I feel like the whole week come down to tonight.
Tonight, I passed the torch to my new successor in ACSG. Chris Gilbert has officially taken his seat as the 2011 ADV Student Representative. He’s a brave guy. I hope his time will be a fulfilling and enjoying learning experience, and I wish Chris only the very best.
This past year has been a journey. Coming into ACSG, I was not fully aware of how deep the shit I’d be getting myself into for the next year. I thought I had a good idea about what student leadership was. Little did I realize that I would be stepping into this larger role as an advocate for student rights in an always and particularly tumultuous time in Art Center history.
Don’t get me wrong, I thought I was walking into somewhat of a party planning committee too! But with all the things going on with the school, student involvement was imperative in shaping the future of the institution. So I got sucked into something real serious, real fast.
It proved to be my toughest and most challenging year at Art Center. The task of being a full-time student and dealing with school issues was nauseating at times. I don’t think I’d be doing my fellow students justice by misleading them and tell them that this is all honky-fuckin-dory. So with that in mind, I highly discourage this kind of position for a majority of students. But if you have the drive, patience, persistence, resilience, and strength to accommodate this kind of extra-curricular activity, you can most certainly always try it.
In hindsight, I felt I fell behind compared to my contemporaries and held back a lot of energy that I could have been allocating towards becoming a better student and Art Director. I’ve been screamed at, belittled, and even chastised at times for my role in ACSG. Being a student rep is a selfless, voluntary commitment. It’s a thankless position that many at the school don’t care about or care what’s happening. Yet despite all this, I felt that if there was no better time than now and no better experience for me, other than The Agency, in getting a taste of the real-world outside of Art Center.
No doubt, Advertising is about creativity. But even more realistically, it’s also about dealing with the internal and external, high and low level politics of business. Ask any creative at any good agency and I’m pretty sure they’ll tell you the same. ACSG helped me analyze the checks and balances of politics in an academic setting in order to learn, observe, and even experiment with the practices of power and leadership.
So that’s my take away from all this. Good or bad, it’s one of the most incredible experiences in my Art Center career so far. Thank you to the leadership of ACSG President Lee Bolton, Executive Committee, fellow reps, and the guidance of CSE Advisors Jeff Hoffman and Betsy Edmunds. It has been an honor and a privilege serving on ACSG as the ADV student rep. Right now, the student voice has been empowered as it should. I just hope that the students start to realize how much power they have over the school. Like all creatives in the business, Art Center cannot operate without its students. So as the legendary Lee Clow said (more or less) in the movie Art & Copy, “Fuck these guys! They can’t do this without us!”
With that said, enough with this politics crap. I’m ready to be a student again.