10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Join YSEALI

1. Ruins your social expectations. 

It is hard to find the same kind of people who share the YSEALI UNO experience. Sets high standards for future connections.

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2. Get your heart-broken constantly. 

Meet, reunite, separate. Rinse and repeat for added suckiness.

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3. Lose your job and supposedly set life-paths. 

[Was not the intended effect of YSEALI].

1 dropped out of a sponsored college.

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2 people in YSEALI 2015 quit their jobs

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jayne

4. Social media spam 

Nuff said.

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5. Accelerates your ageing. 

All that travel and leadership related stress adds to our years, ya know.

From partying to staying in, YSEALI ages you.

From this

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To this

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6. Health risk from tom yam 

Too spicy.

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7. The difficulty of maintaining long distance relationships.

Thank God Skype and Hangouts are free.

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8. Embarrassing and complicated romance.

Errrrr, I will spare the pictures to respect our privacy and sanity lol. But you know who you are.

9.  Occasional +1 curse for photos. 

Group photo taking has never been this hard.

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10. Overshadowing by extremely talented people.

When everyone is so talented….

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So there you have it folks, why YSEALI UNO should be avoid at all costs (or not).

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Throwback #1 – Hello Halloween

It has been suggested that we utilize this dormant blog for reminiscence. So adhering to the natural order of things for YSEALI UNO 2015, I shall take the initiative – those who joined me in the mad dash during transit at Minneapolis, I’m sure you know what I mean.

Without further ado:

Arriving at Maribel’s Halloween bash in style. Nothing says swag like shades at night.

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Game of Non-Profit Thrones

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.

– Abraham Lincoln
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Epilogue: A Song of Philanthropy and Charity

On a frigid Wednesday morning, fate had it that my peers and I were thrust upon the tasks of leading the Better Foundation with the difficult task of ‘making the world better’. One moment we were Civic Engagement students, another we’ve been given absolute mandate over 50 million dollars’ worth of endowments left by the foundation’s founder, B.E. Better. Meh, just your average Wednesday morning in Omaha.

To be frank, we didn’t really have 50 million dollars to fool around with. Rather, it was an extremely engaging and intellectually stimulating role-play activity brought up by Patrick, our academic coordinator.

Allow me to present a brief preface of the activity: 21 of us were divided into 3 groups and we were presented with this role-play cum case study to see how we would deal with the task of utilizing the 50 million dollars to the most effect. While we were given some starting guidelines, flexibility was afforded so in essence, we could basically enact whatever policies we want to stretch our dollars.

  • Book 1: A Clash of Kings

What was most difficult about the simulation?

Personally, I found navigating the group power dynamic particularly challenging. Since this was our first role play together and considering the relatively large size of the group, there was an underlying tension and challenge to make sure everyone was involved in the discussion as well as setting clear objectives and a vision that was collectively agreed upon. Additionally, the time slots allocated for us to discuss and plan strategies and policies were measly to say the least. Therefore, the combination of limited time as well as a need to involve each group member created a sticky situation where I had to be careful and aware about the manner at which I presented my ideas, defended risky suggestions and brought others into play.

  • Book 2: A Dream of Spring

What was most fun?

I quickly found myself as the finance guy in my team and found the experience immensely enjoyable and exhilarating. Being theoretically in charge of 50 million dollars was amazing. I quickly formulated an action plan where we focused heavily in future sustainability by placing the bulk of our cash reserves into secure stocks and assets. With that help of Forbes.com and Google, we managed to guarantee financial viability and sustainability for the years to come while funding education and social entrepreneurship endeavors for the community. All that lasted for a good 20 minutes before Patrick presented new scenarios and situations that greatly challenged our resolve and organizational plan. It was utter chaos. One moment we had a solid strategy, another moment we were close to bankruptcy.

The result: A wide grin on my face. I’ve always loved a challenge.

  • Book 3: A Glimpse of Future Glory

Does this exercise provide any insights into the funding process?

Definitely. The exercise highlighted the most important factor in any budget plan. That it’s just a plan. And plans can change.

The role play presented us the perfect stage for experimenting with ideas, plans and strategies in managing a non-profit foundation. It was perfect for that situation since it was able to mirror the sheer unpredictability and chaos of reality. It taught me to be flexible and adaptable when disaster strikes so that we can take advantage of the opportunities present while minimizing lost.

In the Game of Non-profit Thrones, you win or die.

– Bernard Goh

Global Studies, Global Warming

Global warming

Two days into October, students gathered in UNO’s community engagement center for a day of prominent discourse and debate. The YSEALI Fall Academic Fellows were fortunate enough to be part of this 38th Annual Global Studies Conference which carried the theme ‘Rethinking Global Security: Emerging Threats and Challenges’.  Out of all the sessions, I particularly enjoyed the third panel session which discussed the all too real treat of climate change to global security. Despite our daily balks of injustice at ISIL, Boko Baram and other terror threats, there is an even more pressing threat to humanity just lurking around the proverbial corner: Global warming. Personally, I cannot shake the feeling of dread that while we go about killing each other out of misunderstanding, bigotry and spite, global warming will eventually wipe us all out. In President Obama’s address to graduates at the United States Coast Guard Academy, he highlighted immediate risks to global national security, contributions to increased natural disasters and escalation in humanitarian crises, and potentially increasing refugee flows and exacerbated conflicts over basic resources like food and water. This is a very real threat that needs to be address sooner rather than later.

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Speaking of solutions, the session panelists presented broad and comprehensive arguments that the solutions we have now are virtually useless. The floor was explicitly in agreement on the need for the enactment and enforcement of new sweeping reforms. Mr. Wheeler from University of Nebraska-Lincoln brought up an interesting (and sadly, a slightly overlooked) point whereby there is only 70 to 85 percent efficiency in electricity generation and distribution. The figures are stunning. We don’t need to build more power plants; we don’t need to discover the next ‘Holy Grail’ in energy generation; we don’t need to rethink the way we use electricity. The only thing we need to do is to increase efficiency in power generation. That’s it. Just increase efficiency and we are able to save so much more resources, energy and most importantly, buy enough time to develop cheaper and more advanced green technologies.

No solar power mumbo-jumbo; no hogwash about cracking the infinite energy equation; no sci-fi enthusiast’s wet-dream about colonizing Mars. No. We just need to increase the efficiency of our power generation and distribution. Global warming, simple solution.