About a year ago, I made the decision to transfer from a university five hours away from my hometown of Chambersburg, to study at Shippensburg University.
Even though I was a mere 15-minute drive from my high school, I felt unacclimated and alone.
So when my friend introduced me to the opportunity to join the homecoming Committee I was excited but slightly apprehensive.
I had been at SU for about three weeks and knew nothing about Homecoming, football or the SU community.
Was I really a good candidate for the orchestration and planning of the most important week in SU school spirit?
Apparently I was. A few days after applying I received an email from one of the advisers for the Homecoming Committee, offering me the position of public relations chairperson — and so it began.
After deciding on the theme for 2012 Homecoming, my first duty was to design a logo that would be plastered on T-shirts, posters and all promotional items.
Having little artistic ability and zero computer design skills, I really thought I was in over my head.
Luckily, every member of the board is assigned a homecoming adviser who they personally meet with weekly to discuss progress and any problems that may arise.
After hours of YouTube tutorials on Adobe InDesign software, tons of help from my adviser and some disastrous rough drafts, the logo was finally created.
Throughout the spring semester the committee planned events to raise a presence on campus, to let students know that homecoming is coming and it is going to be great.
It was my duty to get the word out about these events through fliers, digital signage and online media.
Although at times it was exhausting, looking back at all the tangible advertisement pieces I created is so gratifying.
Even more gratifying is the friendships and experiences I have taken away from my time on the committee.
I never thought in eight months I could grow so much as a leader and a person.
Attending board meetings, “Yay” or “nay”-ing decisions, and being part of a team was something I never really took part in before.
Other than my two-week stint with French club in ninth grade, I never had been involved in extracurricular activities.
Before the Homecoming Committee, I knew nothing about small-group communication or teamwork.
My resume consisted of a bunch of freelance writing and interning I did for various newspapers and magazines through my freshman year, but never design work.
I now have an art portfolio, which I can show to potential employers — never in a million years would I have thought I would have that.
No matter what your career or academic goals are, a leadership position on the Homecoming Committee can give you valuable real-life experience.
The current board consists of communication journalism, psychology, business and education majors, just to name a few.
Every path of life is welcome and diverse talents are needed to make homecoming week a success and fun for everyone.
I have made friends and found mentors that help me in all my pursuits.
The Homecoming Committee is currently accepting applications for next year’s board members and I strongly encourage anyone looking for a gratifying experience in their undergraduate career to apply.