I’ve taken a lot of photos during my semester abroad. It was hard to pick just two to be displayed at Temple Rome when there was a call for student art. I was flattered when I got compliments on my work, and I was shocked when a few people told me that they wanted to buy prints of my photographs!
I was reflecting on my time at Temple Rome. How much I experienced in just one semester! I got here at the end of summer, and now winter is approaching. The holidays are coming soon!
I remember all the holiday activities at Holy Cross. In addition to the decorations and classic festivities around campus, there were also food drives and donation boxes. I also remember seeing fundraisers on my way to class. To me, the holidays are a time of giving. Thinking about what this time of year means to me gave me an idea.
For the past week, I have been working with the Temple Rome administration to use my photography to support a good cause. I spoke to Benedicta, the student life assistant in the program, about whether or not her friend Susanna would accept a donation for the holidays.
I met Susanna in October when she lead a special discussion about race in Italy. (Read about it here.) She works with QuestaèRoma, an organization that empowers people affected by racism in Italy and advocates for a more inclusive definition of citizenship. A lot of the things from her talk really resonated with me, and I am incredibly grateful for her efforts to raise awareness of an issue close to my heart.
After hearing back from Susanna and sending a project proposal to the school, I am now raising money for QuestaèRoma by collecting donations from the community and giving out prints of my photos in return!
I’ve never planned a project like this from scratch all by myself before. I asked multiple people for advice on whom to ask about coordinating this and how to work out the logistics. I’m glad the staff at Temple Rome have been open to my ideas and have helped me make my idea a reality. I used the support they gave me to figure out how print my first handful of photos and when I should collect donations in the student lounge.
I found the right print shop in the city and designed my own signs. I got organized all my materials and set up a little spot in the common area, complete with free candy. I had my white pen ready for free signatures; it’s always good to make things even more special!
Temple Rome sent an email to the students, faculty, and staff about my project. We decided to frame it as a way to not only get a nice present for the holidays, but also to give the gift of giving to an important organization in Rome.
I spent three hours in the student lounge, saying hello to people and asking if they would like to get some cool prints and benefit charity at the same time. I was excited to talk to people and signs my photos for them! It’s not every day that you can get a printed photograph and have it signed by the artist in person.
I was surprised to see that in one day alone, I had already raised 100 euros in proceeds to QuestaèRoma! What a wonderful, supportive community we have at Temple Rome!
I will be collecting donations and giving people my photographs again on Friday. I’m glad Temple Rome helped me with this project; I’m feeling a lot better for finals week with the holiday cheer building up inside me from my charity work. Wish me luck, everyone!