Back in the Day

Hey all,

This next blog post will focus in on the days when I first joined the Huskie pack. When I first came to NIU, I lived in the University Honors Living Learning Community, which at that time was located in the lovely Douglas Hall. More specifically, I lived in C1, which was technically half underground and when it snowed, sometimes the drifts totally covered up the windows. I really enjoyed the Honors House because we had what were called Floor Wars, where competitions among all four floors were set up periodically throughout the semester. Some of those included wheelie chair races, Mr. C Wing competition, and various obstacle courses. I also loved the Honors trips that took place in the fall and spring semesters. These usually included a trip to Chicago where we would go see a musical or a comedy sketch.

Being in Douglas Hall really made me love Dog Pound Deli. For those of you unfamiliar, Dog Pound Deli is a “Subway” style eatery where you could create any sandwich imaginable with an unlimited amount of toppings. I frequently DPD about 3-4/week when I lived in Douglas and it was probably the main amenity that was highlighted in that residence hall. Along with DPD, I really enjoyed giving tours of Douglas Hall and later became the Open House Coordinator my sophomore year.

As a freshman, I was always looking for ways to get involved during my free time. I joined the Honors Student Association right from the start as well as becoming a tour guide, which I mentioned before. I also found employment at the Convocation Center as a Food and Beverage worker my freshman year. What was cool about that interview that it was a mass hiring process where you found out if you got the job on the spot. With that job, I would work concessions and cook food for athletic events, concerts, cheerleading competitions (the moms were the worst), and other events. The most memorable experience of that job was when there was a Drake concert going on and during setup, I walked right past him. Maybe it doesn’t seem that cool, but at that time it was a big deal.

I need to make it clear that it wasn’t always class, organizations, and work for me. I loved my free time, and spent it constantly doing any activity imaginable with my floormates. We spent countless days and nights playing football by the tennis courts, playing slow pitch softball in central park, having water balloon fights, and playing campus-wide games of fugitive. When weather wasn’t so friendly, we had sumo wrestling competitions with the couch cushions, video game nights, fort nights, and many late night orders of Topperstix.

The best advice I can give a new student about to enter a residence hall for the first time is to not lock yourself in your room the whole time you are on campus. Also, do not go home every single weekend. You WILL regret doing this later on in life when everyone else is reminiscing of the good old days and you have nothing to talk about. It may seem a little harsh, but it’s extremely sincere.

That’s all for this time, thanks for reading.

-Chris

Random Acts of Kindness

Hello again,

This blog will focus on (as you can probably guess) random acts of kindness. What makes these events truly remarkable, are that they are always unsuspecting and can completely turn a day around. Also, it personally helps restore my faith in humanity when I see someone performing a random act of kindness for someone else. If you believe in karma, those who take time out of their day to help someone else will more than likely be helped themselves later on in life. Whatever you may believe, helping someone else without incentive is one of the most rewarding experiences to both accomplish and witness.

During my time here at NIU I have a seen a good number of random acts of kindness. Here’s the thing, random acts of kindness do not have to be huge, glamorous events. Simply holding the door open for someone else, or helping a stranger up who has slipped on the ice can be considered noble acts. Another great act that I personally enjoy is when someone forgets their wallet or purse somewhere and a stranger catches them before they go to return it. it really shows that people have your back, even when they could have benefitted from your mistake. Even though that seems like an obvious thing to do, sadly it seems our culture is not based on a selfless view of the society.

Personally, I try to engage in at least one random act of kindness a week as a benchmark. Things I have done include holding open doors for people, paying for the customer’s drink that was behind me at Starbucks, scraping the ice off of a neighbor’s car in the morning, and offering to drive my friends to their apartments after class. These are all simple acts that anyone can do to help out their fellow Huskie. I also believe that random acts of kindness can be performed by student organizations. For example, when I led the Honors Student Association, we put on an event every year called Free Hug Day. In this event, we met up in the MLK Commons and simply gave hugs to all the people coming to and from class. It was amazing to see how many faces lit up when people found out what we were doing. We had students tell us that they really needed a hug that day and being able to provide it was one of the most rewarding experiences one could have.

Well, I hope this blog gave you some insight on ways to perform random acts of kindness. I’m always interested in hearing different stories around campus on how someone’s day was made by a complete stranger.

Stay Warm Huskies,

Chris

I Heart NIU because….

I Heart NIU because it has given me countless opportunities to thrive and prove to myself that I can be successful. I Heart NIU because what you can accomplish does not depend solely on your background. I Heart NIU because I have never felt out of place from the moment I stepped foot on campus about four years ago.

As you may have already figured out, this post is all about how much I love Northern Illinois University. Even with its frigid winters and seemingly endless cornfields, NIU can make you feel warm and invited. From the first day stumbling around campus, wondering how college works, to now, a senior who is wise beyond his age (or likes to think so), this college has been nothing short of a second home. For the students who see college as a solely academic means to get a piece of paper, I’m sure you do not feel this same way. For students who have joined organizations, tried new things, went to athletics events (of all sorts), listened to a music concert, built a recycled boat and raced it across the lagoon, or played an intramural sport, this may pertain more to you. Simply put, college is what you make of it. You can either drag yourself to class everyday as a means to an end, or immerse yourself in the wonder and opportunity that only presents itself in the college environment. I would be foolish not to thank the faculty and staff at NIU for helping me get to this point, and for my fellow colleagues who I have shared a variety of successes and failures with. I Heart NIU because of all of you. Seriously, thank you!

To really sum this up, I’m just going to list a bunch of reasons why I Heart NIU. Everything on this list is something that has personally helped me along the way in my NIU journey and deserves a shout out because of that. Here goes…I Heart (and I really don’t like writing the <3 thing by the way) NIU because of the Huskie Bash, RHA Block Party, NI Guides, The University Honors Program, Douglas Hall Tours, Douglas Hall Council, Douglas Hall C1 (floorever), working at the Convo Center, Chicken Finger night at the Douglas Cafeteria, Open House Coordinator, LEAD Guide, Lambda Sigma Sophomore Honor Society, Honors Student Association, Fall 2011 Homecoming Court, Dog Pound Deli, Institute of Industrial Engineers. Northern Lights Ambassadors, NIU Football Games, intramural flag football, Alpha Pi Mu Industrial Engineering Honors Society, University Jazz Band, Mortar Board Senior Honor Society, NIU Cares Day, Huskies Pizza, the fountains behind Davis Hall, the Orange Bowl, University Honors Fellow, Honors Mentor, Diesel the Huskie, the Alumni Association, and last but certainly not least, my parents, who have put up with my antics for over 21 odd years now. To tell the truth, I’m pretty sure I left out a lot of organizations and events on that list.

Well, that’s the end of this one. I hope I made it clear that I Heart NIU. I just hope NIU Hearts me too.

Regards,

Chris

 

Free Time and Safety

Hello again!

For this blog post, I will be discussing how I like to spend my free time on campus as well as how I stay safe.

I am a very active person, and enjoy exercise and playing sports. I go the rec every weekday at 6AM and never turn down an offer for a pickup football, baseball, or basketball game. I actually played on an intramural flag football team earlier this year and we got to play at Huskie Stadium for the championship! Besides sports, I love jazz music and playing my tenor sax. I have been playing for almost a decade now, and it’s still one of my favorite hobbies. Besides sports and music, I love hanging out with friends, participating/leading in my organizations, providing service to the surrounding community, and meeting new people. Free time might not come in heaping doses this semester, but it’s important to capitalize on those moments to help relieve stress.

The way I stay safe on campus is actually quite simple. I don’t walk alone at night, I stay on well-lit paths, and I ALWAYS lock the door to my car and apartment. It takes a little practice to get automatic at doing these things, but in doing so I have never had an unsafe situation occur. (Knock on wood)

Police Chief Phillips gave some great advice on safety at our last meeting, and I would like to share a few examples that he provided. First of all, never walk down the street holding your cell phone in front of you. Chances are that is one of the most expensive items you own, and thieves know they can resell those at a great profit. Another bit of advice Chief Phillips gave to us is to not believe everything you hear on social media on emergency situations. News can be easily misinterpreted and twisted and it’s important to get your facts straight and not to use Facebook and Twitter as your main source of information. The last bit of advice that Chief Phillips provided is not really applicable to the individual, but to the university. This is to place surveillance systems and entry and exit points of residence hall and academic buildings. This way we will know at all times who is entering and exiting our facilities that contain the most amount of people.

Engaged Learning: Field Work

Hello!

It’s time for my third blog post! this time I will be discussing an engaged learning experience I have had during my time here at NIU. The most important engaged learning experience for me, especially because I am an engineering major, is the internship. Field work is so crucial for engineering students especially when it comes time to start looking for full time jobs after college. Those who have had the experience already are much more likely to be considered for full time engineering work. In my case, I have had three internships so far.

The first internship I had was after freshman year of college. The company, Sensata Technologies, produced car sensors in the manufacturing facility in Freeport, IL. Being my hometown, Freeport was a nice option for an internship. So nice that all of my internships have been located there. I really can’t beat the free room and board at the Lloyd Hotel. During my time with Sensata, I was an Assistant Engineer reviewing Standard Work Procedures, Revising Local Documents, and helping out in the Failure Analysis Lab. This was the first experience I had ever had in the engineering environment and really helped me realize I was in the right field of work.

After my sophomore year, I landed an internship at Fehr-Graham and Associates as a Health, Safety, and Environmental Engineer Intern. This company, as I mentioned earlier, was also located in my hometown of Freeport, IL. During my time here, I was contracted out to a company called Honeywell Sensing and Control (you might recognize them from my last blog post) where I was conducting Noise Testing, Ventilation Testing, Lockout Tagout Review, Oil and Chemical Containment inventories, and other miscellaneous projects with the safety team. This was a great experience because I was able to see how engineering plays a role in the safety field and how manufacturing and safety work together.

The last internship I have had was last summer at Honeywell Sensing and Control. Having the job at Fehr-Graham really helped me build a network with the managers at Honeywell to land me a job at Honeywell. During this internship, I was an Advanced Manufacturing Engineer intern where I spent my time making Cycle Time reductions, 5S mapping, Value Stream Mapping, and other tasks as assigned. This internship was the first time I realized I was just about ready to start working as an engineer. I could envision myself contributing to a company and stepping up to the everyday challenges an engineer is faced with.

Well, that should just about wrap up my discussion on my internship engaged learning. I would recommend to anyone, engineering or not, to really try to pursue an internship or two (or three). It will really let you know in a hurry if you are going into the right field of study. Good luck in all your career endeavors!

Best,

Chris

Chris Lloyd, (almost) Industrial Engineer

honeywell

Alright, time for round two! In this segment I’ll be reflecting on how my classes are going so far, what I’m excited for, and future interesting classes. Once again, my major is Industrial and Systems Engineering with an emphasis in Engineering Management. Industrial and Systems Engineering relates to how a product, process, or service is created, modified, and monitored. It combines both the business and engineering disciplines and is a great option for people who enjoy the science field but still love social interaction. It heavily involves working in teams and collaborating with people from all different career backgrounds and specialties. There is hardly a dull day in the life of an Industrial Engineer. There’s a quote I heard once that says “Engineering make things. Industrial Engineers make things better.” I think it perfectly explains my future occupation.

This semester, as a senior, I am taking some really intense, technical engineering courses with a couple buffer classes mixed in. My engineering classes include: Facilities Layout & Design, Production Planning & Control, Simulation Modeling & Analysis, and Engineering Systems Management. My other two classes this year go towards my Management emphasis. They are Organization Communication and Fundamentals of Accounting. It is another 18 credit hour semester, but if you are an Engineering major and want to graduate in four years, it’s pretty standard. Due to pushing myself as a freshman through some difficult courses, I will only have to take 12 credit hours second semester senior year. I can’t tell you how excited I am for that.

The class I am looking forward to the most is Simulation Modeling & Analysis. In this class, you use a simulation software called ARENA that can model basically any process you can think of. Examples include a manufacturing plant, airport check in, supermarket customer flow, and even banking operations. You can simulate customers or parts flowing in and out of the systems and make changes to the environment to help improve the process.  Yeah, I know it sounds nerdy but I am really into that kind of stuff. Another aspect I like about this semester is having my classes start at 8AM every day. I get up at 5:40AM every week day to get to the rec center at 6AM, so I am definitely a morning person. I really love having the rest of the day free for meetings and other organizational activities. 

Looking on towards next semester, I am really excited for my senior design project. This is a requirement for all engineering students and is generally taken the last semester of your undergraduate experience. For Industrial Engineers, we get to do work in a real production facility, distribution center, or hospital even and apply what we learned in class to a project in the real world. Besides being a test to see if we have what it takes to make it in Industrial Engineering, we have a chance to build connections with these companies that could potentially be our employers down the road.

With that being said, it’s time to go back to doing homework for my classes. I’ll check in again in a while to let you know how things are holding up. Until then, stay classy and if you see an Industrial Engineer, tell them thanks for making the world a more efficient place to live in.

Your (almost) Industrial Engineer,

Chris

P.S. – The picture is me at my internship last summer at Honeywell Sensing and Control in Freeport, IL. The guys I am with are managers in engineering, operations, and human resources. Cool stuff!

Get to know Chris Lloyd

Hello?! Is this thing on? I want to begin by saying I have never even attempted a blog before in my life. Thought I’d throw that out there.

My name is Chris Lloyd and I am a senior Industrial and Systems Engineering major with an emphasis in Engineering Management. Furthermore, I’m part of the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology at NIU (the best college on campus). I was born in a log cabin that I built myself in a little town called Freeport, Illinois. I grew up with a mom, dad, two sisters, a brother, and a variety of pets. I am a huge baseball fan (Go Braves!) and a huge football fan (Go Bears!). I also play tenor sax and live a very active lifestyle.

The purpose of this blog is to record my adventures as a Northern Lights Ambassador at NIU. I am currently in my second year in the program and am the co-chair of the Alumni and Foundation Committee (which is brand new to me this year).

The reason I choose NIU in the first place was it’s good location to my home (not too far, not too close), its Honors Program (I love a challenge), and its affordability. Everyone has their own crazy story about how they came to a decision on a school, but mine’s actually pretty simple. Sorry about that.

I chose to become an NLA because I heard they represented the best and brightest of each College. Naturally, that made me want to be a part of this exclusive organization. I also wanted to be more active in the College of Engineering, so it really made the most sense to try to be an ambassador. Once again, I don’t have a crazy story about how I became an NLA. For instance if I said a former NLA rescued me from a polar bear attack in the frozen tundra of the DeKalb Mountains and I wanted to thank them by becoming an NLA, that would be pretty neat. Actually, let’s just go with that, it’s much more memorable.

The single most stand-out experience I had at NIU was becoming a Lead Guide for the NI Guide Program. NI Guides helped move in students on NIU’s huge, mass move in day, and Lead Guides oversaw the process. My freshman year I was an NI Guide, and moved up the rankings as a Lead Guide my sophomore year. I know basically every NLA has held leadership positions, but this was the first time someone gave me a chance to lead on campus. HUGE shout out to Phyl Dupre!

Well, for those who did not switch pages or close their browser, you have reached the end of my first blog post ever. I guess I’m supposed to figure out a cool way to end this thing like saying “Go Huskies” or “We are Huskies”. So, here you go:

Your “Paw”-some HUSKIE,

Chris Lloyd