ASB’s publicity commission does more than just brighten up campus


Maya Lip

Rachel Gu, a senior and supervisor of activities in publicity, tapes up a damaged banner.

Maya Lip, Staff Writer

ASB’s publicity commission is unlike any other at Carlmont High School. Rather than planning and coordinating events as most commissions do, publicity manages to promote them to the entire student body.

Many students are able to see the colorful posters plastered on various spots around campus. However, the amount of effort and time that goes into each and every poster and project is less recognized by the majority of Carlmont.

“Aside from posters, we make flyers, quarter-sheets, banners, murals, and decorations for things like assemblies, Scotsland, and other events such as Senior Recognition night,” said Turkan Kartal, a sophomore. “Posters are effective because they’re a quick way to create a large advertisement and people who don’t have social media can look at them.”

In order to complete such large tasks, publicity commissioners must devote their time after school, as one class period is simply not enough.

“On average, we commit about six or seven hours outside of school every week. We’ll usually take Fridays off unless we need more time to finish a project. We have a lot of people who come in and help, so it’s manageable and we’re able to make things look nice and finish pretty fast,” Kartal said.

Thankfully, future publicity commissioners have been lending a helping hand. Riley Baum and Maria Valle Remond, both freshmen and soon-to-be members of ASB, have already provided assistance.

“Throughout the year, I have stayed after school to help make decorations for the Homecoming dance, assemblies, Heritage Fair, and Scotsland. I am definitely looking forward to helping more next year too,” Baum said.

Although commissioners are passionate about what they do, projects often interfere with other commitments such as school, work, and extra-curriculars.

“When you come into the commission, you should understand the time commitment. If it interferes to an extent where you can’t manage things, that’s your responsibility,” Kartal said. “I manage my time by doing most of my work during classes, so I don’t have much to do when I get home.”

During certain times of the year, Rebecca Jiang, a senior, finds herself struggling to juggle both academics and publicity. Homecoming week is one of these instances. This week reportedly increases the stress levels of the entire commission.

“Coincidentally, the weeks of assemblies, which is when publicity requires the most amount of my time, happens to contain tests in multiple classes, and obstructs my ability to have ample study time,” Jiang said. “The night before every assembly, the publicity commission stays to around 11 p.m. decorating the gym, and then we come in at 6 or 7 a.m. the following morning to finish setting up.”

For service publicity, MORP is their biggest event and it calls for similar commitments.

“Our commission was responsible for all of the art and decorations for the dance. Most of the decorations we made were physically very large and intricate and required a large group of people to be working on them at the same time,” said Brooke Seim, supervisor of service publicity.

Rachel Gu, the supervisor of activities publicity, has been able to keep her commission organized and maintain adequate communication throughout these stressful weeks.

“Publicity is probably one of the largest commissions in ASB. Given the amount of work we have to deal with on a daily basis, it is important that each commissioner is able to fully understand their job and work productively during the class period. The publicity supervisor two years ago implemented a process where we use survey forms to organize what posters or flyers are needed,” Gu said.

Another common challenge some commissioners face on a day to day basis is coming up with new and original ideas. However, commissioners are trained to think creatively and find ways to overcome “artist block.”

“Just like anything, we all have good days and bad days. When we all get together and start talking and sharing ideas, the energy and passion for whatever event we are helping with adds to fuel all the creativity we need,” said Sophie Oestreich, a sophomore.

Stereotypes have also been a problem found within the publicity commission. Some commissioner’s express their frustration on these stereotypes and the school’s lack of appreciation for what they do.

“We’re seen as the commission that ‘just makes posters’ and it’s demeaning in ways because I’d love to find more ways to integrate our daily leadership lessons into practical situations. We don’t have a concrete way to hold events that can be evaluated, and sometimes we’re seen as supplementary commission. These stereotypes are disheartening because it belittles and overshadows the extent of work that actually goes into what my commission and I do,” Jiang said.

Recognition is not automatically expected from the commission. However, some commissioners believe that they deserve at least some sort of acknowledgment that reflects the amount of effort they put in behind the scenes.

“Personally, I don’t really need that kind of recognition because it is something that really I enjoy doing. But, I do think that it would be awesome if more people knew about the amount of work put into these events and decorations,” Oestreich said.

Even with the many difficulties along with being a publicity commissioner, all the effort that the group puts into their artwork has deemed to have rewarding aspects.

For instance, working with a group of similarly-driven people for an entire school year guarantees life-long friendships between students. Gu will miss this part of ASB and hopes that the publicity commission will continue to evolve after she leaves.

“I think the camaraderie and just the bonds that I’ve created working in the commission is going to be the thing I miss most. I’ve been a part of publicity for three years at this point and it’s really become a norm in my life, so it’ll definitely be a weird process settling into college without the familiarity of the commission,” Gu said.

For Jessica Ma, a sophomore, the rewards have not only benefited the school but herself and her interests as well.

“Being in publicity has renewed my passion for art that I lost last year and I strongly believe that joining publicity has been the best decision of my life,” Ma said. “My publicity family’s love and passion remind me of the reason why I joined ASB: to make Carlmont students’ experiences in high school memorable.”

From the reactions given by students, Jiang is able to truly embrace the rewarding aspects of sacrificing time and energy for promotions and decorations at school.

“The small comments and the look on some people’s faces when they walk into a fully-decorated gym gets me every time. That’s when I know that my work has affected someone. Seeing the finished product is truly rewarding.” Jiang said.

Next year brings in new commissioners as well as new ideas. ASB Advisor Jim Kelly is anticipating an innovative process that may be adopted next year involving the publicity commission.

“We started something new this year on a trial basis and that is for the publicity commission to work closely with the media commission on one specific activity and create an entire ‘marketing plan’ for it. We tested it with Homecoming and plan to do more next year. I believe that will give them more experience in marketing,” Kelly said.

Not only has publicity brightened the campus with colorful posters and informed students about upcoming events, but the members have developed a strong and lasting bond.

“Being able to work with a group of inspiring girls makes every day so worth it. While posters or flyers can be torn down, the friendships we have built are things that are irreplaceable,” Ma said.