Joan Blades visiting Millersville University

On Wednesday, Joan Blades, co-founder of MoveOn.org, MomsRising.org, author and founder of Living Room Conversations, held a conversation panel on Millersville University’s campus. 

I had the opportunity to help assist in preparing for Ms. Blades visit on the campus and it was a lot of work, but it was worth it in the end. (Isn’t it always?)

She began her presentation with a PowerPoint very briefly explaining her various endeavors such as a software company, Moveon.org, Momsrising.org and Living Room Conversations. When discussing Moveon.org, she said it began by one statement she and her husband wrote and sent to friends and family, which then got sent even further around and gained thousands of signatures of support to send to Congress. She also mentioned how “small donations” add up when a campaign is going on. She gave the example of the “We will remember” campaign in 2000 in which Moveon.org raised $2.3 million in donations.  Since 1998, there have been three viral movements and thousands of organizations using Moveon.org as an online empowerment.

Momsrising.org is a “back burner issue” has she called it. The organization is focused on maternity leave for mothers, equal salary and sick days. Joan Blades also brought a guest with her, Kiki Peppard who has made it her mission to pass a law in Pennsylvania so that interviewers can not ask a woman or a man if they are married or have kids because she feels that it hurts some individuals from getting a job.

Blades’ book, The Custom-Fit Workplace, is a guide to “choose when, where, and how to work with a family” because everyone “deserves a job that fits” their lifestyle. In the book she also discusses flexible and virtual workplaces, modern career tracks and how mother’s should be allowed to bring their babies to work if there is no child care available. Going along with the topic of the workplace, Blades also briefly discussed the “Formal Result Workplace” in which businesses such as Gap and the Girl Scouts of America, do not keep track of time, they just keep track of what they are getting done and the results that arise because of that.

Living Room Conversations started as six people discussing a topic such as war, politics and healthcare breaking bread together. Blades said “We live in self-segregated communities…[and]…participants find common ground when they felt heard and learned something about other’s views” during a Living Room Conversation. There are six ground rules to having a Living Room Conversation: be curious, show respect, look for common ground, be authentic, be purposeful and own and guide the conversation.

By having Ms. Blades on Millersville’s campus, I hope her presentation will encourage students and faculty to think about discussing issues that may not have any impact on our grades, but assist in learning knowledge in different ways.

I also had the opportunity to live tweet for my social media campaign’s class using the hashtag, #getsocialMU to encourage students on Millersville’s campus to participate more in social media topics. It was a fun experience to be able to tweet information from a guest speaker and I learned a lot about being able to communicate effective information to those who could not attend the event.

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I am personally glad Millersville University brought in Ms. Blades and I would encourage the university to be able to bring in more speakers like this.

What I have noticed

For the past three months, I have been working on a invitation list for the inauguration of our new president at the university. As of today, we have over 700 names of higher education leadership individual, community leaders, and some others.

What I have noticed upon all my research is that, no matter how easy we say the internet is, it really isn’t.

When researching higher education leadership individuals, such as presidents or chancellors, I have found I have to go through pages and pages on a university’s website, just to get a name…getting an address is a whole other issue. Most of the time I just give up and call the university’s toll-free number. However, these are usually student workers (such as myself) answering the phones and they always laugh when I ask for a mailing address or say, “check our website.” Why don’t they have information readily available on the internet. Possibly because they don’t want anyone to have it.

Another thing I have noticed is higher education websites are all NOT the same. Take for example, Vassar College in New York. Their landing page looks so beautiful. My first thought was “wow, this is an elegant school.” Then I clicked on “About” on the top right hand corner, and it went to a very girly looking landing page. Just to see what happened, I back tracked, and tried to go through their “Info & Resources” and again, it is nothing like the first landing page, although a lot better than the “About” page. What really surprised me is the President’s page. After going through several clicks, I found this page. IT LOOKS NOTHING LIKE ANY OF THE OTHER PAGES ASSOCIATED TO THE COLLEGE!

So the moral of this, keep your content consist and easy to find.