EL PASO — I belong to art and photography groups in El Paso and a couple are non-profit organizations. In one, I serve on the Board of Managers.
The President of that association was looking to change the style of leadership that had been used. The President empowered the Board saying take charge of your responsibilities, think outside the box, if you need assistance let me know.
How did I become involved? I thought outside the box. I am interested in becoming involved where I can apply what I learn in my classes while studying for a Bachelors Degree in Multimedia Journalism at The University of Texas at El Paso.
Between working to pay bills and expenses, going to school, doing class assignments, and creating artwork to exhibit, I really didn’t have time to become involved with student activities.
Internships, co-operative work/study programs at Universities and Colleges are great programs to participate in. But what if you aren’t able to participate in them? Then there are the other factors, with internships, employment, etc. such as the number of positions available are limited and not all applicants can be hired. What do you do? Think outside the box.
As a member in the organization I receive their mailed monthly newsletters. In November the thought hit me that this really was not a good way to put information out.
It provided information, but I needed to wait one month between newsletters. The people receiving the newsletters were members. Advertising and press releases were sent out, but what were printed about events were short paragraphs or blurbs. The El Paso art community deserves more than a side note.
I came across a site where you could create a newspaper and thought it should be used instead. I went and talked with the President who liked the idea and told me to write a proposal to present at the next board meeting. I created the proposal and presented it and was told to run with it. I created the online newspaper site, a YouTube account, a Facebook account, and a Twitter account.
Later I became the VP of Newsletter. But when I proposed replacing the mailed newsletter with the online newspaper conflict ensued. Every type of excuse as to why not to do it was given. The measure came before the Board for a vote and it passed anyway.
Office politics and cliques exist in organizations that believe that things should be done only their way. Why? They consider themselves institutions because of their long membership.
Becoming an institution within an organization is the worst thing a person can strive for. Businesses as institutions are a good thing. It means they have established themselves. When individuals become institutions, on the other hand, that means they are outdated, outmoded, and obsolete. I’d rather be an icon — someone others want to emulate.
Meeting interesting people is what I have enjoyed the most in the various art and photography groups. Especially when I participate in meetings, contests and exhibits.
With some, I have received constructive criticism on my photography, which has helped me grow as an artist. In others, I have learned a lot about the art scene in El Paso, whether as a participant in art exhibits or while reporting for the online newspaper. This includes preparing, planning, and holding art events like the one I organized as a fundraiser for the newspaper in April. I plan to use this same information in the future to create exhibits of my own artwork.
Through this experience I have gained knowledge that I can use to forward my endeavors and once I graduate, I just may have that little extra power to put me over the top against other job applicants when the time comes.