After my summer research, I picked up the community gardens project in ENGL 306 as a part of my undergraduate studies. Even though this project differed in purpose, it continued on with the action research approach that I was familiar with from my previous work. In this setting, however, collaboration became increasingly important. I was now surrounded by thirteen other students who were also involved with the project as a part of the class. In order to reach our goal of raising money for the FCG, we now had to work together to present cohesive and effective work.
This collaboration extended directly into the work of my own team: Advertising and Social Media Relations. One of the key documents that I produced was a press release describing the fundraiser and its purpose. This was important for making the intentions of our fundraiser clear to community members while also providing them with valuable information about how to contribute donations. In order for it to be successful, I needed to collaborate with the rest of the class to make sure that the document was clear and correctly portrayed our ideas. That is why, after producing a first draft of the press release, I shared it in a workshop setting during class. During this time, members from other groups were able to comment on my work and offer ideas for revision. This collaboration made it easier for me to see what type of message to promote in the document and ensured cohesion with the rest of the class’s work.
In addition to the feedback that I was given by my classmates, I also submitted the document to Dr. Scheler, our head editor, to receive additional comments for revision. His initial feedback gave me a lot of direction in ways that I could improve the document, a major note being on the general narrative that I created. He encouraged me to refine the way I defined characters within my work. This is an important tool in clarity to make sure that readers become quickly familiarized with the subjects of your writing. It also encourages you to move from old to new information through the use of connected topic strings, a technique that I was already effectively using. By clearing up the important actors in my writing, and linking my sentence topics to show how they interacted, the overall clarity of the press release was greatly improved.
In a final round of feedback, I was also challenged by Dr. Scheler to work on concision. This tool is an important part of many professional documents, but especially in a press release. Often times, these documents need to be fairly short so that the media outlets that they are disseminated to may craft them into a working document using limited space. I tightened up a lot of the sentences before the press release was sent out so that information was being stated as cleanly and concisely as possible.
After addressing the latest feedback, Dr. Scheler reviewed the document once more, making a few minor changes before the document was ready to be sent out. My team member Mack took on the responsibility of getting the finalized press release into the hands of different media outlets. On top of this, Dr. Scheler condensed our press release down into a 150-word statement that was also publicly sent out by BCCG to reach local community members.
The effectiveness of the press release came mainly in the class’s ability to conceptualize the project as a result of it. Once finalized, it was the first time that a clear image of the fundraiser as a whole was being presented. This allowed all groups to understand the work that they were doing and see where it fit into our timeline throughout the semester. As a result, we were able to carry out a very successful project that exceeded expectations and raised a considerable amount of money for the FCG.