Author: Olivia Griffin, sophomore
Through the generosity of the Rose Hill Honors Program, I had the opportunity this summer to intern in the events department at the Oklahoma City Myriad Botanical Gardens. The Myriad Gardens is a public, 17-acre urban park in the middle of the downtown district that hosts a large number of events for the community. The Gardens’ mission is “to increase the quality of life and vibrancy by creating and sustaining a world-class public garden and offering quality horticultural, cultural and recreational programs and events for all.”
In my role on the events team, I was able to develop my problem-solving, professional correspondence, and project management skills. My experience was invaluable in exploring my future career path in the nonprofit sector. However, my favorite part of the internship was developing and executing my own public event, “JUMP! At Myriad Botanical Gardens.” The goal of the event was to provide an engaging opportunity for the community to participate in a free, fitness-focused jump rope event, with an emphasis on educating participants on jump rope culture and heart health. I managed all aspects of the event, including securing sponsors, contracting performers, budgeting, and marketing. Ultimately, I wanted to create an environment that fostered community building. I procured a sponsorship from the American Heart Association, and they provided free jump ropes to all participants. The event went smoothly, and it was a joy to see the smiles on many faces, young and old.
One of the main concerns of the Myriad Gardens is accessibility, whether financial, physical, or social. I consider their attention to this issue extremely important to the fabric of Oklahoma City. We hosted sensory activities for children with disabilities, a variety of free weekly fitness classes, and many cultural events. Our free summer movie series was a big draw for many individuals experiencing homelessness in the downtown area. By providing free, educational, and interactive activities, the Myriad Gardens has transformed itself from a green space into a key community magnet.
I am incredibly grateful to the Honors Program for granting me an Honors Summer Internship Fellowship, which allowed me to learn from this organization. It has been wonderful to aid in the growth, vitality, and visibility of the downtown district of my home city, especially as an Urban Studies major. I look forward to sharing my newfound knowledge in accessibility-focused event planning and community building with the Fordham Honors community!