Wednesday, May 20, 2009

AmeriCorps Week in New Mexico

On Tuesday, May 11th Team New Mexico conducted a recruiting effort on the campus of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. The day was bright and sunny with highs around 95, but the wind never stopped and we had found trees under which to set up our table so we were not uncomfortable. Once Stephen and Bo, the two white, really white, non-burn-proof Anglos, doused themelves with 45 SPF sun screen, we were ready for business.

Unfortunately, UNM students were not ready for us, despite the great AmeriCorps "Getting Things Done" poster and the eye-catching signs Becky made announcing we had JOBS and listing some salient statistics from the website. The students seemed much more interested in getting to their exams (duh!)

Undeterred, Bo set out to accost students where they sat at lunch, studying in groups, running across the quad. She distributed about 50 information sheets made up from the website and answered questions from “Can I do dental hygiene as part of AmeriCorps?” (“Probably not “) to “Do they really pay for graduate school?” (“Partially.”) She also spoke with several folks whose sister, brother, aunt, daughter, grandson, boyfriend, etc. was currently, had been, plans to, etc. I get involved in AmeriCorps.

Stephen and Pauly in the meantime, posted another 50 info sheets on all the kiosks they could find in their 45 minute tour of the campus while Becky and Ben staffed the table, just in case someone stopped by – and about ten folks did. As we were leaving we were stopped by a student on a bike who asked us “Are you guys AmeriCorps?” (It amazed Bo that he had recognized us until Ben pointed out that our AmeriCorps tee shirts had probably clued him in!) He said he had signed up for one of the forest programs and was having his phone interview the next day. What he really wanted to know was if it was fun and if we thought he could survive it for 10 months. We told him, Hey, we were surviving it for 11 months and loving it and we were sure he would too. He seemed cool with that, thanked us and rode off!

We all then went to an Italian restaurant for lunch to talk once again about what a great team we are, how much we have accomplished (well maybe not so much that day!) and how much we love being together. Ben and Bo left early to get Ben to his exams in Santa Fe (!) by 5PM!

Overall, another great effort by Team New Mexico to spread the word on what terrific work AmeriCorps can do.
By Bo Keppel
Team New Mexico

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