends who change their name because it is more unique, and more brandable. For example, how easy would it be for me to show up in Google if my last name happened to be Simpson?  Meranda Adams in her article “The Age of SEO, How Do You Change Your Name After Marriage?” laments that her name change meant she was much less recognizable. Meranda says, “If only I’d fallen for a guy with a more original last name.”  After having made the choice to take my husband’s last name, Samuels, I could relate.

The name change in my offline world was relatively easy. I moved through everything from social security to credit cards within weeks of getting married.  Checking those things off of my to do list felt manageable, however, changing my online identity felt insurmountable.  When I Google “Jess Faulk” in a incognito search, 8 out of the first 11 results in Google are me.  My twitter, my institution’s staff listing, my website, my picture, my pins.  When I search “Jess Samuels” however, only 1 out of the first 11 results in Google are me.  To start all over from scratch, building an online presence is intimidating, but not impossible.


Where to start

Before I even officially became Mrs. Samuels, I started with  This site allowed me to quickly determine which sites have the username I desired available.  I had to decide whether having Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, and YouTube (or dozens of other sites) all with the same username was important to me.  Because I knew branding myself online after already starting with another username on so many other platforms was going to be a challenge, I decided that having one consistent name was important, and thus selected JessMSamuels for all of my userprofiles.

Holding Period (i.e. Engagement)

While you are waiting for everything to become official, you can start collecting some of your new profiles.  Grab your .com and your Gmail to start.  Gmail won’t let you transfer the name of your account from one name to another, BUT it will let you forward from one account to another, and import all of your messages, so there is no reason to delay in grabbing the account you will eventually use.  Choosing your Twitter should technically also save you the concern of someone else grabbing it while you are engaged, however, a word of warning – you do need to release the new name before you can change your old account, so it may be a little trickier than changing your name on Pinterest or Facebook.

Making the Change – What’s easy, and what’s not, AND how to do it.

Next Steps

SEO Chicks provide the valuable advice to be careful when changing your accounts.  Many online accounts will be attached to other accounts (such as Facebook and Twitter), and you have to make sure all of the links still work after changing usernames and emails for those accounts.  They also wisely suggest keeping your avatar while you are doing your initial name change.  There will be enough confusion when you change your name, so keeping the consistency of your old image will help people know it’s you.

This blog post may have been more therapy for me than anything else.  While intimidating, it shows me that moving through my social media profiles are just as doable as moving through the cards in my wallet.  Of course, I know that there will always be unforeseen challenges – such as changing the name on all of my Student Affairs themed infographics (esp. after I lost my hard drive with all of the original work), but I will get through that as well.  That is what Photoshop is for!

Anyone have any other name change tips?  Post them in the comments, I would love to hear your approach to this branding challenge.

What’s in a name? Changing your online identity after marriage