(L to R): Hagen Isaacson and Megan Davis during Club Rush
On September 18th and 19th of 2018, I had the privilege of representing for the first time the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF) (www.utahimf.org), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU) at their table during UVU’s annual Club Rush event. We had a join table representing the Foreign Affairs Club, National Security Studies Club and Rotaract Club. This was an incredible opportunity to represent this outstanding coalition and help to share their ideas to promote United Nations agenda of Sustainable Mountain Development (SMD) with other students on campus. In addition, the participation at the Club Rush allowed for UIMF to earn funds to implement different initiatives by our coalition. It was important for more than 15 members of UIMF who were assigned to be at the table during the event to work as one team and be at the table during assigned time frames to ensure that somebody will be able to interact with the student audience and explain the mission and priorities of the coalition and recruit new members.
On the first day of the event I was at the table for the opening hour. During this time, I was working with Megan Davis and we got to experience the opening of the event. On the September 19th, I spent two hours working at the table with various other members. On both days I helped in cleaning up and putting the promotional items away at the end of the event.
As students approached the table we greeted them and informed them of the basic ideas of what UIMF does and how they could potentially benefit from working with us and promoting State of Utah as one of the best models of SMD both in this nation and globally. One of the greatest strengths of our organization is the fact that thanks to the focus on SMD advocacy we can use students involved in any major and give them productive jobs to benefit themselves and the club. As I would first start to have a conversation with some of the students I could tell that they felt like they weren’t a fit for what we do based on their field of study. As I explained more and more about UIMF you could see them change their mindset and realize that they really could help, even if their major has nothing to do with mountain development or politics. This was a great learning opportunity for me personally because it allowed me to practice interacting with other students and share the core ideas and functions of UIMF.
Another huge benefit from helping with Club Rush was the knowledge I gained about the beliefs and ideas of the importance to promote SMD agenda through Utah International Mountain Forum: as a result, we could raise more awareness among ourselves and other audiences about necessity to advocate for sustainable development of mountain communities, who still remain among the poorest and the most forgotten ny international community. Being in the Foreign Affairs club and in a coalition is great because I get to interact with other like-minded members and discuss the issues of what we are doing. However, I found talking to people who had no idea what UIMF was or what it did way more interesting and beneficial because it helped me gain a better understanding. Having to be able to explain mountain development and the Utah model to students who had no previous knowledge forced me to understand the concepts in more depth and be capable of explaining it to these students in a clear way. It was an unbelievable experience to be able to communicate our message to my interested peers and see them become interested as well. Club Rush helped me to gain some practical knowledge of UIMF and allowed me to be able to spread it to other students.
(R to L): Kyle Warren, member and Kendra Martell, President of Rotaract Club talk to Sam Elzingga, President, Foreign Affairs Club ad Kyle Williams, member, Foreign Affairs Club during Club Rush
Overall, Club Rush was a huge success and a great opportunity for new members like myself. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to spread the positive message of UIMF and engage others in gaining interest. I hope this event succeeded in putting our name out there and allows us to garner more support and grow to be even better.
Hagen Isaacson, member, Foreign Affairs Club at Utah Valley University