Chillin' at Caribou: My Interview with Emily Buss

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Emily Buss, a reporter covering the local government beat for the South Washington County Bulletin.Emily Buss.jpeg I had planned for the interview to go roughly twenty minutes, but we ended up just chatting at a Caribou for over forty-five and I had a total blast. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot of really good information about the way journalists do business. Some of the top things I learned were:

1. Develop relationships. Journalists would rather tell the story of one of their friends' clients or companies than just some random PR professional who is spamming them with news releases.

2. Work hard! Emily had something close to 4 different internship or professional volunteer opportunities and she still had trouble finding a job after college. I should probably focus more on finding another internship and networking more effectively.

3. Be friendly and outgoing. Similar to the relationships one, but being friendly is more of a state of mind. You never know what doors you might open up just by making small talk in an elevator!

It was truly a blast to get to talk to Emily for the short while I got to speak to her and I can't wait until I graduate and I can start getting some real work experience of my own!

Strutting My Stuff: News Release #2

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Hey there! This is another piece of the media package I created for the Revitilization of the Northrup Auditorium. Thanks for reading!


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Tim Bluhm
Phone: 123-456-7890
E-mail: timbluhm@umn.edu

Iconic Piece of Campus Set to Reopen

Northrup Mall, the cultural center of the University of Minnesota campus, is set to reopen this spring after a lengthy construction process

MINNEAPOLIS, Oct 17, 2013 - The University of Minnesota will finally have its centerpiece back this spring once the long-awaited revitalization process of the Northrup Auditorium is completed. The Northrup auditorium, managed by Northrup Concerts and Lectures, is located in the heart of campus, and it served as a central location for anything from graduation ceremonies to artistic performances. In 2011, the Board of Regents voted to fund the Revitalization of Northrup in hopes of cementing the auditorium's status as a beacon of local culture and artistic expression. And now, with the Auditorium set to reopen on April 4, excitement has begun to build around campus.

The Northrup Auditorium overlooks the Northrup Mall, the ceremonial heart of the University. The auditorium has been home to a diverse array of events ranging from the Minnesota Orchestra to local theatrical productions to local hip-hop artists. It is that precise artistic diversity that the University has been lacking for the past few years that Northrup has been under construction.

"Something we really value at the University of Minnesota is providing the students with an all-encompassing college experience," said University President Eric Kaler. "The Revitilization of Northrup will go a long way towards bringing some unique artists to the University and I think our students will be really happy with the end result."

The Grand Reopening will consist of a gala on April 4 that will consist of acts to be announced throughout the fall. The centerpiece of the University's Grand Reopening Gala promises to be a spectacle, and the student's couldn't be more excited to get their auditorium back.

About Northrup Concerts and Lectures
Northrop Concerts and Lectures, the University of Minnesota's arts presenter, is dedicated to the advancement of the education, research, public engagement, and diversity mission of the University of Minnesota through the pursuit of excellence and innovation in the performing arts, community service, and creative exchange. Northrop Concerts and Lectures is also committed to civic engagement and community discourse. We proceed with the values of partnership and collaboration, and we are committed to bridging the intellectual and artistic life of the university with the goals and issues of the local community, the nation, and the world. Visit http://northrop.umn.edu/ for more information.


Strutting My Stuff: Media Advisory

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Why hello! Happy Saturday! Check out this media advisory I wrote for UDS Job Fair a while back. Thanks for your support!

MEDIA ADVISORY

For Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013

University Dining Services Job Fair Gives Students a Unique Opportunity

Positions Available at Many Locations on the University of Minnesota Campus


WHAT: University Dining Services is holding a Job/Hiring Fair for University of Minnesota Students on October 6, 2013. UDS offers a perfect opportunity for students to work on easily work on campus with a manageable schedule. UDS marketing and human resources employees will be on hand at the job fair to answer any questions that students might have, help students fill out applications and new-hire paperwork, and even schedule students for shifts.

UDS hires more than 1000 student employees every year, for as few as 5 hours per week. Working for UDS also provides a practical way for international students to obtain a Social Security Card, which they can use to apply for loans, purchase a cellphone plan or purchase cable TV. A wide variety of positions will be available at the Job Fair, ranging from barista positions at the local Starbucks to food service workers in one of the many dining halls. Past Job Fairs have employed more than 200 students in one sitting.
In a continued effort to make the hiring process more convenient to the students, this upcoming Job Fair will be held in Centennial Hall. By bringing the fair to the students, UDS hopes to continue building on their positive relationship with the student body of the university. For more information, e-mail udshr@umn.edu


WHEN: Sunday, Oct. 6, 2010, 8:00 p.m - 10:00 p.m. Students should expect the process to take about forty-five minutes


WHERE: Centennial Hall Dining Hall, Minneapolis, MN.


WHO: UDS continually focuses on providing healthy dining options in our Wellness platform. As part of ARAMARK's Healthy for LIFE™ program, UDS offers healthy options daily at residential restaurants, food courts and coffee cafes on campus. Nutrition information is available online at www.netnutrition.dining.umn.edu and at all locations on campus with easy-to-read identifiers to point out items that are low in fat, low in calories, vegan, vegetarian and more. In addition, UDS is equipped with a nutrition team who host a variety of food events throughout the year to educate students and staff about new nutrition trends and making healthy lifestyle choices.


CONTACTS: Tim Bluhm
University Dining Services Human Resources
612-625-7543
bluhm052@umn.edu

Hey there! So I previously talked about my favorite and least favorite parts of my current internship with Aramark. Now I just wanted to use a post to talk about some of the key things I've learned. After all, that is the purpose of an internship!

1. I've learned just how much work goes into having a football game. It's crazy. For one home Gopher Football game, the University of Minnesota employees roughly 500 people JUST to handle the food aspect. JUST THE FOOD. That's crazy to me, and for someone who wants to make a career working in sports, it gives me a new appreciation for just how complicated it is.

2. I've learned more about international student documentation and work eligibility than I ever wanted to know.

3. I've learned that college freshmen get confused very, very easily. That's caused me to be very detail-oriented. Whenever we do new employee orientation you have to be very clear and concise. Also...

4. I've learned how to talk to people. Not talk down to people or talk at people, but how to communicate more effectively with different people whether it be written or spoken.

5. And most of all, I've learned to hope for the best - but plan for the worst. I'm lucky to have a very skilled HR team ahead of me that know what they're doing who aren't naïve enough to think that just because you place an order for 100 temp workers they're all going to show.

I'm glad that I've worked this internship because while I've learned lots of skills pretty specific to human resources , I've also learned a lot that applies to almost any discipline, including public relations. The free Panda Express isn't bad either.

Making a Difference

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Poverty is a problem in the inner city of Minneapolis, especially for racial minorities. This is painfully obvious when you examine the demographics of high school graduation rates in Minneapolis. Roughly 37 percent of black and Latino students graduate from high school in four years compared to nearly 70 percent of white and Asian students. High school graduation is practically a necessity in present day America, but many kids in Minneapolis just can't seem to finish. The lack of a high school diploma is associated with a host of other problems including juvenile delinquency, violent crime and drug abuse. While it's known that the lack of parental support, resources and positive influences all play major parts in the achievement gap, the proper solution is less clear.

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Children living in poverty in the inner cities are faced with situations every day that they are not equipped to handle. How is a child enrolled in elementary school supposed to know what to do when they come home and their parents are drunk, high, or simply absent? How is a child supposed to handle and abusive sibling or bullying in the classroom properly if that kind of behavior is all that they've ever known? And how are they supposed to break out of that cycle and focus on the things that are important, like school and their friends? Urban Ventures Vice President Mark-Peter Lundquist would say they aren't equipped to handle those situations, at least, not on their own. All of Urban Ventures' programs are designed around giving their kids a chance to make something beautiful out of their broken home lives.

"When there isn't parental support, there's a lot of temptation to do drugs, to join gangs; it basically all comes out of hopelessness," remarked Lundquist. "And if you live with hopelessness for a long time you experience a lack of conscience. Through love, support and mentoring we're able to provide them with enough emotional strength to not just cope, but to thrive."

One of the biggest ways Urban Ventures tries to support the kids is through a program called the Hub where once per week, high school students meet with a small group of classmates led by a youth worker. This provides them with a place where they can go to eat a meal and really grow not just academically, but also as young men and women as well. Lundquist spoke of a student in The Hub named David who knew that many kids in the neighborhood weren't going to receive Christmas presents, due to either a lack of funds or a lack of adult care. David decided that this wasn't acceptable, and with the help of Urban Ventures staffers, David sold over $2000 of CityKid Java coffee at his school. He then used the money to purchase and wrap Christmas gifts to give to underprivileged kids around the neighborhood. The truly amazing thing about David's story is the entirety of that holiday season, David had been living in a homeless shelter himself. It's this potential for joy, selflessness and purpose that Urban Ventures seeks to foster in their students.

David could have easily been a statistic, just another inner-city kid to drop out of school and pick-up some bad habits, but the compassionate youth workers and volunteers provided David with the guidance he needed to thrive instead of just survive. These kids aren't impoverished because they're lazy or they're bad kids, they're impoverished because they haven't been given a chance. The cycle generational poverty is a tough thing to overcome, but as Urban Venture's reach grows wider and wider, stories like David's become more and more common. And while generational poverty is still a major problem in Minneapolis, the 1200 kids served annually by Urban Ventures programs like The Hub get a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel, taking one more step towards breaking the cycle.

Start to make a difference at urbanventures.org

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As many of you kind readers probably know, I currently work as a Human Resources Intern for Aramark, which is the company that manages anything related to food for the U of MN, including athletics. I stumbled on the posting for the internship on GoldPass last spring when I was looking for public relations internships and it seemed pretty intriguing. I wasn't totally sure that PR is what I wanted to do with my Strategic Communications degree and I figured I wouldn't get a better shot to experiment with some different career choices than now, so I said what the hell and sent them my resume.


Fast forward a couple months, and it has been a blast. There are definitely parts I don't like, but in general I've had a lot of fun. These are some of the things I've learned to love or hate about working in HR.

I Love:

1. Working Football. I've had an extraordinary opportunity to work the Gopher Football games. I get to help out behind the scenes supporting and managing the employees, and I was fortunate to be responsible for student staffing for the last four games. For someone hoping to work in sports, that is easily my favorite part.

2. Hiring Teamsters. At the start of the summer we hired a lot of new full-time employees for food service jobs. They were really good people who just needed a break, and it was awesome to see the look on their face when you offered them a job.

3. My Coworkers. It's kinda cliché, but the people you work with really make or break the job for you, and my coworkers have been a great group of people to work with.

I Don't Love:

1. The Paperwork. You would have thought I would've been prepared for the paperwork given the stereotypes about HR. You would have been wrong.

2. Dealing with Payroll Issues. Early in the semester, a lot of students didn't get their paychecks on time, and since they see human resources as a one-stop shop to ask about all their problems, a lot of them came to us even though that's not our department. It sucked to not be able to help them out.

3. The Bureaucracy. Lots of silly things take a lot longer than they should because you can't step on any toes.

Overall though, I've really like the position and I've learned a ton! Part II about my internship coming soon!

My aunt LOOOOVVES Black Friday. Some people go shopping on Black Friday. She goes SHOPPING. Her Christmas list for every single person she's buying for that yeah is prepared the night before. It's empty now, but that won't last long. She spends the last few hours of Thanksgiving pouring through advertisements looking for the very best deals, crafting a detailed plan of attack to hit every store at the optimal time, only allocating enough time to get the one, circled half-price item and get out in time to hit the next store. And she's hardly alone, as millions of American's wake up ungodly early and even camp out in search of deals.

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The benefit for stores is obvious, but the ways to capitalize on this kind of customer rush is more nuanced. The goal, as described in this particularly astute article, of Black Friday deals is to get customers through the doors. The hope then is that customers not only purchase the discounted product but also purchase other items they see and decide that they want. But when almost every store has some crazy Black Friday deal, how do retailers make sure customers line up at their store specifically? That is where advertising comes in.

In my family, like many families, we always watch football on Thanksgiving. And almost every single commercial is advertising some insane Black Friday deal, and they all follow the same lame script of just announcing the deals and using lots of cliché phrases about the holidays. Why is this? If I was an advertiser with some money to burn, I'd want to spend it on a different kind of Black Friday ad. Super Bowl commercials are so funny because advertisers know how many people are watching, and I don't think Thanksgiving commercials should be any different. Sure less people are watching than during the Super Bowl, but with the biggest shopping day of the year coming up in literally a few hours, I think a smart, witty ad that will wake viewers from their food comas is much more likely to drive consumers to purchase then yet another lame Black Friday ad. After all, that's what the 8-tons of junk mail I got this year is for!

Strutting My Stuff: Letter to the Editor

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Hey there readers! About a month ago to the Pioneer Press in response to this article proposing that University Avenue be squeezed down to add some more room for parking. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy it!


A Welcome Addition


It's no secret that parking in the Twin Cities is a serious headache and the proposed changes to University Avenue would provide potential relief for a major headache. As a student at the University of Minnesota, the untenable parking situation affects my daily life. Cars parked along the sides of roads, often illegally, are a major hazard to students trying to commute to school or bike to classes. Transforming University Avenue to allow for some more parking space would bring some relief to the logjam that is the Minneapolis parking situation and it would make campus life a lot easier. With the light rail almost finished, now is the time to optimize the public transportation in Minneapolis. This plan would go a long way towards accomplishing that goal.

An Open Letter To Governor Dayton

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Dear Governor Dayton,

I have spent some time reading about your proposed plan to streamline government processes. I think that this plan, while well-intentioned, is ultimately going to cause more harm that it will alleviate. While I understand that many of the procedures could be trimmed and refined, I worry that the massive amount of time this would take could damage the ability of the state government to draft, debate and pass new bills. I also worry that the potential to reduce or even eliminate useful laws is far too high. Legislative time would be better spent working on new legislation like approving needed construction projects or working on a bill to raise the minimum wage.

Part of the function of government in the modern era is to provide services to its people. I worry that if the focus during this legislative session is focused on things like streamlining tax forms and reducing redundant, but not outright harmful, language hinders the legislative body from providing new services. I also think the potential for mistakes or abuse is very high. There's a high probability that many politicians will see this as a way to creatively cripple laws that they disagree with, leading to a majority of legislative time debating reductions to laws that have already been passed. I also think that overzealous lawmakers will get carried away with these edits. As a part of these changes, a special education manual was chopped from 279 pages to 16 pages. How could you possibly divulge enough useful information in 16 pages to encompass what was contained in 279?

Streamlining government and making procedure much smoother is an easy cause to get behind, but it's much easier to say than it is to do. If I'm incorrect in my assumptions or if I have misunderstood the intentions of your office, please let me know. I appreciate all that you have worked to do in your time as governor, just make sure that you continue working to make big differences in the lives of Minnesotans instead of a bunch of minuscule ones.

Sincerely,
Tim Bluhm

Strutting My Stuff: Corporate Q & A

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Hey readers! Here's a cool example of a corporate Q & A I wrote for the ongoing renovation of the Northrup Memorial Auditorium on the University of Minnesota campus. I created a media package for the Revitalization project earlier this semester, and the Q & A was just a small part of the package. I'll be posting a few other pieces of the package over the next few weeks. Thanks again!

1. What types of renovations have been done?

The renovations have served a few different purposes. First and foremost, the façade of the building needed to be rebuilt and stabilized. It was also time to rework the interior of the auditorium. It will incorporate popular modern design style as well as a large number of updates that will help bring the auditorium into the twenty-first century.

2. Who has designed the new changes?

The design of both the interior and the exterior renovations were a collaborative effort between The University Honors Program, the Institute for Advanced Study, and Innovation by Design.

3. What else will the new Northrup include other than just an auditorium?

Included in the renovations include the development of many conference and meeting rooms available for both students and local businesses, study rooms and a coffee café. There will also be a plethora of open space when the auditorium isn't being used for students to meet up and relax.

4. How is the project being funded?

The Revitalization is being funded with a mix of University funds and alumni/patron donations. The original construction of the auditorium was funded entirely through donations and sponsorships.