Letter from our former Communications Intern, Michelle Udem
By, Michelle Udem
In my time as a Communications Intern at Solar Oregon, I was thrust into an environment that I now think of as a solar-powered pool -- ripe for cultivating new ideas, with the warmth for embracing tried and true skills.
My first interaction with Solar Oregon was through an email from Imogen Taylor, Solar Oregon’s incredibly dedicated and tenacious Programs Manager. Her kindness, blended with my background and skills immediately shaped Solar Oregon as an organization to which I wanted to contribute my time and professional experience.
As Communications Intern, I attended to marketing tasks, maintained and expanded media relations, posted local solar energy news, and sustained the organization’s social media presence. In sum, I spent most of my time in Solar Oregon’s loft-style office interacting with members and supporters predominantly through the web, adopting the persona of the organization’s Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and overall web-based sharer. If you were ever wondering who “liked,” commented, posted photos, tweeted, or invited you or your organization to an event or program from June to September, it was either me or our hard-working, think outside-the-box Executive Director, Claire Carlson. The backbone of the organization, Claire showed me the ropes on updating and enhancing the website, and clearly illustrated to me the character and qualities of Solar Oregon’s web presence.
Where I believe I worked the hardest and contributed the most would be in collaborative efforts with Education Coordinator Emily Krafft, for whom I hounded state-wide journalists, ally organizations, and public relations persons. As my background mainly involves writing and journalism work, upending my years of reporter experience to the position of public relations person for Solar Oregon was new territory for me. And I was determined to reach the ears of Oregon’s media and other communications persons who would get the word out on Solar Oregon’s important project and programs.
Solar Oregon will always be relevant to me, and I hope a greater range of our community will learn of the organization’s valued and prominent work, appreciating their incredible contributions to our society. Though I moved on from the organization a few months back to take on a full-time position at another local sustainability nonprofit, Solar Oregon was my first exposure to the Portland environmental scene, and I will always cherish my experience there as well as the whole team who trusted an outsider with Solar Oregon’s online rep, marketing efforts, and solar power advocacy.
Shine on, Solar Oregon,