Before my first day, I was worried that my status as a fellow would confine me to paperwork and data entry at a desk set aside in a lonely corner – previous experiences that I would prefer not to relive. Yet when I walked in last Monday, after a brief introduction to the other staff (there are only four total), they immediately rushed me off with them to a meeting and a group lunch. In just the first few hours, I felt more involved in the organization than I have in months at former jobs. My nerves were tested again, though, when I discovered there was a board meeting that evening. I had only met the staff that day and was already thrown in front of at least ten of the board members, most of whom had been involved with Consider Biking since its birth. Yet just as the staff had done earlier, the members made me feel as though I had been to countless board meetings before.
It is fascinating to see what goes into running a non-profit. The board members are considerably different in so many ways – age, career, opinions, etc. – yet they all care so passionately about Consider Biking’s cause that they take time of out their lives to ensure its success. I joined at a perfect time because the organization is going through a massive change. For years until just a couple weeks ago, there was only one paid staff member who worked out of his house. Recently, however, with major support from The Columbus Foundation, they were able to hire three more staff members and procure office space. In fact, my first time walking into the office was theirs as well! One of the employees spent the entire day setting up the computers, the phone lines, and everything that one needs in an office. I am so lucky to have come in at the beginning of this process. At the end of the summer I will be able to look back and see how much the organization has grown in just a couple months and know that I was a part of it. I have already participated in projects ranging from volunteer coordination, to research for our bike-to-work project, to creating video campaigns for our upcoming bike festival.
And while I’m at it… I am going to shamelessly promote the BikeColumbus Festival. It begins Friday July 16th and runs through the weekend. The goal of the festival is to promote cycling throughout Columbus, and you do not need to be an avid rider to participate! Spread the word to everyone you know who has ever ridden a bike. http://www.bikecolumbusfestival.com/
And with that, I will finish my first entry. I hope everyone has been enjoying the summer as much as I have!