Civic Personalities in the Real World: In this series, we’re highlighting some of our amazing Up to Us alumni who are actively using their skills and energy towards advocating for a variety of issues. These changemakers took our Civic Personality Quiz to find out their personality, and how it connected to their life and work!
Tell us a little bit about yourself
My name is Shelby Lynch, and I am currently a junior at Arizona State University studying digital marketing and integrative communications at the W.P. Carey School of Business, and am a part of Barrett, The Honors College. I graduated last year from Mesa Community College, which is where I participated with Up to Us and other initiatives. My job right now is as the Tempe Marketing and Communications Chair for Changemaker Central, and I’m in charge of their marketing and social media platforms.
At Mesa Community College I didn’t know my major for 2 years, until my third and final year there. I just started getting involved in clubs and organizations, and managing their social media! They needed someone to make flyers, and I offered to do it — I didn’t really think of it as anything at the time, but me being undecided I really needed to find out my major. I sat with a career advisor, and I found out about a digital marketing certificate and ASU’s digital marketing program. I decided, “Hey, I like doing this. I like promoting opportunities and resources, and marketing to students-in-need”.
You’re a Maven — what does this mean to you?
I feel like there’s a line between my own social media and what I post about, and what I run or organizations and businesses, but they’re both linked. Whether that’s me posting about something or me posting something on behalf of someone else, the mission is to educate or serve others.
For my own social media, I post about issues that I care about. Sustainability, Black Lives Matter, and voting — those things are happening, and I’m really passionate about that. Educating and speaking my mind on my own social media platforms will help other people get comfortable with doing that on their own platforms. Up to Us, Wear it Wise, Net Impact initiatives, Honor’s Society, my current job — there is always a goal in mind. It’s to help people get involved, to connect students, and educate others on a subject. That’s what I really like doing.
Tell me about your civic engagement experience. What prompted you to first get interested in civic engagement?
At community college was where I found my calling. I involved myself with a bunch of different organizations, like Up to Us. Before the competition, I didn’t even know what the national debt even was! Even now, there’s so much I have to learn, but I knew it was important for my generation. With Wear It Wise, I am passionate about sustainability — I’m vegetarian, I promote recycling and diminishing our carbon footprint, so it was interesting to focus on fast fashion and its impact. There was [also] an engagement team at Mesa Community College to promote voting. When I told them I wasn’t going to vote because it didn’t matter or affect me, they really encouraged me to get involved. They connected me with news channels to speak and go to the polls.
Me finding out about certain clubs and organizations to gauge my interests allowed me to learn about these processes, educating myself, and assisting with the campaign while educating others. Those three things really pushed me to realize that I really like civic engagement, involving myself, and educating others in the process.
Now I’m going to vote in every election because every vote really does count! Just learning about it is what helped me grow.
That transferred over to ASU, with Changemaker Central. Even though I’m just managing social media platforms, I’m still getting involved. We promote sustainability, entrepreneurship, civic engagement, and service — those are all things that I’m super interested in getting involved in. In the process of actively going to events and participating in service projects, I’m being the voice of [young adults] and helping others get involved.
Why should college students be interested in civic engagement?
You’re at college — you can’t be a parking lot student — where you go to class and that’s it. I want to encourage people to find a purpose on campus, whether that’s civic engagement-related or an academic club. It gives you a sense of belonging and connects you to other individuals, and you have the opportunity to get involved with issues you care about. There are clubs and organizations for everything you can imagine. Getting your foot in the door to educate yourself about a topic, bringing an initiative to life, and connecting with other like-minded people will bring you long-term connections and [the ability to] learn about these subjects and help other students learn too.
There are certain issues where people feel so small and like they can’t do anything. Sustainability, for example — we’re not going to fix the whole world, but there are things that we can do for our community. Getting out of the mindset that “it doesn’t matter to me” or “it doesn’t affect me”, and pushing that towards “I can start small” and “I can educate myself”. Finding a place to get involved in — that’s something that every student should have because it can help you figure out your college major, your interests.
What issues are you most passionate about? What have you done regarding this issue?
I’m passionate about helping low-income individuals or people without access to resources. I had a year-long internship/Ameri-corps position during 2019 and 2020; I helped a non-profit called Mesa United Way with their social media and it was a career and eye-opening experience. Our purpose was to help foster care children, homeless people, or communities with high illiteracy rates, and my job was to connect them to resources. That brought up a question in my mind: How can I reach them through social media? These people don’t really have that access. It opened my eyes.
I would love to work with a company, or with app development, to reach these people who don’t have access to these things. It’s one thing for us to promote online, but how are they going to see it? I would be interested in connecting with these people or finding a way to connect with them.
What advice would you give your generation if they’re interested in getting involved with civic engagement?
It’s hard at first to find your voice, and it may be hard to find the energy or persistence to actually do something about it. The first step for me was to find a club or organization, a professor, an advisor to connect me with those resources. I had someone to help me find these opportunities, but I needed to take that first step. I went to the office to find clubs and organizations. I went to meetings to learn more. You can’t just sit back and wait for someone to tell you about it.
Many times the first thing people think about things like, “This is a resume builder” or “I can learn these skills”. If you’re really passionate about something, think about the outcome that can come from your persistence. Have the courage and willingness to search, go online, go to club fairs — from there, go to meetings, connect yourself and learn more about the process. It starts with you. It can add up and you can really make a difference.
Changemaker Central at ASU: Changemaker Central is a community of students, on each of the four ASU campuses, with the goal to create social change in the local and global community. Students can start their own project or program, volunteer both locally and globally, and get involved with social justice through a variety of initiatives, such as the Changemaker Central Program or attending an Ignite@ASU event.