Belinda Jiang, Head of Guerilla Marketing

“Kate,” I yelled above the clamor of Festifall, “I need business clubs only!” I dodged an aggressive flyer distributor and fought against the anarchic crowd, only to find myself in the Diag’s arts section. While finding my way back, the beat of my favorite song drew me to MUSIC Matters. The members took turns throwing membership pitches at me. “Join us if you hate country music!” one of them joked, grinning. I was sold.

Then, I was oblivious to the magnitude of all I would accomplish within a year. The easygoing camaraderie of the members convinced me to join MUSIC Matters as my “fun” club. Little did I know, it would soon become both my favorite and most rewarding commitment.

I’m always busy with my work in MUSIC Matters, which is what I like about it. After checking stuff off my to-do list, I often find myself asking if there’s anything else I can help with, because getting involved in MM isn’t the arduous labor that you may expect it to be -- it’s working to accomplish something you’re genuinely passionate about! Think cramming for a final in the most isolated corner of the UGLi versus jamming to Chance while planning Project X with your best friends… except for the illegal parts.

What impresses me about MM is that while we do have fun and spend time bonding, we also have a real-life, professional goal in sight. This means a lot to me, an aspiring marketing strategist, and all the other diverse members of MM, whether they are future consultants, record label managers, policy-makers, doctors, and more. As a member of the SpringFest planning committee, I recruited the most startups for the day festival Startup Village and surpassed my $300 fundraising goal for our philanthropic Detroit youth camp “MOvE.” I improved my interpersonal skills when I took on the businesses of Ann Arbor with my Innovation team, which was more of an adventure than a task. My interest in fashion and merchandising increased tenfold after a video call with Coachella’s merchandise manager, and I was delighted to join the MUSIC Matters Merch Squad, where I could put my newfound knowledge to use.

The weeks and days leading up to SpringFest were stressful, sure, but in a heart-pounding, exhilarating way that had me thinking, I can’t believe we’re going to pull this off.

And pull it off we did. I was non-stop on my feet all day, hopping from the SoundLounge to the mural painting to the Startup Village and back again to help out. When I had a few seconds to stand still and catch my breath at the day stage, my feet started moving on their own accord to the beat of Saint Mesa’s music. Nighttime was even crazier as Desiigner, Lil Yachty, and 2 Chainz took the stage at Crisler Arena, but nothing trumped getting to pet Trappy, 2 Chainz’s puppy. Suffice to say, that was a success.

I’ve come to realize that MUSIC Matters, a multifaceted organization with impact beyond college, is more than just an extracurricular. It had strengthened my work ethic, given me professional experience, and taught me to be fast on my feet. I’ve networked with people I never thought I would as a mere freshman -- how many college students can say they’ve had a casual conversation with people at Universal Music Group about donuts? Finally, I have seen my hard work in MM pay off; I’ve gained even more leadership experience as a MOvE camp counselor and the Head of Guerilla Marketing! I can’t wait to see what we can do in the future.