This semester, as part of the Immigration and Refugee Rights issue group, I was able to work with a team to collaboratively develop and execute a social action project to raise awareness for and support a refugee resettlement agency in the DMV area. We were able to raise over $200 to contribute to Mozaic which works with Syrian refugees. We also launched a social media campaign that reached over 100 people which we used to inform the public about the strenuous process undertaken by potential refugees to receive refugee status in the US as well as the mental toll that can take given the difficulty of the process and the lack of support resettled refugees are given. Lastly, we created a website with an informative video that was shared with first year AUx classes that also listed action items for viewers to take to learn about current legislation and sign petitions as well as to donate to various refugee support organizations around the country. Ultimately, we were successful in raising awareness and supporting a local organization.
As a leader, I have gained many valuable skills and experiences as a result of working with my issue group on a social action project and through the leadership labs that we were able to take part in. My organizational and planning skills have greatly improved as, being a member of a team, I wanted to ensure that I was able to support my teammates by keeping myself on track. I also was able to develop my ability to be assertive and share my ideas for potential issues and projects. I found that I became more confident in my role as a leader as well, and often saw myself volunteering to take on tasks when I may not have in the past. Collaborating with my team certainly helped build these skills because each person was supportive and helpful and willing to lend a hand which fostered a very encouraging environment in which I think all of us were willing to put ourselves out there, take charge, and grow.
I was extremely proud of my group both during the planning and implementation phase of our project. We worked very cohesively and collaboratively together and were able to successfully create a plan and execute it. Although there were certainly challenges, such as being unable to find a restaurant to hold a fundraiser, we were able to work around it and instead develop other means to raise money, including online social media approaches that could reach a wider audience. At times we did encounter some conflict as we worked to delegate tasks and ensure that the work was being distributed equally but also trying to base it on our individual strengths, which could be difficult. Since many of us are very involved on and off campus, we sometimes had a hard time getting everything done in a timely manner but rather than have these issues grow and disrupt our project, we figured out ways to resolve them amongst ourselves or by asking for help from our teaching assistant who was always very supportive.