Outside organizations can help gain experience for your journalism major

Way back into September, actually the first week of school, all 5,000 freshmen attended the student organization fair on College Green. Overwhelming? Yes. What should I join and should I pick something that is not related to journalism? What would be the point?

I ended up joining Student Senate and have found the work I do in the organization actually tying into journalism. For example, this past week I helped Student Senate with Athens Beautification Day and gained experience in advertising, which is something that I am considering going into when the school switches to tracks.I really enjoyed getting out of the classroom and putting my skills into action. The real-life practice of advertising gave me a better grasp of what the track is about and that experience will help me  in future projects.

On Athens Beautification Day  hundreds of students participate in cleaning up the city in various ways such as painting over graffiti, picking up garbage and planting flowers on a Saturday morning. .

Our Athens Beautification Day committee started planning the event in the Fall. We focused on gaining sponsors and advertisers for the event. We needed money for supplies like gloves and shovels and had to solicit local businesses for donations. We also needed hundreds of volunteers and had to figure out ways to spark their interests.

Many of us in the committee went up and down Court Street in downtown Athens and pitched the idea of Athens Beautification Day to business owners. It was important to bring a packet with all the details and then to call back about two weeks later to see if the business could donate.

After we had the money donated we were able to design shirts that helped advertise the event as well as the businesses that supported us. We all voted on the graphics of the shirt. We wanted them to be  aesthetically pleasing so that  students  would notice them and want to get involved.

The front of the Athens Beautification Day shirt

The back with presenters and supports of Athens Beautification Day
Banners were then made and put in prime spots around campus for publicity. The best spot was on traffic lights at the corner of Washington and Court Street.

Athens Beautification Day banner on Court Street created interest for many students.

We contacted the local radio station, POWER 105.5 where announcements were made on-air and local newspapers like The Athens Messenger and The Post to run advertisements for us. We eventually had almost 900 volunteers!

Carly Damman, a freshman, volunteered because she saw the banner on Court Street. “I noticed that it was new and so I  looked online for Athens Beautification Day because it sounded interesting.”

The use of social media was huge in gaining volunteers. A Facebook event was created where we invited many students. It also gave us an idea of how many people would show up on that Saturday. With Twitter many of us publicized the event by using hash tags. When Athens Beautification Day arrived the weather was not cooperating and we had to change our location for registration to an indoor facility. With Twitter, many of us tweeted to fellow students and other volunteers that, “#AthensBeautificationDay ‘s registration is moved to Bromley Hall today!”

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