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If you haven’t read it already, you may have had it recommended to you by a friend, or noticed it on someone’s bookshelf in the background of a Zoom call. Atomic Habits by James Clear is a great, fast-paced read, and it doesn’t hurt that it has a shimmering gold cover (the hardcover version, at least) which is mesmerizing and pretty to look at.

Below are three key concepts that stuck with me in the days and weeks after I finished the book. …

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[Disclaimer: Please consult your financial advisor to learn about what might work best for your situation. I am not a financial expert. The following advice is based on my (current but always evolving) research and what works for me. You do you. Never blindly take financial advice from people on the internet without doing your own research.]

We all grow up learning different tips and tricks about money. Maybe you were told to steer clear of credit cards, avoid leases like the devil, pay cash for cars, and then told “good luck” as you headed out into the world. Maybe…

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This is going to be a difficult holiday season for all of us.

From a very young age, I remember being brainwashed into thinking our house needs to look like Kevin McCallister’s house in order to have a proper Christmas. The monolithic tree. Oodles of ribbons and wreaths. Food, lights, sweaters, candles, love masquerading as passive-aggressive compliments. But that’s (mostly) Hollywood. That’s not always reality. In reality, holidays are supposed to be about one thing only: family.

For many of us who will stay home and FaceTime and Zoom and play JackBox and Among Us during the holidays, it will…

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TL;DR: I received 155 Trump emails in 30 days. All emails used ego-inflating communication techniques similar to QVC call-in shows and late-night Ginsu knife commercials touting artificial scarcity.

A few months ago, I signed up for Trump’s emails. It was radio silence all summer, until September 1st when they started to arrive.

I created a Gmail filter that funneled them into a folder affectionately named “Trump Trash”. I was curious to see what he was sending out. Of course, reading them would spike my blood pressure and turn me into an agitated grump for the rest of the day. But…

Neon sign in the shape of a like and comment button.
Neon sign in the shape of a like and comment button.

TL;DR — We need a new definition of the word “advertising.” Social media represents the opinions of only a very small and very loud group of people. Get your news from at least three sources. Reduce social media usage and read more books. Social media perpetuates “othering”, which is the root cause of many of the greatest human atrocities.

Social media is eroding the fabric of our society, and we should all chuck our phones into the ocean, escape to the mountains, and live out our remaining days in yurts. Am I right? Well, not exactly. If you’re like me…

TL;DR — 1. Operate first as a media company, and second as a university department. 2. Prioritize campaigns that show students who they can become after college. 3. Aggressively amplify your areas of differentiation and De-emphasize areas of similarity.

Your Department is a Media Company

Gary V. Love him or hate him. Admittedly, I’m a fanboy, and I think he’s one of the smartest marketers today. In a YouTube rant back in 2003, he proposed the idea “You are media company first and foremost, and a [your type of business] second.” In higher education, this means those who are reacting and documenting what is occurring around…

Fahrenheit, that is. It’s the temperature required to melt bronze — an alloy composed mostly of copper and a sprinkle of other ingredients. Not unlike the oxygen we breathe or the water that lives within the cells of our bodies, bronze at one time had a close relationship to humankind from birth to death. It’s more than a metal. It’s something to be respected. Perhaps even revered.

I spent many nights and early mornings working as a student monitor in the UC Santa Cruz foundry and metal shop, entering at night with a backpack full of PowerBars and Redbulls, and…

But first, let me tell you about a situation I experienced in the past, and you may have experienced something similar.

Okay… It’s time for the team meeting. You sit around a table with your colleagues, and your boss starts recounting the big projects that are approaching next semester. Fundraising season is on the horizon, a new lecture series is starting soon and several faculty members closely affiliated with your department are teaching a new experimental class. Oh, and don’t forget that presidential initiative to support and increase diversity on campus!

All positive updates — great stuff! But then…


By 2018, the average inbox will get slammed with an average of 97 emails per day (1). For most college students, add to this a mix student club announcements, academic advising updates, financial aid notifications, or homework reminders from professors. And if you’re an active social media user (like most students are), you may have status or account notifications from multiple channels and apps. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Snapchat, oh my!

The email inbox of a college freshman is a noisy, chaotic battlefield of dozens of different messages clawing for attention. And now it’s your job to cut through the noise…

Chris Alexander

Senior Director of Digital Communications & Brand Experience at NYU School of Global Public Health / Podcast Producer / Occasional Bowhunter

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