A conversation with Nathan Umoh, Grand Valley State University student and our summer social media intern.
What are you going to be doing this summer at Feeding America West Michigan?
I will be helping out with weekend social media posts, SnapChat* — a lot of online communications for the most part.
You’re a student at Grand Valley State University. What year are you in and what are you studying?
So I just finished my fourth year. I have one more semester left. I’m studying advertising and public relations with a Spanish minor.
Is your interest in Spanish professional or personal?
I’ve taken Spanish since I was in middle school and I really enjoyed it and wanted to take it again. It’s more personal enrichment, but it definitely helps, being able to understand and speak the language. Last winter I spent two weeks with my friend’s family in Mexico. He’s from Mexico, so just being able to interact with them, the people, and learn a little bit more about the culture and language.
What about our organization caught your attention?
Feeding America West Michigan does a lot of work in the community and makes a difference for a lot of people. Just before starting here I was in a class working with a nonprofit called Gracious Grounds, and through that I got to know one of your agencies, Love in Action. They work with Gracious Grounds, providing food for their pantry.
What’s Gracious Grounds all about?
They offer independent living for people with cognitive disabilities. So they all get to live in their own rooms, in a community environment. They get to have a life and be independent. It’s about self-empowerment.
Why do you believe it’s important for nonprofits to have a social media presence?
It’s important because there’s a personal side to what nonprofits do. For-profits are about the bottom line, but nonprofits are working for the benefit of people. Being able to share those stories with people so they can understand and see what they’re doing helps further the mission.
What’s your favorite social media channel personally?
Surprisingly it’s Twitter. I was very anti-Twitter for a long time, but I just got used to the platform. The constant flow of information is at times overwhelming but pretty entertaining because there’s always something new to look at.
What aspects of Feeding America West Michigan are you looking forward to highlighting?
The big thing would be portraying the people side of things. How Feeding America West Michigan impacts individuals, people receiving food or people who volunteer or people who work here. Showing how it impacts their lives.
What would be your dream job after graduation?
For me it would be starting a public relations firm that works with local small businesses in my community. My mom has been a small businessperson for years makings soaps and lotions and candles, so growing up around that, but growing up in a community that needs support reaching an audience. It’s one way I can use what I’m studying to help the community. The community has done a lot for me, and I’d like to do a lot for it.
What’s one non-work, non-internship-related thing you’re hoping to do this summer?
Oh, man. That’s a very good question. I guess just see and try new things, get outside of West Michigan and just venture out a little bit. Spend time outdoors, meet new people, travel — as much as a college student can afford to travel.
*Look for us on SnapChat starting this June.