Monday, April 1, 2013

We Built This

I'll celebrate my twelfth year working with Rural Studio in May, 2013.  It is an amazing ride.  Nothing in those twelve years gives me as much pride as what was accomplished on Friday, March 29, 2013~

We launched an online giving site.  Why is that significant?  Because it is groundbreaking for Auburn University and for Rural Studio.  It is significant for Auburn because they let go of their "rules" and "design templates" and for Rural Studio because they worked within the system to help bring about positive change instead of going around it.  It took teamwork from several sources.  People came to the table with one goal - to try a new and different approach to annual fund-raising that might be duplicated throughout the university system.

I've spent the last five or so years researching, working with, and documenting social media as a method of annual fund-raising.  I, along with several of my colleagues who drink the social media kool-aid, know this is the way of  future annual giving.

The team-members left their constituency agendas behind.  It was fun, productive and most of all we have a beautiful site of which to be proud.

Natalie Butts, Twentieth Anniversary Manger for Rural Studio, was the leader of this mammoth undertaking.  I think it is significant that she was the leader.  She is a Rural Studio graduate and a member of the target audience.  She understands design, Rural Studio, Auburn and was able to bridge the gaps.  It took her fresh eyes to build a team without preconceived notions of prior attitudes.

Colleen Bourdeau, Communication Director for the College of Architecture, Design and Construction, took a fresh look at bending the rules and understands that because CADC and Rural Studio are part of a design school, DESIGN MATTERS.  The site couldn't be just another template on a wall.

Michael Tullier, Marketing and Communications Director for the Office of Development, understands the power of social media and is a fellow kool-aid drinker.  He sees this as a step forward to move the larger university to more user-friendly platforms.

Charlie Saliba, IT Manager for the Office of Development, did the lion's share of programing work.  He understands, too, the power of social media and drinks the orange stuff~  He was the perfect liaison with development accounting, which we knew from the beginning would be the hardest sell.  They bought it.

Clifton Burt, Graphic Designer, is the brain of the twentieth anniversary branding and creator of all things RS20.

Arm Chair Media, Kenny Fergenson and his crew worked tirelessly to make the design fit into the existing university platform.  They and Charlie Saliba worked miracles with the platform.  I can not say enough about their work ethic, long hours and dedication to a project.

Dara Hosey, Development Manager for the College of Architecture, Design and Construction and my boss - had our back at every turn.  She went to bat for us wherever it was needed.

None of this could have happened if Andrew Freear, the director of Rural Studio hadn't given his total confidence and buy-in to the idea.  He told us to Proceed and Be Bold!

Dean Vini Nathan, School Head David Hinson, and VP of Development Angie Stephens are taking a chance on us.  We won't let them down.  The site is up, the site is beautiful and it will make a lot of money.

Visit it.  Buy a toilet.  Share it.