For Cornell Creatives, launching as a new student organization in the Spring of 2020 was a blessing and a curse.
It was a blessing because we somehow launched right when people would truly need us most. But also a curse, since we all faced the challenge of building community - the essence of our organization - in a virtual world.
Led by passionate, motivated, and innovative board members, Cornell Creatives was able to completely redesign our website, launch a new blog page, and set up programs and events for CC members and the Cornell Community at large. We gained more than 1,800 followers on Instagram and connected creatives from across the world.
Here is our first ever Semester in Review, from the perspective of Cornell Creatives Board members. It’s our opportunity to reflect, grow, and share an inside scoop as to what really goes behind each Instagram post.
💻 Re-Designing the Cornell Creatives Website
October 15, 2020, was a special day. Why, you may ask?
Because Cornell Creatives launched our redesigned, beautiful website. From the aesthetic pastel colors, the beautiful graphics, the excellent UX design… it really is an accomplishment. One we are proud of.
It required a lot of work from almost every team, and of course, discipline. Sharon Li, Co-Brand Lead, reflected on how the Team worked as a whole:
“Everyone's very proactive about getting their own work done, and seeking feedback to improve their own work. I think that made us a lot more efficient, and more likely to produce higher quality work.”
Before handing off their designs to Tech Team to be coded, Designers Ardensa Cartajona and Hank Lin made several iterations of each website page:
The Design and Tech Teams would have bi-weekly Team syncs, allowing them to update each other on Website progress and provide any feedback from one Team to the other.
Joie Ng, who helped code the Join and About pages, especially appreciated this collaborative process.
“Seeing the different pages of design rolling out and working with the Design Team to iterate and get their feedback on the implementation was really a highlight of this semester,” Joie said.
🌟The Blog Launch: A Months-On-End Project
Launching a Blog for an organization is not as easy as you may think. It took the effort of the Writing, Publicity, Design, and Tech Teams.
The semester started with blog posts following “Featured Creators,” where writers interviewed CC members and wrote about their creative projects.
Our second series was “Create 101,” which allowed writers to explore a range of topics that affect creators, ranging from How to Find Inspiration to How to Handle Criticism.
The blog posts were always enhanced with beautiful artwork from our Graphic Designers, Ryun Shim and Renee Hoh:
Renee explained her experience working from home, and communicating with the team virtually:
“Weirdly enough, I feel more confident when it comes to making the graphics - I just sit down and do it, even if there might be more distractions at home. But what makes it hard is that I haven't met half of the team in person before.”
Kylie Grinwald, Co-Brand Lead, was primarily in charge of the writers - which meant creating guidelines for each blog series, sending each week’s blog post via email newsletter, and communicating between writers and designers.
“Personally I feel that I learned a lot about project management from having a leadership role in the Team this semester and seeing through blog series from their inception to actually publishing them,” Kylie said.
💡 Building a Virtual Community: The Internal Team
Our Internal Team, which is responsible for engaging members in the CC community through a wide range of programs, faced a difficult challenge: how do we get people to join our Zoom events?
The Internal Team had a number of incredible projects: Mastermind, Creativitea, and G-Body meetings.
Mastermind is a 6-week incubator program where creators can meet up with more experienced members and be guided on whatever project they’re working on - whether its starting a YouTube Channel, or working on their Design skills.
Jasmine Wang, who primarily facilitated Mastermind, explained how exciting it was to see everyone’s different creative projects:
“One of my favorite moments this semester was during one Mastermind meeting where we got to see different projects, and one girl showed us her ‘Most Awkward Moments at Cornell’ Video.”
Because Mastermind went so well this semester, the Internal Team plans to continue it in Spring 2021.
Creativitea was a program meant to facilitate coffee chats between creatives who work in different mediums, allowing for potential collaboration. Asher Lipman, who led Creativitea, talked about how difficult it was to get people engaged.
“In terms of our accomplishments, I would point to less of what we got off the ground, but more about us coming up with ideas that will set us up strongly next semester,” Asher explained.
💥The Events Team: Anything from Calligraphy Workshops, to Making Music
The Events Team tries to engage a larger audience for both current and prospective CC members, and often the events would focus on specific creative mediums.
Events Team Co-Leads Kelly Ryoo and Rishabh Sabu faced a similar challenge to the Internal Team. However, a virtual world actually offered them some new opportunities.
Rishabh started up a video podcast called The Vibe Spot. In the podcast, he collaborated with other musicians in CC to create a song, and reflected on the process.
“I think an online format forced me to think a little bit more outside of the box. Instead of the normal things I did on campus, I created the podcast. It took a lot of work, but it was a really cool initiative which I don’t know if I would have done if it was a normal year,” Rishabh explained.
Kelly led a Calligraphy Workshop virtually, and sent out calligraphy tools to anyone who signed up.
She also planned a tech event, the “Creative Ventures in Tech” panel, which featured Cornell alumni who started their own Tech companies.
“We invited Cornell alumni who were dispersed all around the country and the world. If it was in person, I would probably have to find speakers who are in Ithaca… but since it's through Zoom, we could invite anyone who was interested,” Kelly said.
✨ Conclusion: A Word from Cornell Creatives Team Leads
Dear Cornell Creatives,
Do any of these words resonate with you? Resilient, energizing, and lively. Uniting and rewarding. Dynamic and flexible, yet pioneering. Scrappy.
Because that’s how we’re feeling this semester. This letter is from the Cornell Creatives Team Leads, the people who lead the four different teams within Cornell Creatives Board: Brand, Internal, Tech, and Events - as well as our Co-Presidents who lead all of us Team Leads, and our Secretary who helps us all stay organized.
We’ve had a crazy semester, just like you probably have. There’s a part in all of us that feels a little bit vexed by the year 2020:
“This semester was a little more challenging. It’d be a lie to say it wasn’t.” - Rishabh, Co-Events Lead
“Leading a virtual team, communication is even more important than in person. Every single thing you communicate has to be really purposeful and deliberate.” - Sharon, Co-Brand Lead
“Not only are we trying to manage people, but my job is also about trying to bring people together through events. It’s been difficult this semester because I normally feed off that energy from being together in-person.” - Claire, Internal Lead
But there’s also a part in each of us that’s thinking back with a smile on our face to some of the things that Cornell Creatives has accomplished this semester! (pro tip: We 11/10 recommend that you take some time to recognize the amazing creative things you’ve done this year too.)
Here’s what that looked like for us:
“This semester, Cornell Creatives is starting to branch out and have more initiatives - like the blog, The Vibe Spot podcast, and Mastermind - all of which were done while we’re completely virtual, which makes it more impressive!” - Kaysie, Tech Lead
“I joined Cornell Creatives this semester because I thought the Instagram page looked pretty, but I’ve been able to really branch out not just from the Board but also with meeting different people at events who have many different interests!” - Kelly, Co-Events Lead
“Working with more and more different team members this semester was just so exciting for me. Everyone I teamed up with on each different project had so many good ideas and so much creative passion.” - Kylie, Co-Brand Lead
And, **spoiler alert,** we plan on channeling our creativity to find new and better ways to connect with you during the upcoming spring semester. Here’s how we’re feeling and what we’re thinking for the spring:
“One thing I’m looking for next semester is seeing how we change and grow and learn from all the things we’ve done this semester. There are a lot of people with interesting ideas that they want to bring to the table next semester. It’ll be really cool to see that happen!” - Thomas, Co-President
“I'm really excited to see new leadership on Cornell Creatives. After this semester, everyone has a better idea of how they lead and how their team can be managed. Momentum is on our side. We’ve gotten through the hardest part and things will get better.” - Katie, Co-President
And, perhaps the best way to say what we’re hoping for next semester,
“I’m excited to see new people get excited about Cornell Creatives.” - Jocelyn, Secretary
Sending good vibes and all our creative excitement,
CC Team Leads
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