Friday, April 13, 2012

Horizontal, Not Lying Down

This article really hits home.

Especially this thought, toward the bottom of the article: "Given the hierarchical structures of most organizations, we will still have upward career paths. More and more however, the real contributors will be the process owners and project leaders that are able to provide horizontal leadership. To support this shift, organizations will need to reward and recognize horizontal contributions as much, if not more, than hierarchical positions."

I've spent all lot of energy over the past 6 years working to increase the recognition of my and my colleagues' (who share my job title) contributions to our organization. Because of the hierarchical nature of the organization, it has been a challenge 'changing hearts and minds' . . but it has paid off. This year I've managed a few projects I wouldn't have been trusted with a few years ago!

One of these projects was the Live Green Film Festival. I created the promos and brought together 10 partners from different departments around the University. Here's a recap of the event:

The first annual HRL-sponsored sustainability film festival was held on March 24th in the beautiful Science Teaching and Student Services building.

Three captivating documentaries were shown: "Tapped," which examines the privatization of public water systems by the powerful bottled water industry; "Fresh," about alternatives to our wasteful and unhealthy food production system; and "Mother Nature's Child", which discusses the barriers to outdoor activity amongst urban youth and the benefits to raising children with an appreciation and a sense of stewardship for the environment.

We were priviledge to have many on-campus partners involved with the event, hosting resource tables and facilitating discussions, with the goal of presenting opportunities for involvement in campus and community programs addressing the issues brought up in the films. Our partners were:

  • IonE - River Life + National Park Service River Rangers
  • Minnesota Public Interest Research Group
  • The Women’s Center
  • University Recycling Center
  • Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture
  • The U of MN School of Public Health
  • University Dining Services
  • U Students Like Good Food
  • Center for Outdoor Adventure
  • Institute for Child Development
  • The Shirley Moore Lab School

Given the unseasonably warm and sunny weather, attendance was good and participants remarked that the event was “totally worth attending.”

The second project was the Live Green Newsletter that I edited and then formatted in Google sites. I started by trying to get it uploaded on our department's website, but that was a clunky and frustrating endeavor, requiring me to go through two other people for approvals and have one of them upload all images. Google sites is not a perfect format, but gave me much more autonomy and took a quarter of the time to complete. The format is not ideal - I would like to have had all the article titles in the main body instead of in the nav bar - but the nav bar allows the reader to jump to any article from anywhere in the newsletter. Anyway, I may still fiddle with it a bit when I get some time.

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