Mina Montoya Aoki
Public Relations and Media
1. What was your role in ISC66?
My role was to take responsibility for all matters related to Public Relations for ISC66. This included creating content to post on social media, keeping track of posts and likes, updating the official website to release new information, and coordinating internally to keep our different platforms active. I also closely kept in touch with our photographer/videographer Rion, who was single-handedly responsible for editing videos provided by the committee members to post on our sites.
Most importantly, it is through PR that ISC is able to gather participants. It is an important task to utilize different channels to do this, including sending emails to various universities and organizations in Japan and overseas, posting on relevant sites such as Youth Opportunity, and promoting the organization on Social Media.
In a regular year, Public Relations is also in charge of taking and managing photos and videos during the conference events, namely, the advanced conference in May, and the Advance Study Tours and Main Conference in August. Along with the photographer, PR is in charge of live streaming the Final Forum, where each Table presents its findings, on our Social Media Platforms and website.
Overall, the PR in-charge oversees processes starting from promoting the Conference, documenting events, and finally producing resources that will serve as memories and reports for the public and the future ISC.
2. What are the perks of being in your role?
The biggest perk of being in Public Relations is that you get to be on the front lines of expanding ISC’s audience base. As the branch of the committee that is in charge of promoting the conference, PR serves as the connection point between ISC and the general public. Although at times, social media promotions and updating the website can seem tiresome and endless, it feels very rewarding to finally meet the applicants and participants who have learned about the conference through the fruits of your labor. Without PR, ISC would not be able to reach potential ISC members, and communication with the general public would be more difficult.
Another perk of PR is that you get to create memories others will cherish. From taking photos of the actual events to editing them to make a final product, PR makes sure that the participants of ISC take home valuable memories in the form of media content for them to keep even after the event. Photos and videos convey the feeling of excitement and wonder that members of ISC, especially participants feel during the Conference events. This year, because of coronavirus, the conference has not been held in person. However, through photos and videos from online events, we were still able to capture something that will be beneficial for later generations.
3. What was your most memorable / happiest experience of the last year?
My most memorable experience in the last year was connecting with the participants during the online events. Even though not in person, I was able to make new friendships with people from different parts of the world, which for me felt very special and surreal. It was so rewarding to find that my efforts in promoting events reached parts of the world I never thought I would be in touch with, and talking with the applicants and participants reminded me of what makes ISC special and dear to me.
I think most of the committee members would agree with me that the beauty of ISC is in meeting people from different parts of the world who are passionate about making social change. People, young or old regardless of their background, are prone to keeping themselves in their own echo chambers, and I believe I am no different. However, through ISC, not only was I challenged by the views of other members, but I was also reminded that differences are inevitable and that there is meaning in searching for the greater truth the binds all of us together, whether it be fighting social injustices, climate change, or just simply marveling in the beauty of our differences and commonalities.
It was both surprising and familiar to me to experience the position of trying to bridge participants through ice-breaking sessions and cultural exchange discussions as a facilitator, and I relished the opportunity to learn more about the people I was meeting for the first time, especially given the short time frame of 3 hours. For many, it might have been a one-time experience, but I like to believe that there was something special that everyone took away from each of our events.
4. On the other hand, what was the most challenging part?
On the other hand, the most challenging aspect of being in PR is the sheer amount of work that needs to be done. Without the help of my fellow committee members, I would not have been able to manage the workload, especially given other commitments I had outside ISC. Aside from creating posts for our social media pages on a near-daily basis, I was also in charge of editing and updating the official website, something I did not have prior experience with. It was hard for me to manage my time because I would experience unforeseen delays regarding website editing, to the point that I did not look forward to doing my tasks.
However, through my experience, I learned several things: first, that no task is too huge if broken down into smaller pieces. Every challenge is manageable if you do a little bit every day. Second, it is perfectly okay to ask for help. I was blessed with co-members who were willing to help me with my tasks, which made my workload much easier to manage. Third, most of the difficulties are happening inside your head, and once you start doing it, the dread of the challenge starts dissolving. Therefore, it is important to focus on the topic at hand without overthinking it. Although imperfect, I was able to learn these lessons through my role as Public Relations in-charge. These are valuable lessons that I will carry on into the future.
5. Please leave a message for the committee members of ISC67.
I’d like to convey that:
ISC is an open-minded caring family that takes care of one another. The responsibilities can be overwhelming at times, but as long as everyone shares a common vision and goal, every challenge is conquerable. The most important thing is for your role to help you grow as a person, and for you to enjoy ISC and make fond memories and friendships through it that will last you for a long time. Good luck and have fun!