Reflecting back to the beginning of the semester much like my classmates, I had no idea what to expect when signing up for this class. My assumption when signing up was that the course was something along the lines of unveiling facts on miscellaneous topics (of course only taking into consideration the title) Little did I know how much the class would actually entail involving service learning, blogging, social media, and quite a number of makes (food related activities) to be completed.
At the beginning of the semester we all had a choice of three non-profits to work with, the most unfamiliar to everyone in our class was the nonprofit, ReEstablish Richmond. Originally, I volunteered to be a part of the Peter Paul group because it seemed the most straightforward as to what they do and I also was interested in working with kids. However, no one had volunteered to work with ReEstablish Richmond and that was when my group members and I volunteered to work with them. Throughout the semester we ran into several halts from moving forward with the nonprofit because of limited jobs for the nonprofit to assign us as well as consistent change in projects given to us.
(this is a photo of our first meeting with Kimberly Compton from ReEstablish Richmond and the link provided is a blog entry on the details of our first meeting)
For example, when we first met with our client it was understood that we would be interviewing the refugees on matters relating to where they came from, what their favorite food in their home country was, what their favorite food in the United States is, and their overall transition. We as a group were actually really excited to meet the refugees, conduct the interviews, and to understand their perspectives on coming to the United States. We had considered videotaping the interviews as well as documenting our interviews in still shots. Then later two-three weeks after this was established and waiting on dates for us to interview the refugees, we were informed that we were no longer conducting the interviews. Similar to this scenario where plans had changed is similar to our overall experience with the nonprofit for the entire semester.
(the links provided below are in chronological order of how often plans had changed for us)
However, towards the end of the semester we were able to help out during one of their fundraiser events where we all mingled among the patrons of Baker’s Crust and let them know about ReEstablish Richmond, what they do, how they can have fifteen percent of their meal order donated to the nonprofit, and sold raffle tickets for a purse made by one of the Burmese refugees. During this event and with the different components we were assigned to regarding the event (e.g. creating a flier, facebook page, sharing the page, and promoting the event as a whole) is probably the one time of the semester where we felt remotely useful to the nonprofit. Our group members were always present at every meeting we had with ReEstablish Richmond and of course our touch base meetings—which indicated that our group was reliable and willing to help with all aspects relating to the nonprofit and our class. Myself personally, I love doing volunteer work and working with nonprofits and I really wished we could of gotten more involved with the nonprofit and had been able to do more for them. Although, despite the difficulties when working with our client it was neat to learn that a nonprofit like ReEstablish Richmond existed and to learn all aspects of what they do to help the refugees get established in the United States.
Within this class we also did a lot of blogging, we blogged about videos, readings, and our progress with our clients. I myself have never been much of a “blogger” although I always had the desire to be decent at blogging one day. There are many photographers I really admire who are fantastic at blogging and I follow them almost religiously. A lot of the blogs we had to keep up with mostly seemed tedious however, I understood the purpose behind the content of what we were asked to blog about as well as why imagery was so important. Another component of our class involved becoming familiar the various social media sites and brainstorming ways select social media sites could benefit our client. Our client ReEstablish Richmond however, was not interested in us helping them with any of their social media sites without strict overview and confirmation. During the semester we had an in class assignment called “Tool Presentation” where we split in teams of two and each team had to do a presentation on a social media site (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Reddit). From each of the teams presentations I learned a lot about the many social media sites I no acknowledgement of how they worked such as LinkedIn, after my classmates presentation on LinkedIn I signed up for an account myself. I found that having a LinkedIn account is great for professional networking and that I could easily find employers I may be interested in working in LinkedIn.
(This is example of what my Blog looks like)
Another component of the class was doing different, “Makes.” Makes in this class were different activities related to food. Our Midterm and Final Midterm consisted of us completing a number of makes by a certain date. The Makes were also a part of our blogging so as we completed the makes we were expected to document and blog about the process of doing these makes. The amount of makes that were required of us definitely seemed overwhelming and stressful primarily because of time and obtaining select resources. For me myself all the makes I needed assistance (e.g. someone to film me because I didn’t have a tripod) so because of that I wasn’t able to complete my makes as soon as I would of preferred. Although, the makes almost seemed unbearable to complete once I finally got to doing the makes I really enjoyed doing them and appreciated my results. When I finally completed all the makes for the semester I really enjoyed looking at numerous blogs on each of the makes.
(this make was my personal favorite) “How to Make Strawberry Shortcake in a Martini Glass”
Link Provided Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fw74KO468kM
(this is another make that I am pretty proud of) Uncharacteristic Photography | “Food Problem”
With taking Food for Thought this semester it truly was not anything that I had expected and I honestly took it mainly because I needed an elective. However, I feel like I benefitted from this class in various ways. I learnt about several nonprofits I wasn’t aware of before this class, more about social media sites and how they can benefit my needs, I became better at blogging, and the different concepts of food became more interesting (e.g. how much research actually goes into the food industry and new creative food ideas I never thought of). The only thing I wish could of gone differently within this course was my group and I’s relationship with our client, I really wish that we could of gotten more involved and didn’t feel so useless to them. Although, overall as a whole I did enjoy taking this class.