HSO Instagram Takeover

In Spring of 2016, Autumn was chosen to take over the Honors Student Organization (HSO)’s Instagram for a week. During her time, she showed prospective students what her life as a Point Park student was like. Below are the posts from that week.

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Sales Experience with The Globe

During the 2016-2017 school year, Autumn was the Business Manager for the Point Park Globe. While in this position, she helped to establish the online advertising option for ppuglobe.com, including the sizing and pricing of the sidebar ad.

In the fall semester, she generated a total of $3,670 in print advertisements with 15 different clients.

In the spring semester, after the launch of online advertisements, she generated a total of $3,600 in print advertisements and $440 in online advertisements with 13 different clients.

Her clients ranged from In-House clients like Graduate Admissions to external clients like Pittsburgh Tattoo Company. She maintained contact with clients throughout the semester with email and phone calls.

She communicated the three different ad rates (Standard, In-House, and Club) to these clients in cold-calls and emails at the beginning of each semester. She would use the Media Kit designed by her and the editors as a guide for clients to learn more about the organization.

The complexities of feeling safe

It’s more than using your common sense

By: Autumn Barszczowski

If I had written this piece one week earlier, I would have focused on how paying attention to my surroundings in downtown is what makes me feel safe at Point Park.

It would have been about how people do not always pay attention like they should because they do not look up from their phones or they listen to their music too loudly.

However, on March 6, the body of Dakota James was found in the Ohio River. From that moment on, my idea of safety was turned upside down and lost amongst the unknown facts of this case.

It was no longer just about paying attention and being able to save myself by controlling my own actions. After a case so close to home leaves more questions than answers, it is hard to prepare yourself to face the day as you usually do.

I have been going Downtown for school since I was 14 years old. That means the coming fall semester marks the beginning of my sixth year as a commuter student. I thought I knew a lot more than most about staying safe in the city.

In fact, the moment my family knew I would be in Downtown Pittsburgh, they began lecturing me on the importance of always keeping my head up and surveying my surroundings. In doing this, they often talked about the situations that everyone fears, including the one that James’ family has been facing since his disappearance.

Up until this point, I thought that being aware of my surroundings was enough. That if I stayed alert and used my “common sense” by never traveling alone or not going home on the bus after a certain time, I would be fine. Surveying my surroundings was supposed to be enough to keep me safe on my way to classes.

Clearly, this is not the case. There are tragedies that can happen no matter how much you look around or how many precautionary steps you take to protect yourself. We cannot control the actions of others simply by controlling our awareness of those people.

Paying attention does not save us from everything. It can help us in small situations like avoiding traffic when crossing the street and staying away from that one student you just cannot stand, but not all situations are that simple.

I feel for the James family and the loss they are enduring. I can’t tell you how future situations like this will pan-out or my ideas on what should happen in terms of safety of going forward. These scenarios are complicated and the solutions will probably not be simple.

All I can tell you is that I hope the family and friends of Dakota James can heal from this loss and that the city can continue to work on creating the best solution for us. It will not come easily, but I hope that with some effort we can grow to make our home a safer place.

Originally published in the Globe

The flaws of American nationalism

Citizens can’t ignore our nation’s past

By: Autumn Barszczowski

When you grow up in the United States, especially after 2001, you are bombarded by American flags and overly-patriotic songs, encouraging you to sing about how you’re obviously proud to be an American.

Well, here it goes: I am not proud to be an American. Or at least, I am not proud of what the reality of being an American means today.

Let me explain. On paper, the United States is meant to be all about freedom for all people, but in translation from paper to reality, we have somehow forgotten the rights that this nation was built on. In the past few weeks, we have taken a step backwards for transgender rights, freedom of the press and have taken a step closer to the nationalism that I fear.

This nationalism I speak of is this idea that the United States is the best country in the world. That this country is the greatest, can do no wrong and is always the winner. In the past few years, the nationalism that I witness the most, is a blind love for a country whose flaws people refuse to recognize.

The more I learn about the United States, the more I realize how willing we are to cover up the dark spots in our history.

I did not learn until 10th grade about the treatment that was received by Vietnam soldiers after they returned from a war that many were forced to fight. It wasn’t until 11th grade that I learned about the amount of indigenous people that were enslaved or killed by Christopher Columbus, our national hero. It took me until high school to see that our history is not as squeaky clean as I once thought.

I have learned that growing up in this country after 9/11 meant that I would continue to be taught this clean history, expected to stand for the national anthem and Pledge of Allegiance, even when I didn’t agree with the words and that I would keep my mouth shut about the glaring flaws of our country.

I cannot let myself stand by and watch as these groups of people who cannot see the hatred that is brewing at the core of their nationalism. The hatred that is taking away rights that people have just gained. The hatred that has taken away the voices of the people who continue to be oppressed in this country.

I can’t be proud of a country that says that all men are equal, but only means that all white men are equal. That being a woman, or being black, LGBT, Muslim, Mexican, disabled or anything outside of the realm of the “perfect American” means that your concerns will not be heard.

That instead, you’ll watch as your media becomes “fake news” for millions of people just because the president says so. That you’ll watch as your rights continue to be dismantled before you and that everything that has been gained in the past eight years continues to crumble.

America is meant to be for all people. I cannot find myself being proud to call myself a citizen of this nation until we truly take into account the writing that our country was built on and work on making that written freedom into a reality for everyone.

One day, I think that I could be proud of our country. The numerous protests that have happened in Pittsburgh alone have given me faith that we can restore what has been damaged. Maybe not for a long time but, eventually, it could happen.

So I’ll keep my faith in those people who continue to fight back and until then, I’ll stand my ground about why I cannot be proud of this country until it recognizes its flaws and finds a way to improve them.

Originally published in The Globe

Ranking important issues in your life

It’s all a matter of perspective

By: Autumn Barszczowski

The other day while sitting in my research class, a fellow student handed out a survey about his client’s brand. One question stood out to me as it asked respondents to rank a number of issues (like animal rights, feminism, etc.).

The idea of ranking the most important human rights or environmental causes in order from one to seven was a strange concept to me. However, since I am an advertising student, I understood that this helped researchers to establish my lifestyle, feelings and personality.

Ranking these issues felt like deciding which wound to try and heal first, at least in my mind. In some ways, it almost makes me feel guilty because in a perfect world, you would not have to decide which was more important to you because you’d be able to dedicate the same amount of time to worrying about each.

But the world isn’t perfect so without consciously knowing it, we begin to rank the issues in our mind. As a bisexual, cisgender white woman who grew up in an impoverished neighborhood, I have been faced with and witnessed a variety of issues in my life.

I was presented with the grief and stereotypes faced by my black classmates. I was faced with the beauty and lady-like standards that I was supposed to follow as a woman. I watched as my friends feared for how society would view them due to who they loved or who they were.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, when these issues are constantly in your face, they tend to rank higher. Putting a numerical value to an issue almost seems silly, but they speak a lot to who you are as a person and what you are faced with in life.

You do not consciously decide that something is less important; it just doesn’t feel as urgent when it is not constantly affecting how you live your life or even the lives of those around you.

I attended a public middle school with a large population of black students in a poor neighborhood. We did not focus much on climate change because we were focusing on diversity, and acceptance was much more relevant to the students.

Immediately following that, climate change and environmental issues grew in importance for me because my high school focused on recycling and emphasizing environmental issues alongside diversity in race, gender and sexual orientation.

Over the course of the past few years, I’ve been able to see how these issues became more or less important as you grow and learn more about the world. The importance of these issues at that time in your life reflect the world you were faced with and the perspective that you had.

That is perhaps the one upside to examining our own individual rankings. You can see exactly where you are or were in life just by the issues you fight for, and how you have grown as an individual.

Originally published in The Globe