PA to IMC: The Team Behind the Events

COVID-19 is not the only thing that made this semester different. Some big changes were also happening behind the scenes at Austin College. Over the summer, the office formerly known as Public Affairs was merged into the Institutional Marketing and Communications, or the IMC, division. What does this mean? Essentially, IMC has absorbed the Public Affairs, or PA, office. 
The Public Affairs office was responsible for researching, planning, and executing events on campus as well as for the Sherman community. The IMC division is broader and actually includes Public Affairs. This new team still works on the same projects as in the past, but it now includes more team members and some added responsibilities.

Some treats for our “new” IMC interns to celebrate the switch from PA to IMC

You might be wondering how this division actually came about. Back in March, a COVID communication response team was formed. Three different groups came together to troubleshoot what would happen now that COVID-19 was so prominent in the U.S. and affecting colleges everywhere. Those groups included people from Public Affairs, Advancement Communications, and IT Web Services. They called themselves “The Team of 10” and met every day, including weekends, to respond to COVID-19 and make sure that information was distributed quickly and consistently. Lynn Womble, the Chief Marketing & Communications Officer at Austin College, was part of this team that worked tirelessly to get information out to students and their families. And all of their work paid off. According to Womble “the college recognized [the efforts and efficiency of our team] and formalized us into the Institutional Marketing and Communications” division.
As a student intern for the IMC division myself, I experienced this change from PA to IMC at the beginning of this semester. The biggest change from my perspective is that I am now working with a larger group of people. This consists of other student workers as well as other members of the AC staff. We have monthly meetings with the entire team to talk about our progress on different projects. During this semester I have continued to work on similar projects as I had in previous semesters, but we have also started to use Basecamp, a program that allows teams to work together, communicate, and collaborate more easily online. This program that was new to us and was passed down from the COVID communication response team.
Design is just one part of my job as a student intern

As interns for the IMC division, we get to learn the ins and outs of many events on campus. We are responsible for helping plan TEDx Austin College, the Posey Leadership Award, Star Parties, the MLK celebration, ’Roos In The News, and other small events or jobs here and there. In the past, I have helped most with design when needed. I even created the new poster that is used for Star Parties.
Most recently, we carried out our first major event of the semester, TEDx Austin College. This was especially significant because we were able to adapt the event to occur during the pandemic. The team started working back in 2019 after the previous TEDx Austin College finished. The student interns help organize the entire event, with assistance from other students and our incredible faculty and staff. Although our job takes a lot of effort, it is incredibly rewarding after seeing the success and positive impact that our events have had on the AC community.
TEDxAustinCollege 2020 Intern Team

Our job has definitely looked different this year because of the pandemic in terms of event planning and executing, but it has taught us to become more adaptable to change and how to problem solve more efficiently. Jacob Moreno ’22, a fellow student intern, says that “the practice and work in event planning, coordinating, project management, and marketing/media has created a plethora of useful experiences that I will be able to use through my lifetime.” I wholeheartedly agree and am so grateful for this internship opportunity. I never would have thought that I would be part of such an impressive team. It has showed me that I am capable of much more than I knew.
We owe so much of our success to our bosses who guide and mentor us through this internship and help us develop essential skills that we will need in the workforce. However, I would also boldly say that the IMC division would be lacking if our student intern positions did not exist. A student perspective is essential in planning events on a college campus. Womble says that “without the student [interns], we don’t have that connection of how our work affects the students, which is why we are even here.” It is great to be given a voice in matters that will directly affect us students.
*PRE COVID* MLK Day parade/celebration

Finally, our jobs might seem strenuous, but we all have a lot of fun with it. I have formed new friendships from this internship and have gotten to know many other students, faculty, and staff from working on events with them. Sometimes, we even celebrate after a big event with lunch or dinner together. Of course, the pandemic has changed a lot about what we are able to with this job. Nevertheless, I look forward to taking on the new challenges that await me with the help of the wonderful IMC team.

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