Design, Programming, Marketing/Demonstration Organizer.
Six months ago the Camden campus of Rutgers University, where I study
graphic design, came under fire. Seemingly out of the blue, Chris Christie,
the Governor of New Jersey, endorsed a plan to overhaul the
higher-education system in New Jersey. Part of the plan called for my
school to be divorced from the Rutgers family. Worse yet, the Governor's
plan was utterly lacking in detail. I couldn't believe it.
I knew that I, and so many other New Jersey residents, had chosen
Rutgers-Camden because it was close to home, affordable, and provided an
opportunity to get a world class education at a prominent research
institution. But instead of studying, I was worrying. Would I graduate with
a Rutgers degree? Would my tuition be raised? Why was the plan developed
behind closed doors? What would happen to the distinguished faculty that
drew me to the school? How much would it cost to accomplish the plan? These
were just some of the questions that I thought needed answers. Turns out I
I came up with the idea to create a website where people could organize
their efforts to keep Rutgers-Camden alive. With the help of social media
and our Change.org petition, the website quickly became a banner under
which the Rutgers community would rally. In the first few days after
launch, our website was receiving nearly 3500 hits a day. And in the first
week we had nearly 5000 people sign our Change.org petition.
Six months, a blog, 10,000+ signatures, several large rallies, and a
grassroots, guerrilla style public relations campaign later, the part of
the plan to divorce Rutgers-Camden from Rutgers University was dropped from
the reorganization plan. It was an epic day to say the least. Luckily I had
lots of people to enjoy it with. I didn't do this on my own, not by a long
shot. That's the best part. This whole campaign really brought our school
together. A lot of great friendships were formed between people who had
never met before, people who probably would not have met but for the
website and Change.org. And thanks to these informed and unified
supporters, Rutgers-Camden is safe and now has greater administrative
autonomy and an appreciable infusion of financial support!
It's amazing what you can do with a little branding and design!