Happy Earth Day!

Today is a day to celebrate the beautiful Earth that we live on and focus on ways to keep it healthy for centuries to come.

Happy Earth Day

I have always tried to do my part to help the environment whether that be recycling, helping clean up local trails and recreation sites, or helping educate others on how they can minimize their impact. This year’s theme is ‘Protecting Our Species’. Protecting our plants and animals from extinction is becoming more difficult but there are ways we can help.

In the past, I’ve been able to donate my time to water sampling to ensure my local lakes are healthy. I’ve been able to head out into a park and clean up invasive species. I’ve been able to teach local high school students about the importance of cleaning up micro-trash along the Colorado River. I’ve been fortunate enough to do these things and more and I hope to continue that work for years to come, as long as I’m able.

I love and firmly believe in the saying to take only pictures and leave only footprints. Leaving no trace is what allows so many people to experience any given area. In Colorado, there are several programs in place to educate people on how to minimize their impact in the wilderness and I hope that everyone that either lives in the area, or are just visiting take into account the simple steps it takes to enjoy yourself and have fun, but not impact the earth while doing so. This video on leaving no trace is a perfect example of how easy it is.

There are of course so many things that you can do to help other than leaving no trace. Pollution of many forms is becoming more and more detrimental to our environment on the planet that we all call home. Simply cleaning up can make a world of difference. There are several organized cleanups every year worldwide for Earth Day, but also many that happen regularly. Get involved and find a cleanup in your area. If there isn’t one, create one.

Being aware of what is happening to our earth is crucial to making a change for the future. There are several international and national organizations that are set in place to safeguard our future and combat the destruction occurring every day.  Not only is the earth itself suffering, but the creatures living on it are as well, we included.

For Earth Day this year, I am setting up a monthly donation to The Nature Conservancy.  Even though I can’t make a large donation, I know that a little can go a long way. Five dollars today could go towards providing sustainable food and water sources that could aid an entire community. Five dollars could be that final bit to protect a water source or a piece of land.

Every little thing that we can do as humans will add up and make an impact on our future generations. Volunteer or donate today to make a difference in your community.

 

I Went to Vegas For A Work Trip

Yes. I. Did.

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Every year the company I work for puts together a three-day conference for the properties’ managers to go over important changes, announces, updates, etc. Well since my position is brand new to the company I became an update and was invited to attend to present my position and what I have planned for the company as the Marketing and Communications Coordinator.

And if you didn’t know, my mother also works for the company and since she is a manager of a property we got to go together.

I had never been to Las Vegas so we went a couple days early to explore and have a bit of fun. We packed in quite a bit in the two days before the conference and I had a blast.

The first day our flight was delayed so we made the best of it by going shopping in Denver and then having a drink at the airport. When we finally arrived in Vegas we dumped our bags and headed to Fremont Street. If you haven’t been to Fremont Street you should. The old school Vegas strip was magical with the overhead lights and street performers.

The second day was a lot of walking and shopping up and down the strip before having dinner and seeing a show. Now I’m a huge magic fan and who doesn’t love a good laugh, so naturally Piff the Magic Dragon seemed the logical show choice. And it definitely was. The small and intimate venue was perfect for my first show and I highly recommend seeing him if you can.

The following day my mom and I threw in a bit more shopping before the conference started at noon. I was certainly a bit nervous meeting everyone in person. I had emailed everyone before but obviously hadn’t met anyone face-to-face. From the start, I felt very welcomed. The first day was meetings and presentations which ended in a super fun cooking activity. We all piled into Ubers and Lyfts and headed to a team Chopped-style competition. It was a great bonding experience that ended with great food. Plus my team won, not to brag or anything.

The second day was a full day of meetings and presentations, my own presentation included. I felt like my presentation went very well and I feel very confident that the managers, regional directors and the president are excited to see what I can bring to the table. The best part about working for this company is that everyone’s in it together even though we are spread out across North America. Did I mention we have a property in Canada and one in Costa Rica?

The After Party Gang

That night we had a private party in the Cosmopolitan above a night club. The night club was closed but the open bar and bomb appetizers we had at our party made up for it. It felt luxurious and I felt very important and like part of the family. We all had a wonderful time and got to hang out as friends rather than coworkers which I think is a large component to having happy employees.

Unfortunately, the last day came and went quickly and we headed home. Goodbyes were quick and more like ”see you laters” as we all headed our separate ways.

Overall, I felt very welcomed and very excited to have been invited. I met a lot of wonderful people and I can’t wait to work even more closely with them.

I don’t think I would have ever been able to say that I went to Las Vegas for a work conference, but now I have and who knows, I might be invited back again next year.

The Art of Packing…and Unpacking

So I’ve recently moved from my apartment in Oregon to my mom’s two-bedroom apartment in Colorado. Because I was prepared for the move (as graduation would end my time in Eugene), I began packing two weeks in advance.

The little items that I knew I wouldn’t need went into cardboard boxes and plastic tubs first. Then as time began to dwindle, my clothes went into suitcases and then finally the big items were dismantled and placed in neat piles awaiting moving day.

The only furniture I took was a 9-cube storage shelf and the rest was sold so that wasn’t an issue when it came to cramming everything into my small SVU and the minivan my mom rented for the two-day drive. I have to say it was an easy packing experience. I had more things than I originally thought, but it all fit without a problem.

The problem came though when I returned home. Now since I had been at school for three years, my mother took over my bedroom and closet, which means when I moved back, space was tight. My top bunk is now unusable as there are boxes, bags and everything in-between taking up the full-size space. My poor cat isn’t even able to hide up there.

I also have plastic bins piled near the already full closet, so getting to things requires some moving. So to say it simply, my room is crowded and I’ve barely unpacked because there just isn’t anywhere to put things.

And if you know me personally, you know that I like to be organized so it’s driving me a bit crazy. Luckily, or hopefully, really, I will be able to leave my items packed so they can be easily moved to a new location. (Stay tuned for details on that)

What I’ve learned from moving multiple times to and from school and from apartment to storage unit and back again, is that you have to have a method to your madness. For me, organization is key. It may be easy to just throw everything into one box and then fill the next one and so on, but putting like objects in the same box make things that much easier when it comes to unpacking.

For instance: I had two different side tables with drawers and a bunch of random items in each drawer. What helped me was keeping electronics in one box, office supplies in another and keeping soft goods (sheets and blankets) in bags or suitcases. This makes it easier when unpacking and not having to rip through every box trying to find that one cord for the TV. Also remember to label everything. That way you know where boxes need to go and what’s in each.

Another thing I learned from moving multiple times in only a couple of years, is to invest in plastic bins that can be reused for moving and for general storage afterwards. I have large bins that I used for heavier items like books and DVDs that came in handy when storing other things after being moved in. (And yes, I still own and buy DVDs)

And the big final lesson that I’ve learned is to purge before you move. Packing time is a great opportunity to go through and clean out the old. Plus it gives you some extra space. When I pack my clothes I ask myself if I’ve worn it recently, how often I’ve worn it in the past year and if I can see myself buying it again. If I haven’t worn it recently (and it isn’t a seasonal item) then it goes in the ‘maybe’ pile. If I’ve worn it less than 7-10 times in the past year, then it goes in the donate/sell pile. And if I don’t see myself buying it again, then it belongs in the bag to Goodwill.

Though I’ve moved a lot and packed and unpacked many boxes, I don’t mind the process. It’s refreshing to go through my personal items and see what I really need to keep and what I can live without.

There’s definitely an art to the packing game but everyone can find their own rythm and find what works best for them.

Here are some other sites/sources that I found helpful in my organization and art of moving:

 

P.S. I don’t have a dashund, I just thought it was a cute picture.

 

 

The Art of Giving

Last Thursday the University of Oregon had its third annual #DucksGive event. As someone who works directly with Annual Giving for the university, this day is very special to me. It’s also my third and final #DucksGive as a student fundraiser.

I began as a student fundraiser my freshman year in the fall and this year I will finish my spring term as a senior as a student supervisor. The Annual Giving Program Telefund was my first and only college job. I never thought in a million years that I would have the confidence to cold call people and ask them for money, but I did, and $33,000 later I can say that I feel like I’ve made an impact at the UO.

The #DucksGive event also makes a large impact on the University and I’m always proud to say that I’m a part of that day. This year we broke records and brought in $1,011,000 through 1,900 donations. Next year I hope to get a call from a student and donate myself on that day.

Many people don’t know about the importance of donating to academics because they don’t realize that majority of tuition doesn’t cover all the extras. The wonderful programs on the all the Mac computers in Allen Hall that I use every term aren’t covered by tuition. The advising that helps us all stay on track to graduate isn’t covered by tuition. All the little things that students take for granted are most likely because an alum, a parent or a friend of the university took the time to say “Yeah, I’ll give $50.”

Over the past three years, I’ve gained skills that not only allowed me to feel more comfortable as a verbal communicator but also more comfortable as an advocate. I advocate for affordable education and the resources to make that education the best it can be.

As a former student caller from the University of Oregon to a supervisor about to graduate and leave an alumna, I hope to give back like all that have before me.

Thank you #DucksGive for being a wonderful success.

Crash Course: Building Your Personal Brand

If you’ve ever taken a weekend class or workshop in a condensed time period you know how hard it is to try to get as much information absorbed as possible.

This past weekend I took my second weekend-workshop at the SOJC focused on building my own personal brand and working on my public relations portfolio. At the end of this term, I will be presenting my portfolio to a panel of professionals. Nervous? You bet.

The biggest takeaway from the workshop was to always put in my personal touch and to always keep it simple. If you get to crazy with the Canva templates it’s going to look too busy and you’re going to lose your audience.

I was able to step out of my comfort zone during the workshop as well. We were all tasked to create an elevator speech in 10 minutes and present it to the class. I was extremely nervous but it was great practice. I’ve learned that my phone calling skills have transferred to my public speaking skills.

Being confident is key.

On the portfolio side of things, simplicity is important and presenting your work in the form of a story is what’s going to make you unique and standout. The challenge is picking the best story and the best pieces to accommodate that story.

I’m still working on my own personal portfolio piece, but I know with the help of my professor Kathryn Kuttis, I’ll hopefully find the best of the best to display.

Stay tuned for the final product!

Crash Course: Event Planning

Two weekends ago I was fortunate enough to take a weekend workshop through the Univesity’s School of Journalism and Communication focused on event planning.

I was able to take in a lot of information from the two-day crash course and I’m even able to work on an inaugural event that will kick off in five short weeks. It’s going to be a challenge but there’s a team of us so I’m hoping everyone can pull their own weight and we can kick-off an awesome event.

I’ve learned some key elements of event planning and I thought I would share what I learned here.

Firstly, I didn’t realize that event planning truly spans across many different categories. Event planning is one of those industries that will almost always be around. Nonprofit to for-profit to sports and government, events are always going to be needed. And of course, the private event industry with the top category of weddings will always be around.

Event planning is more than just throwing together a couple of decorations and the food menu, it’s much more. Many events are usually planned out a year in advance because of the complexity of certain elements. Most plans are broken down into five (or six) phases.

  • Phase 1: Research (1 year out): You have to know what the budget is going to look like, what type of audiences you need to reach and if the event is even possible.
  • Phase 2: Plan (9 months out): Planning is really the whole thing, but this phase is picking a date, picking your team and finding a venue.
  • Phase 3: Designing and Promoting (3 months out): Pick a theme and send out those “Save the Dates” but also get permits for your venue/food and beverage.
  • Phase 4: Ticket Sales and Media (4-5 weeks out): Self-explanatory but get advertisements out and sell tickets. Also, meet with your venue and caterer for menu specifics.
  • Phase 5: Week of the Event – Day of the Event: Practice, decorate, perform.
  • Phase 6: After the Event (the week after): Take a break and send out thank yous.

Another large aspect of event planning that I never thought about was planning for the unexpected. Always have contingency plans in place for whatever might go wrong. If the catering truck loses power or if the venue’s ballroom floods, it’s important to have a backup plan.

Though the workshop was only two days, it was a great learning experience and I’m hoping to implement what I’ve learned in my future career wherever I might end up.

Stay tuned for the results of my own event come Week 10 of my last term of college.

Also, stay tuned for my next crash course: Public Relations Portfolios.

 

 

 

Half-Way There

It’s the start of week five of spring term already. It’s unbelievable, to say the least. I’m about to launch head first into my public relations campaign for my final PR class, my first midterm for my business management class was last Thursday and I just threw a graduation cap decorating party on Saturday.

Where is the time going?

I can’t believe that I have just six short weeks until I finish my final term of college. I’ve been thinking a lot about how much is going to change and it’s frightening, but also exciting. I’ve been seriously considering and debating the exact things that I want to do to start off my professional career.

Choosing a job to start off with isn’t going to be an easy task, but I have a good idea about how to further my professional skills with any job that comes across my path. The first stage of stepping into the career world is the most important in my eyes. It’s where we can get our toes wet and decide the next big step.

I’ve been extremely interested in social media lately and my internship is helping me discover that I could have a fun time organizing and scheduling posts for a company that I share values with.

I’m heading up the social media plan for FOOD for Lane County’s Instagram and planning to launch a campaign featuring employees and long-term volunteers expressing what FFLC means to them. (Stay tuned.)

I’m also trying to finalize a written legacy for my social media position for Alpha Phi Omega because I want to leave a set of good practices for the next media position. Our current exec board wants to officially make the position a year-round vice president position, so I want to leave as much as I can in place. (Also stay tuned.)

Overall this term seems to be going by so quick, but also so slow. Graduation is quickly approaching and I want to get as much into my portfolio as possible without overdoing it. Let’s see how that goes.

 

 

The Oregon Trip +2

I’ve been really behind on these posts, but I think it’s about time I buckled down and wrote about my spring break.

I was fortunate enough to have my two best friends from back home come to visit me here in Oregon. They both have never been so it was fun to explore and take them all around.

We started on the coast and were able to catch this beautiful sunset. Of course, the first day was beautiful, but in true Oregon fashion, the weather turned cold and rainy. That didn’t keep us from exploring and having a good time.

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I was also able to show them the beautiful Oregon campus that I fell in love with and Eugene’s finest hike, Spencer Butte.

We also spent a day wandering around in Bend where I haven’t spent much time before.

We then finished off the trip up north near Mt. Hood and Hood River where my friend Olivia was able to see the historic Timberline Lodge.

It seemed like a short trip that ended too quickly, but it was fun nonetheless. It’s always great spending time with old friends. Even though we all went our separate ways for college, we always manage to keep in touch.

This was my first time really exploring Oregon, even though I’ve been here for three years. It was made even better with my two best friends.

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Travel is a passion I have that has been on hold because of my education and well, lack of funds. Travelling is important to the soul in my opinion and essential to happiness. I’m hoping this summer when I’m more free that I can travel or at least go on some short adventures locally in Colorado.

 

 

Winter Term, Status: Complete

I’m a little late on this post, but my last winter term at the University of Oregon is complete and the next, and final step, is spring term.

Winter term was full of late nights and busy weekends. Classes were challenging, but then again they might have only seemed that way because senioritis has definitely kicked in. My public relations class that I had to make a separate blog for was the one that required the most work.

The class definitely tested my writing and communication skills, but I feel like I’ve become a better writer because of all the challenges. I thankfully have the same professor for my final, capstone class this term which is hopefully going to be fun and not super stressful. A girl can dream, right?

The other class that I was super sad to see end was my Strategic Social Media class with my favorite professor and advisor Kelli Matthews. It was a great class that I learned so much in. We were grouped up and paired with a real-world client that need help with their social media and I was lucky enough to be assigned Food for Lane County which is Eugene’s local food bank distributor. The project was a huge success and it resulted in me interning for them this spring!

It will be my first ever internship so I’m excited but also very nervous. I’ll keep you updated on that.

The other classes I had were good but not as exciting as my major classes. ASL, of course, is great and I’m learning a ton from that as well.

Overall it was a great term and I’m super excited for spring term. It’s my last term of college so it’s essentially the last hoorah.

Pics or it Didn’t Happen

I recently wrote this post for my class PR blog and as an individual hoping to increase my social media presence and connection with the brands I use, I thought it deserved a post on this blog.

Every adventure deserves to be documented.  “Pics or it didn’t happen” has become the mantra for the millennial generation and everyone definitely takes that to heart. Between 85 and 89 percent of millennials are active on Facebook and 59 percent on Instagram. So it isn’t surprising to see more posts popping up about everything from little daily activities to large life events.

In a recent article from Adventure Collective, millennials are posting about their adventures in real time. They want to experience the event, snap a picture, post it and continue on the journey. Documenting the adventure step by step has become a culture. Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram stories makes this process as easy as 1-2-3. When that one picture is just too good to only be up for 24 hours, it gets posted on a timeline rather than just on the story.

With this technology connection, millennials have changed the social aspect of travel. Millennials tend to travel more as groups and when they post about it on social media that group expands to followers and online friends. Every moment of an outdoor adventure is documented and posted online for everyone to enjoy.

So how can an outdoor company take advantage of this connection? Be on social media.

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On average, 75 percent of millennials on vacation post every day. How much more reach would a company get if that millennial posting about her trip to Arches National Park used #camelbak in her description? If the hashtag brought a friend to other posts, and eventually to Camelbak’s Instagram, it could create a potential new customer.

Tapping into the already established social media presence of outdoor active millennials could prove very beneficial to brands. If a brand made it easy to be tagged in posts on Instagram alone, it could expand the company’s reach to consumers. Creating a simple hashtag is even easier.

Take Chaco Footwear for example. The popular adventure sandal company created #chaconation for customers to share their journeys. The hashtag is easy, simple and memorable. With more than 50,000 posts on Instagram, it’s easy to see what other’s are doing while wearing their Chacos.

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When a millennial backpacks to a small lake in Colorado and posts with #chaconation she connects with the community of Chaco wearers. But she also created a link for her followers to connect with #chaconation, expanding the brand’s reach.

Creating a simple hashtag for consumers to connect online allows a brand to develop its reach without much effort. Since millennials are already active online and documenting their experiences, they are an easy demographic to tap into. All a brand has to do is find that easy hashtag to create a movement.

What other brands have created this easy link for its customers?

Working Well with Clientele

As my winter term is coming to an end, client work is in full go-mode. I wrote this post at the beginning of the term for my class blog #SOJCssm (Strategic Social Media). I wrote it because working with clients is a great experience for college PR students, but it’s also challenging.

blog post from Shift Communications gives some quick tips on how to work best with clients. I think the most important tip is to go above and beyond for your client. That may be hard to do as a student with a million other responsibilities, but is there anything to lose if you do go above and beyond? As a student, any experience, whether big or small, is going to make an impact on our education. Going above and beyond for that client and having tangible evidence of hard work is what is going to make the client the happiest. They’re going to recognize that you truly care about their mission and appreciate the work you’ve put in.

It may be easiest to do the cookie-cutter standard of whatever the client wants, but don’t be afraid to step outside of the box and try something new. Worldwide Breast Cancer did just that when talking about breast cancer awareness with their #KnowYourLemons campaign. Who would have thought that using lemons would be an easy way to talk about breast cancer? Be prepared: the best policy to thinking outside the box is to always have those ideas planned out and ready to present to the client. Be ready for questions, be prepared to defend your idea and expect to perfect it.

From my own experience working with clients, the most important thing is to talk with them. Really listen to what they need and what they want. Don’t be afraid to reach out to ask them questions. Ask them to clarify. Ask them to be specific. Be an active listener and take notes. They want to hear your ideas and work through those ideas with you. If you can, set up a meeting time with them as often as possible to just chat and get all the information you can. The more information you have, the easier the project will be.

And of course, we are all working together as teams. Meet often and stay in contact: communication is key. Make sure you are all on the same page and understand the overall goal. Stay on top of things and manage these next seven weeks effectively.

Stay tuned for what I do for my client this term, Food for Lane County.

Stressing Through Senior Year

It’s senior year of college. I’m stressed to the max. Surprising? Nope.

According to the American Institute of Stress, eight out of ten college students are stressed on a daily basis. I can attest that is pretty accurate.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how stressful college life is. Finding a balance between class time, class work, group projects, work, relationships, a social life, volunteering, club meetings and more. There isn’t enough time in the day to do everything and to put in 100% of my effort into those tasks.

I personally feel like managing stress is important, but how could I possibly have time for that as well? Some people have found solace in yoga or meditation. My roommate is one of those individuals. She takes a yoga class every day and does it at home as well. It works for her. She has the time and it helps ground her. I honestly wish I had that time. When I do have time, I usually find myself in bed watching something on an online streaming source.

I recently ended a relationship that I really wasn’t prepared to end, but it caused me so much stress that I found my “me time” was dwindling away and eventually disappeared. My stress was through the roof and I couldn’t handle it.

I’ve learned that in many ways you have to take care of yourself before you take care of those around you. I’ve always been so caring of others, it took me until my senior year of college to make the realization that I need to take care of me. Stress isn’t healthy and I’ve been described as the “most stressed person I know” from friends and that’s upset me. I don’t want to be stressed. I want to feel alright come next term when I approach the finish line of college.

My class schedule last term was 20 credits with 20 hours of work and probably 10 hours of service group work. I was busy, stressed and worried about the future. This term I’m at 16 credits, but still 20 hours of work and 10 hours of service group work. I’m considerably less stressed this term even though I’m going into week eight of a 10-week term. I’ve found time to relax and support myself.

I’ve found a couple things that work for stressing less in the past couple weeks and I’d like to share them with you, just in case you’re like me and haven’t found anything that works.

  1. Meal prep. I don’t know why I found it soothing but I know it made me feel prepared for the days or even week ahead.
  2. Making a list. To-Do list, shopping list, books I want to read list, movies I want to see list, meal plan list (see number 1).
  3. Writing it all out. Now a blog might not be the best place to put down all your stressful feelings, but finding other things to challenge that through and writing that on a blog or even in a journal has helped me.

I hope someone else finds these helpful.

As always, stay tuned for more.